Adventure Movies

Mark Wahlberg Leads A Family-Friendly Adventure Story With Heart

March 14, 20245 Mins Read


  • Arthur the King is sweet and suspenseful, with intense adventure and touching canine-human bonds.
  • The film’s heart and breathtaking locations elevate the emotional moments and keep you invested.
  • Supporting characters add depth, building on the theme of friendship and victory in this true story.

There have been a plethora of dog movies over the last several decades, and they each come with their own themes and character bonds. But while recent films, like Channing Tatum’s Dog, have missed the mark, Arthur the King fills the spot of tenderness that we all want to feel when watching films featuring canine-human relationships. Mark Wahlberg leads a good ensemble cast while sweetly interacting with Arthur the dog, and it’s cute and heartwarming, with the film doing exactly what it aims for.

Arthur the King Poster

Arthur the King is an adventure movie starring Mark Wahlberg and Simu Liu. Based on a true story, Wahlberg plays Michael Light, a pro-adventure racer who connects with a stray dog named Arthur. On his journey to win a final race, Light learns the true meaning of victory and friendship as his endurance is pushed to the limit.


  • Arthur the King is the right amount of sweet and sappy
  • The film’s location elevates the adventure race & story

  • The film can drag a bit when focusing on Arthur’s story
  • The supporting characters needed more focus

Directed by Simon Cellan Jones from a screenplay by Michael Brandt, Arthur the King is based on the book by Mikael Lindnord, an adventure racer whose 2018 race in the Dominican Republic led him to meet a stray dog he named Arthur the King. The film can be incredibly sentimental, but it’s also grounded by Wahlberg and his team’s adrenaline-filled trek through the jungle that will get your heart racing at certain points.

Arthur The King Has Enough Adrenaline & Heart To Keep Us Invested

The assembled cast is equally up to the task of delivering the touching story.

The biggest thing Arthur the King has going for it is its heart. It takes its time establishing Arthur, in particular, whose suffering and backstory are shown and discussed throughout the film. By comparison, Wahlberg’s character feels like a slightly less developed character. Nonetheless, they’re both on a journey together, and it’s one that ultimately leads them to each other, as though kindred spirits reaching out through the jungle after hearing a call. To that end, the film pulls on our heart strings, drawing us into the story without relying on emotional manipulation to do it.

Paired with awe-inspiring locations and a good ensemble cast, the film is the right amount of soft and moving, even if it begins to dull through repetition in the first half.

The story itself, based on true events, lends credibility and authenticity to everything. The sweet, and quite often harrowing, journey is done well enough to warm any heart. The supporting characters, though they get far less in terms of story, have their own struggles to contend with. It makes the adventure race all the more encompassing because they’re not solely there to support Michael, nor are they there for shallow glory.

Even Simu Liu’s Leo, who initially comes off as a jerk and a foil for Michael, has his redeeming qualities. His actions also make Michael a more complicated character, one with pent-up anger whose embarrassment after the last adventure race fueled his sense of feeling lost in life without reaching. It’s an instance of Arthur being Michael’s saving grace, but whose presence allows the entire team to soften and open up emotionally. When faced with great adversity and loyalty, Arthur the King showcases how even the best built-in walls can come down.

Arthur the King

Simon Cellan Jones

Release Date
March 15, 2024

Entertainment One


Michael Brandt

Mark Wahlberg , Simu Liu , Juliet Rylance , Nathalie Emmanuel , Ali Suliman , Bear Grylls , Paul Guilfoyle

The film is the literal example of the journey being more important than the destination, and on that front it surely delivers. To that end, Nathalie Emmanuel’s rock-climbing Olivia also has an emotional throughline that makes the adventure race seem all the more urgent because of it. Ali Suliman’s Chik is the loyal friend whose knee injury threatens to put him out of commission, but whose humor and perseverance shine through.

Arthur The King’s Gorgeous Setting Elevates The Emotional Moments

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the film’s use of its stunning locations. Michael’s team runs, hikes, bikes and kayaks their way through the jungle, and it’s nothing if not intense. One of the most thrilling moments happens when Olivia and Michael face a massive, death-defying drop when the zip line stops working. Dangling over cliffs and trees from so high up would make anyone scared, but doing so while tethered to their bikes is another thing entirely.

The moment is appropriately intense and engrossing but doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s a testament to Arthur the King that its story beats don’t linger longer than they should, though by the middle, the film does start to drag on before picking back up again near the end. Paired with awe-inspiring locations and a good ensemble cast, the film is the right amount of soft and moving, even if it slightly dulls through repetition in the first half. And when Arthur joins Michael’s team, you’ll want to do nothing but root for them to get to the finish line.

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