The Three Musketeers: D'Artagnan -Revival of a Classic

European production made a worthy remake

Jiří Stacho

6/26/20233 min read

Despite being over 150 years old, the story of the Three Musketeers remains ever so popular today, thanks in part to Dumas' masterful storytelling and his ability to create compelling characters that continue to capture readers' imaginations.The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan just hit the movie theaters. Considering the many adaptations of the Three Musketeers we’ve already got, you might be wondering if the existence of a new version can even be justified.

Whether you’ve read the novel or not, everyone knows at least the basics of the Three Musketeers story. It follows a young man named D'Artagnan who travels to Paris to join the elite and prestigious King's Musketeers. Along the way, he meets and befriends three musketeers named Athosthos, and Aramis, and together they become embroiled in various political intrigues, duels, and adventures.

The film is of course set in early 17th century France, and the production design and costumes do an excellent job of immersing the audience in the time period. The action scenes are well-choreographed and thrilling, with plenty of sword fights and daring escapes to keep you on the edge of your seat. This is true especially in the first half of the movie, the second half is focused more on politics and scheming.

Due to the fact that they intended from the very beginning to tell the story in two movies and shot it back to back The film is not exactly fast-paced. But that’s not to say it’s slow or boring. The story is just not rushed and takes its time to fit all the pieces together. It’s clear that it’s European production as opposed to Hollywood. I don’t want to go into it further in this review but just watch any scene from the purely Hollywood 2011 Musketeers movie and this version and you’ll immediately know what I mean.

There are also interesting shifts of perspectives in action scenes. For example, there is a fight scene from the terrified queen's point of view and thus we see most of the duration of the potentially attractive action only dartingly through the open chapel door. Similarly, the big action scene with the guardsmen denies the classic pleasures of elegant swordfights by shifting the focus between individuals in a complex long shot, so that we never get a sense of the whole action. I find these concepts quite refreshing. What is more, it’s nice to see that the musketeers are not invincible superheroes but rather extremely skilled swordsman who are still human and can get tired, overpowered, etc.

The performances are also strong, with Vincent Cassel and Eva Green especially standing out from the rest of the cast. Vincent Cassel as Athos is oozing charisma, of the three musketeers he’s by far the most intriguing. There was a very small moment in a scene where Milady and Athos meet and it’s clear they have history. Surely, it will be explored in the sequel. Eva Green as Milady is every bit as beautiful, persuasive and seductive as you would expect. Milady is a mysterious spy who works on behalf of the Cardinal. As the second movie is called The Three Musketeers: Milady, I can use my brilliant wit to deduce that she’ll be the focus of that movie. Eric Ruff as a cunning and ruthless Cardinal Richelieu. He doesn’t have much to do exactly as he is more of a puppet master pulling strings in the background. Louis XIII and the Queen are portrayed by Louis Garrel and Viky Krieps respectively. I appreciate that the King is not depicted as an incompetent idiot like most of the previous movie adaptations. Lyna Khoudri as Constance is cute, smart, and likeable. She proves to be a resourceful ally to the musketeers. Pio Marmai as Porthos is mostly just there. Yeah, that’s about it. Romain Duris as Aramis adds a touch of humor and levity to the movie. Both have some distinctive character traits but it’s clear they’re not the focus of the movie. Francois Civil as D’Artagnan is pretty much staying true to the character. He is young, spirited, albeit a bit cocky. He has the boyish charm, likeability, and earnestness you’d expect for the role.

Overall, the Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan is a swashbuckling adventure film that brings to life the daring exploits of D'Artagnan and his loyal musketeer allies and successfully revitalizes Alexandre Dumas' classic tale. It’s certainly grittier than the previous romanticized versions. The main draw is the carefully composed fight scenes, often shot with a Bourne-esque moving camera seemingly in one take. This adaptation is not unexpectedly inspiring or in any way a fascinating piece of art but it manages to successfully ignore all the stupid garbage that usually is ever present when a classic is adapted for the so-called modern audiences and give the audience two hours of solid and entertaining historical adventure. Fans of the original story and newcomers alike will find plenty to enjoy. The second part subtitled Milady hits the theaters sometime in December and I’m looking forward to it.