The King’s Man is Matthew Vaughn’s long-awaited prequel to the Kingsman films. The film begins during the Boer War, with Orlando Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) delivering supplies with the Red Cross in Africa, where he meets with Kitchener (Charles Dance) and Morton (Matthew Goode). During the visit, Orlando’s wife, Emily, is killed, and he promises her that he’ll protect their son from war.
As a result of this promise, Conrad (Harris Dickinson) is kept at the manor with his father, Polly (Gemma Arterton), and Shola (Djimon Hounsou). Meanwhile, a secret organization led by “The Shepherd,” a shadowy, pissed-off Scotsman, plots to start a war to bring the demise of England. The members of the organization include Rasputin (Rhys Ifans), Mata Hari (Valerie Pachner), and Hanussen (Daniel Bruhl). Following the successful assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, and thus the Great War begins.
The King’s Man is a little long and slow in places. The back and forth between Orlando and Conrad soon got a little old. Conrad was dull; he was the naive boy who wanted to fight and die for King and country.
There were numerous references to the films that came before it and it also provided some background on everything from the mission statement to the Arthurian names. The multiple references “The Statesman” organization was annoying though. I got it the first time; I didn’t need four references. I was annoyed because I was not a fan of the second film, and I have zero interest in anything to do with the Statesman.
The cast was enormous and full of so many well-known actors. The best casting decision was using Tom Hollander as King George, Kaiser Wilhelm, and Tsar Nicholas, with progressively hilarious facial hair. As I mentioned before, Conrad was a boring, one-dimensional character, and Dickinson played him that way. At least he was nice to look at throughout the movie. Rhys Ifans was hilarious as Rasputin; I didn’t recognize him at first, which is good. While the cast was good, the actors hired played characters that they all typically play. It hindered the film and led to me figuring out who The Shepherd was early into the film.
The film delivers on Vaughn’s trademark, beautiful violence. The Rasputin scene was the best example; it was well- choreographed and humorous. The trench scenes were also well done. The only meh fight scene was the last half of the final scene, there was a weird perspective and CGI issue that stood out.
Vaughn uses historical figures to create a revisionist history of the early 1900s, which I found interesting since I’m into history. The King’s Man was infinitely better than the second Kingsman film, and for me, on par with the first movie.
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I’m a Data Analyst, from the land of Matthew McConaughey. I’m an avid movie-goer and love seeing films in theaters. My most recent favorite films are Good Time, Only Lovers Left Alive, TENET, and England is Mine. When I’m not at the movies, I’m either reading or watching obscene amount of true crime and historical documentaries.