Leonardo DiCaprio is the star of the story without being its hero, although his first emergence from the mask is an effective shot. The three musketeers are cast with big names (Irons, Malkovich, Depardieu) but to my surprise the picture is stolen by Gabriel Byrne, who has the most charisma and is the most convincing. His scenes with Parillaud (from " La Femme Nikita ") are some of the best in the movie. Once all the pieces of the plot were in place, I was at least interested, if not overwhelmed; I could see how, with a rewrite and a better focus, this could have been a film of "Braveheart" quality instead of basically just a costume swashbuckler.
The sum of its parts never adds up to anything compelling and, after a thrilling prologue, the story itself is a bit hard to follow. Boredom is never an issue as King Arthur zips along at breakneck speed, but that pace also makes it difficult to understand the heavy cockney accents, handicapping scenes meant to unpack important exposition and backstory. Whatever mythos is being built here, the movie barely allows us to keep up, process, or understand it all, let alone care about anyone in it. More easily grasped are blatant ripoffs of . Tolkien and George . Martin. This is a hodgepodge mash-up that goes for Lord of the Rings grandeur, Game of Thrones intrigue, a rock-and-roll Braveheart swagger, and the epic scope of all three, but the result is unoriginal, shameful audience pandering. There’s even an evil creature that looks like Sauron crossed with a giant orc, and Excalibur works like the One Ring to psychically connect Arthur to this malevolent force (which lives in a dark tower, no less). The crass carbon copying borders on copyright infringement. The magic here is exclusively dark, too, even when used for and by the good guys, creating an oppressive undercurrent. There's a mysterious sorceress named Mage who comes to Arthur’s aid but she’s also a narrative crutch, pulling him out of impossible fixes all too conveniently. The multi-cultural casting of the (future) knights of the roundtable is a nice nod to a diverse global audience, but it’s also a typical element of how forced and calculated this Hollywood production feels.
Upon its release, BraveHeart was met with generally positive from music critics. Jon Reyes of HipHopDX gave the album three out of five stars, saying " Braveheart has a few of those moments that demonstrate sonic evolution and connectedness. Though it is concise and cohesive, more than any of Ashanti's albums, it's still marred with glimpses of wanted grandiosity at the expense of artistic revelation."  Andy Kellman of AllMusic gave the album four out of five stars, saying "Although it took longer to complete than Ashanti , Chapter II , and Concrete Rose combined, Braveheart doesn't sound like it. More importantly, The Declaration' s lack of success – relative to those previous albums – doesn't seem to have changed Ashanti's direction one bit."  At USA Today , Elysa Gardner rated the album two-and-a-half stars out of four, stating that "Ashanti defies and succumbs to romantic clichés, her piquant soprano alternately teasing and sulking, lashing out and standing firm."