Arthur the King Review

Wahlberg’s latest is filled with corny heartfelt moments, but would have likely been more appropriate for a streaming service.

Mark Wahlberg in Arthur the King (2024).

PLOT: An adventure racer adopts a stray dog named Arthur to join him in an epic endurance race.

REVIEW: I was unaware of the true story of Arthur The King initially but after being subjected to the trailer about 9000 times over the course of the past few months, I felt like I knew it well. It looked like your typical inspirational movie.  Or as my nephew knows it: the dog movie. Because it’s hard to categorize this as anything else. Sure, there’s adventure racing but this dog is a full-blown character here and takes center stage in the narrative. And it goes about how you would expect.

Arthur the King follows Mikael Lindnord (Mark Wahlberg) and his team of adventure racers. During his last race ever and last chance at completing a life goal, a stray dog joins them on their journey. If you saw the trailer, then chances are you know exactly how this one is going to go. I’d argue that’s one of the biggest issues: its predictability. However, there’s a whole other argument to make about whether predictability really matters in a wholesome film like this. Regardless, it can be a little frustrating with how stale the movie is, treading all too familiar paths.

Despite playing a real-life human being, Mark Wahlberg is his usual self here. I’m sure there are a ton of parallels between the two people in reality, but it’s hard not to notice the pattern in Wahlberg’s career. He really likes to play driven characters that defy the odds through sheer willpower. But I won’t deny that it mostly works as he usually fits well into that role. And when one of your primary scene partners is a dog, it’s not the easiest task to be taken seriously. He makes most of it work though, and that’s commendable.

Arthur the King review

Simu Liu, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Ali Suliman make up the rest of the team and do a good job. Their athleticism was believable, even if their characters were a bit on the nose. They all get those stereotypical “recruiting the team” introductions, but that’s most of the development that they get. This is really all about Mikael and his dog. And if you can’t handle corny cheeseball moments, then like myself, it probably won’t be for you.

The few moments of big action aren’t handled very well, with very obvious green screen standing out in a zipline sequence. There’s one moment that involved a CGI dog that was one of the most unintentionally funny things I’ve witnessed in a theater. I’m not sure if it was just so jarring from the rest of the film but it was so corny, I couldn’t believe they were going through with it. And this could be said for a lot of the dog stuff. I knew he would play a big role but I wasn’t expecting so much of his time on the streets. Adding in some rival dogs and this almost feels like a Disney movie. The dog is emotive in a way that only a movie dog can be, and it was hard not to cringe a bit.

Arthur the King absolutely suffers from being overly predictable but I think that’s par for the course for this kind of movie. People are coming for the tearjerking and heartfelt moments. This is the kind of movie that your grandparents will love. But anyone looking for a little bit more is going to be disappointed. The corny and heartfelt moments are enough to warrant a light tear but it’s anything but subtle in its approach. Like most of Wahlberg’s filmography these days, this is an average movie that will be forgotten by next year.

ARTHUR THE KING IS PLAYING IN THEATERS ON MARCH 15TH, 2024.

arthur the king review

Arthur the King

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About the Author

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Tyler Nichols is a horror fanatic who resides in Michigan and is always on the hunt for the next great film. When not scouring the internet for movie news, he is usually off watching something dark, writing nonsensical musings, or playing in some fantastical video game world. While horror takes up most of his time, he still makes time for films of all types, with a certain affinity for the strange and unusual. He’s also an expert on all things Comic Book Cinema. In addition to reviews and interviews here on JoBlo.com, Tyler also helps with JoBlo Horror Originals where he’s constantly trying to convince viewers to give lesser-known horror films a chance.