Hello everyone! Here I'm back after a three weeks hiatus. When I saw this movie for the first time, I wasn't planning to propose this character because of factors I thought too mitigating but over time and after events who happened to the Wiki, I think now he can count. At the very least, he should be discussed.
Outlaw King is a 2018 historical action movie. The movie is a fictionalized tale of Robert the Bruce, who fought against the English kingdom despite having a far smaller army a few time just after William Wallace’s death. The movie is available on Netflix.
Who is he and what he has done
Prince Edward (Outlaw King) is the unpredictable son of King Edward. England having won the war, some Scottish important men surrender to the king. The Prince Edward approaches Bruce and reminds him of their previous duel games they have played when they was young. He then challenges him to another one despite having being ordered to be without any weapon. He places a bet involving a sum of money on whoever will have the advantage. Bruce accepts and they play a duel together. While fighting, he tells Robert about William Wallace and tells him that if the Scots had been all against him, they would have had to be killed. But before one of the two parties wins, the prince is summoned by his father. The father rebukes him severely for not being dedicated to learning about his future responsibilities as the next king.
They organize a party to celebrate peace and King Edward offers the hand of his goddaughter Elisabeth to Robert Bruce. The latter accepts.
Prince Edward travels to Scotland to take Elisabeth to Bruce to marry them. During the wedding, Bruce and Elisabeth go up to their room and Edward, probably drunk, yells for Bruce to take her like a beast by sticking a candle in the rear of a pig.
Robert Bruce, however, changes his mind about England when he sees William Wallace's body being moved in public on a coach. He decides to rebel. King Edward is informed of this through a messenger. Prince Edward sets out to go to Scotland himself to quell the rebellion and float the dragon banner. In fact, when this banner is raised, the codes of chivalry no longer apply. His father accepts his request in order to give the Prince the chance to prove his worth.
Leading an army with him, he goes to Scotland and loots villages to punish their inhabitants for supporting Robert Bruce. He reaches the home of his right-hand and Scotland's supervisor, Aymer de Valence. Edward bleames him for his failure to capture Bruce and threatens to behead Valence if he does not catch him. But good new for him, he learns that Elisabeth and Bruce's daughter Marjory hides into the castle of the brother of Robert Bruce.
He arrives to Kildrummy Castle, the home of Bruce’s brother, and where Elisabeth and his daughter have refuged themselves. He orders the owner Lord Fraser to deliver them and when the latter said they are not here (they flee before the Prince’s arrival in the woods), he orders his archers to shoot ignited arrows. Fraser concedes after the first volley. Prince Edward asks where Elisabeth and Bruce’s daughter is. The brother answers they have gone for Thornbury. However, Prince Edward reveals he has captured them in their fleeing. He asks where Bruce is but the sibling tells him he doesn’t know where he is. As a punishment, the evil Prince orders him to be hanged at the castle’s gate. To add more, he disembowels him while he is struggling for his life. Elisabeth begs him to have mercy and she tries to reason with him by telling him that he is not a tyrant like his father. Prince Edward replies that he has all the character traits except pity. He then smooth-talks Fraser asking him where Bruce is but he does not know either. Edward executes him by slitting his throat. He orders the bodies to be displayed in public to show the people what to expect if they support Robert Bruce, bring Elisabeth and Bruce’s daughter in England and confiscate their lands.
Having learned what happened to his family, Robert Bruce decides to confront English with a guerilla tactic and this works really well. Prince Edward is returned in England and his father is informed of Bruce’ feats. Prince Edward assures they will not fail this time, only to be subtlety mocked by the king.
Prince Edward then goes to the dungeon where Bruce's wife is imprisoned. He offers her to cancel her title of Queen of Scots and to cancel between her and Bruce. After which, she will be forgiven. Of course, Elisabeth refuses out of love. The “very dear prince” therefore decides to lock him in a cage suspended above the water.
After yet another Bruce victory, King Edward decides to take matters into his own hands. With the army of England, he goes to Scotland to crush the Bruce rebellion. The height of bad luck, he fainted on the way. In a tent, the King urges Prince Edward to honor his last will, to boil his body and put his bones on every battlefield with the Scots until Bruce is defeated. After he said that he has never been able to imagine him governing England seriously, Prince Edward retorts that he is stronger than his father by the time now. King Edward dies and the Prince Edward now crowned orders that his father to be buried in Scotland. When a guard asks if he should honor the late king’s will, the new King Edward tells him that he should rather his will. He then resumes his way to Scotland with his army.
They are stopped by a group of Scots who tell them that they will fight against them in Loudon Hill. In the evening, Edward eats with Aymer of Valence who assures him that they have enough horsemen at their disposal…only to be arrogantly mocked by Edward telling him they failed to capture Bruce.
The next morning, Edward gathers his troops and gives a speech presenting Robert Bruce as a man without faith or law and that he wants to invade England. He then launches his army. However, the Scottish are more cunning than Edward ever imagined. Nearly all Edward’s army is composed of horsemen. So Robert overcomes the size disadvantage of this army by ensuring that during battle the English cavalry charges into a lance wall hidden by a ditch, and thus provokes heavy losses among the English. Many horsemen try to attack by the sides but get stuck in the mud, just as the Scots had expected. The English soldiers falls from their horses and the Scottish waste no time in slaughtering them. A part of the army led by Valence retreats, Valence having realized the battle is loss despite Edward screaming at him. Edward decides to not retreat and fight with his greatest foe. Edward soon begins to lose, and realizing that he is about to be killed, he completely panics and screams for rescue but no one is interested to help him. Although Bruce could finish him off easily, he decides that Edward is too pathetic to be killed and leave him to flee unharmed. The epilogue reveals that Edward was crowned King Edward II, only to be betrayed and murdered by his own lords.
Okay, this is why I was reluctant to propose him when I saw the movie for the first time. There are two mitigating factors that I will show and explain why they ends up nullified according to me.
The first one is his seemingly tragic past. Edward mentioned to his father that he beaten him when he was a child. However, this element is only mentioned once with no clear evidence onscreen. The worst King Edward does to Prince Edward in the movie proper is yelling at him to “grow up” at the beginning of the movie and this was fairly justified (as Edward played duel game with Bruce while taunting him about Wallace instead of taking seriously his duties). Normally, he is only cold to his son. Another element that makes his tragedy moot is when Edward says to Elisabeth his father has “mercy”, which is a bit contradictory for a child abuser. It seems more that his father’ "beatings" were normal ways of that time to keep him on the right track, not to forget that at that era, children were raised in a more hard manner than nowadays.
The second point is his apparent insecurity. He is shown to be desperately trying to please his father. This is apparently the reason why he proposed himself to crush Bruce’s rebellion. In one scene, he also tells his father that the latter doesn't like him very much. It could be seen as redeeming but there is the thing who nullifies this: before King Edward dies, Prince Edward taunts him by affirming his superiority over him. If he was truly insecure, he would try to reconcile himself with his father, asking for love or something similar. But instead, he drops the chance on it. So it seems more to me that his attempts to prove himself to his father was more because he was afraid of losing the title of heir rather than genuinely seeking love from him.
He is not the main antagonist of the movie at the beginning, this role belonging to his father, but he becomes it when King Edward passes away.
King Edward (Outlaw King) is presented as someone who doesn’t hesitate to resort to war if needed but he is shown to have honor and mercy by forgiving some Scottish who decided to ally with him. He also respects Robert Bruce before he rebels, saying he has courage to stand up against him.
Aymer de Valence is the other major villain. He refuses to ally with Robert Bruce and ambushes him during the night when he and his men were sleeping, broking the rules. However, he directly answers to Prince Edward and the dragon banner was established.
There is also a minor villain, John MacDougall, and all he does is attacking Bruce’s army after feigning innocence. He also cares about his cousin since his death is the reason why he wants Bruce dead.
Prince Edward is responsible for the worst atrocities committed and he lacks any redeeming qualities like honor or care toward others. Last thing, while King Edward proclaimed the dragon banner, it was Prince Edward who suggested him to do so. So one can say he is indirectly responsible for the dishonorable attacks that English did.
I leave him to you in your hands.
Funny thing, do you remember Bravehart and Percival's proposal about King Edward I of England? Well, Outlaw King happens at the same era and has the same characters than Braveheart. So the roles have been reversed. The evil king basically has become nicer and the effeminate Prince Edward (Braveheart) has become eviler.