Let’s go ahead and get this straight from the start. Suppose you have never seen an episode of Netflix’s historical epic series, The Last Kingdom. In that case, you may find yourself needing clarification watching this feature-length finale which is filled with grunting’. Even if you can’t quite figure out who has just betrayed whom, who is related to whom, this is a beautifully filmed action adventure with a watchable lead in Alexander Dreymon.
Fans of the series will understand what is going on and will be eager to see how the fascinating string is wound up in this final film and whether it comes to a satisfying conclusion. Seven Kings Must Die begins sometime after the end of Season 5, with Northumbrian lord Uhtred’s relatively peaceful existence, first with the news that King Edward has died, and second with seer Ingrith’s proclamation that “Seven kings must die.”
All of this is leading up to a big battle – and director Ed Bazalgette goes all out for the spectacular set piece, with fierce sword battles, and tautly co-ordinated fight scenes at the same time. It’s impressive. While there’s plenty of action and compelling storylines to keep us interested in the first half of the film – how the Vikings and Saxons had time for fighting when they were plotting and being generally devious is anyone’s guess – it’s during the big battle that both the cast and the effects and stunt teams shine.
Dreymon, Gilby, and, most importantly, Laurie Davidson, who plays Aethelstan’s advisor Ingilmundr, are all realistic and multifaceted characters who never fall into cliches of hero or villain, and their battles on the battlefield are as gripping. If you enjoyed The Last Kingdom as a series, you’d enjoy this final slice of mediaeval warrior life. If this is your first introduction, you’ll be tempted to start watching Uhtred’s adventures from the beginning of season one.
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