‘The Three Musketeers – Part I: D’Artagnan’ Delivers the Swashbuckling Goods (Review)

by | Dec 8, 2023


Alexandre Dumas’ timeless novel gets a genuine adaptation in Part I of this two-part saga. 

In recent days, there has  been a lot of conversation over Japan’s recently released Godzilla Minus One, and for good reason. Not only is it the best interpretation of the kaiju in quite some time, but it also puts previous iterations of the beloved monster made in America to shame. The same can be applied to France’s take on the beloved novel turned new film adaptation The Three Musketeers – Part I : D’Artagnan. Alexandre Dumas’ story of adventure centered around four gentlemen has been in dire need of a proper take on film, and thankfully, director Martin Bourboulon delivers just that. Full of swashbuckling action, political intrigue, and gorgeous backdrops to the story, Part I of this saga is exactly the kind of entertainment to watch and appreciate in a genre that is slowly dwindling in both quantity and quality. 

In Part I of this story, we find D’Artagnan (Francois Civil) arriving in Paris looking for those responsible for leaving him for dead after surviving an attack. Shortly after arriving, D’Artagnan gets entangled with three gentlemen named Athos (Vincent Cassel), Aramis (Romain Duris), and Porthos (Pio Marmai), who are the king’s musketeers. Joining the musketeers, D’Artagnan and the three soon get involved in a plot in which a religious war is brewing with various people close to King Louis XIII (Louis Garrel), where a mysterious woman named Milady (Eva Green) is seemingly behind things. 

Clocking in right at two hours, Part I wastes no time in getting right to the story and the main characters involved. While the film may be a bit lighter on action than one might expect, there is plenty to hold your interest as you watch characters plot their movements or gains in France, follow religious and other subplots that are given their particular focus throughout, and getting to know the musketeers themselves. But when the swashbuckling action is shown on screen, it’s practical and quite exciting. And just like the recently released Napoleon, viewers get a sense of the film’s scope as it opens with D’Artagnan riding a horse in an open field. As the film goes on, we get to see real locations, buildings, and extras that fill the streets of Paris; that in itself is worthy of its own appreciation.

The cast of Part I is great from top to bottom. While one particular performance does not stand out above the rest, you’ll like the interpretations of the musketeers themselves, whether it’s Francois Civil’s early-on arrogance as D’Artagnan, Romain Duris’ charm as Aramis, Pio Marmai’s humor as Porthos, or seeing established actor Vincent Cassel as Athos. And while she’ll play an even bigger role in Part II, it’s great to see actress Eva Green as the mysterious Milady here. 

Part I undoubtedly sets things up for Part II, which will be released in the states soon. But until then, there is plenty to like in the authenticity shown in Part I that gives this story more than just a glossy retelling without the gravitas – which is lacking in America’s retelling of Dumas’ story over the past few decades. We can only hope Part II gets a wide theatrical release in America whenever it is released. But until then Part I is worth renting or buying via video on demand. Hopefully this telling of Dumas’ story and Japan’s recent Godzilla film will make American studios think think twice about proper interpretations of classic intellectual property or beloved classics. 

RATING: ★★★1/2

(out of five stars)