The King’s Man

December 22, 202140/1006 min
Ralph Fiennes, Harris Dickinson, Gemma Arterton, Djimon Hounsou
Written by
Matthew Vaughn and Karl Gajdusek (screenplay). Mark Miller and Dave Gibbons ( comic book by)
Directed by
Matthew Vaughn
Run Time. 2h 11min
Release Date. December 22nd, 2021
Overall Score
Rating Summary

With the release of Kingsman: Secret Service in 2014 a new spy entered the ring to try and take some of that ever lucrative James Bond pie. With its stylish action sequences and its dark humor, Kingsman scored some fans and with it you knew there were sequels coming. While Kingsman: Golden Circle kept doing what made the first film so successful, it was a lesser product, but managed to still be a serviceable movie. Now Matthew Vaughn, who wrote and directed the first two has decided we need to know how it all begin, something that after two hours I wish I never did.

The King’s Man shares only the title with the other two films in the franchise. Gone is the humor and silliness you were used to and it is replaced with a good dose of social criticism and drama, with only a dash of action thrown in for good measure. British Duke Orlando Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) made a promise to his dying wife, to keep their son Conner (Harris Dickinson) out of any conceivable dangers, something that’s becoming harder to do as he gets older. It is especially trying since a mysterious man is gathering henchmen around him to wreak havoc on Europe. Those hench men include Erik Jan Hanussen (Daniel Brühl). The Russian ghost healer Rasputin (Rhys Ifans) and super spy Mata Hari (Valerie Pachner), all who are quite good at their jobs. They are so good in fact that they help start War World I and with it the need for a spy service that is not tied down to a particular country. Enter Oxford as he and his merry band of  helpers, which includes Shola (Djimon Hounsou) and Polly (Gemma Arterton), who together just might have the goods to succeed. Vaughn and Karl Gajdusek, who wrote the script together take some liberties with some history by placing Oxford in the middle of a trio of tyrants as they go about their Dr. Evil ways. While that is not something to really worry about, they also shift the tone of the movie. Gone is the black humor and it is replaced with Vaughn trying to do his epic, something that feels completely lost in the process. The cast is solid enough and while the trio of Fiennes, Hounsou, and Arterton are good, they are not enough to save this film.

With The King’s Man you get the impression that the filmmakers don’t really know what they want and they just ignore the things that worked so well for the first two films. If taking the humor out, they also seem to lost their mojo when it comes to the action as it is often too over stylized. I wanted to enjoy this film, as I was a fan of the previous two, but with everything they took out and what little they added, too many characters, this chapter is one I would like to soon forget. Ultimately The King’s Man is overloaded and inconsistent and most of all, not very fun, which for a Kingsman movie that is why we show up.

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