Film Review – The King’s Man (2021)

films, reviews

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I know that a lot of people didn’t like the second Kingsman film but I really did. Was it messier than the first one? Yes, but it was still fun. Of course, I tend to think that anything with guns and secret agents is worth watching. So, I was excited about the prequel film. That was before I’d seen anything about it. Then every trailer I saw just increased my excitement. Thanks to Covid, the release was delayed and I’ve only just got round to it. Would it be everything I wanted it to be?

The latest film in the Kingsman series takes us back to the start of the organisation. Yep, just like every superhero ever, we’re getting the origin story. This takes us back way before Eggsy and Harry were stopping bad guys. Just before the start of World War One in fact. With Europe in turmoil, a mysterious figure is working to destroy some of the greatest nations by dragging out the conflict for as long as possible. Apparently, the only person who can stop them is Orlando, Duke of Oxford.

A one-time war hero who turned to pacifism since the death of his wife during the Boer War. He has connections in government and is carefully keeping track of the events taking place in Europe. Unfortunately for Orlando, his son has other ideas. He is keen to enlist. To stop him, Orlando introduces him to the secret spy network that includes two of his servants. The group have to travel across Europe and to America in order to prevent the world from imploding. Can they stop the flames of war from being stoked further?

I’ll be honest, my hopes were high for this one. As soon as I saw that Boney M Rasputin trailer, I was hooked. I bloody love that song and I love the fact that it brought in real historical figures. However, it didn’t really work for the finished product. There was just too much going on and the story go super complicated for what it needed to be. It was taking itself much more seriously than it needed to and lost sight of everything that made the previous two films so good.

The last two films were so good because they were having fun. Yes, there was action and drama but they were mostly fun. They had a charm to them. They had characters that you gave a shit about. No matter how great Ralph Fiennes is, there was no way that Orlando was ever going to be a good alternative to Harry. The rest of the characters don’t really get the chance to make an impression. There’s very little development and nobody is allowed the same humour that resonated in the first films.

The premise of this film is fantastic. If it has worked, a film that rewrote the history of WW1 would have been unforgettable. There was a lot of potential for the emotional scenes taking place in the trenches but the rest of the film is too muddled to let these moments fly. Most people will say that The King’s Man is better than The Golden Circle but I don’t think so. There are too many plates spinning and Matthew Vaughn can’t quite control them. It’s a huge shame.

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