The one thing that can be praised about Paul W.S. Anderson’s attempt at The Three Musketeers is it looks sumptuous. The colors and the constant slow-motion really allow you to see how much money was spent. Unfortunately, that money ends up being squandered as a bland teen version of the story with wooden characters (“enhanced” by even more wooden actors) and an overall lack of storytelling.
Young D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) wants to be a Musketeer, but won’t get the chance since the famed trio is retired. When double agent Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) plans to corrupt the French throne with the help of the evil Richelieu (Christoph Waltz), the Musketeers will team up with D’Artagnan to set things right.
As mentioned above the movie looks gorgeous. The grand palaces that the film is shot in all become integral parts of the movie, especially when they’re shown next to the flying airships and grand costumes. If anything this movie could be seen in 3D just to take in the scenery, but unfortunately that’s not what the movie is billing itself on.
The problem is how this doesn’t come off as a Three Musketeers movie. Porthos, Athos and Aramis are shown in the beginning, and then disappear only to be reunited by the scrappy D’Artagnan. Even then they’re barely given any characterization aside from single word descriptions. Porthos is a lout, Athos is in love and Aramis is religious. You never get any description of their past, who they are or even why they fight. This movie is all about Logan Lerman’s D’Artagnan and his attempts to save the crown and win a hot blonde lady-in-waiting. Anderson should have named this D’Artagnan and avoided confusion. Aside from that the movie relies far too much on Anderson tropes like slow-motion to pad the runtime. When the movie isn’t focused on its hackneyed stories and flat characters its bombarding the audience with action scenes. There are so many action scenes it becomes ridiculous! Literally there’s an action scene for D’Artagnan walking from one place to another. The movie is far too long and simply relies on overloading the audience with action to mask the non-existent script.
The acting is just as monotonous as the script. No one raises their voice above a mumble and just relies on using deep voices to contain gruffness. Stevenson just plays a lumbering idiot while Matthew Macfadyn just plays a morose Mr. Darcy. Luke Evans and Orlando Bloom look the same and their acting is just bland. The worst offenders are Lerman and Jovovich. Lerman is told constantly he’s “cocky” but he just comes off like a jerk in high school. His acting is nothing short of whining about wanting to be a Musketeer and he doesn’t have any accent. Sure most of the characters have English accents instead of French but Lerman and Jovovich is American born and bred based on their speech. Jovovich plays the character of Milady like Uma Thurman in The Avengers, merely answering questions with questions and allowing the camera to shoot down her dress.
Other actors like Waltz and Mads Mikkelson have no purpose in the film and there’s some bizarre comedy of errors/marriage plot that is laughably bad and includes a scene of the King of France asking D’Artagnan for love advice, not for him of course “but a friend of mine, who’s not me.” Seriously this movie is Three Musketeers High. Avoid at all costs!