The King’s Man is a prequel to two films from the franchise of the same name. The new film shows an alternative version of the First World War and explains how an independent secret agency lurking behind the walls of the atelier came into being. The main role is played by Ralph Fiennes – thanks to his character, the comedy suddenly turns into a story about fatherly love, which transforms from annoying overprotection of his only son into a noble mission to protect all mankind.
“Kings Man” / The King’s Man
Genre spy thriller, comedy
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Cast Ralph Fiennes (Duke of Orlando of Oxford), Harris Dickinson (Conrad), Gemma Arterton (Polly), Daniel Brühl (Erik Jan Hanussen), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Archie), Rhys Ifans (Rasputin), Matthew Goode (Captain Morton), Tom Hollander (George V / Wilhelm II / Nicholas II), Alexandra Maria Lara (Mata Hari) and others.
20th Century Studios, Marv Films, Marv Studios
Year of issue 2021 (in Ukraine 2022)
Where to watch cinemas
Kings Man was supposed to hit theaters in 2019, but the pandemic has forced 20th Century Fox to postpone the film’s release. The release date has changed many times, and at the end of 2021, the picture finally came out worldwide. In Ukraine, the action comedy hit the big screens in early 2022.
The creator of the prequel was Matthew Vaughn, who also directed the two previous films, writing the script for them. Despite the presence of Vaughn in the director’s chair, the third “Kings Man” is different from what we saw in the franchise, which combined sophisticated gentlemanly manners and absurd villainous machinations. First, the action of the new picture begins in the 1900s, so the fights and battles take place without spy gadgets. Secondly, the two main characters are no longer a mentor and his student (performed by Colin Firth and Taron Egerton), but father and son (Ralph Fiennes and Harris Dickinson).
The new characters completely change the tone of Kings Man. Thanks to them, the film becomes more serious – at times it turns into a serious military drama, in which cues about moral choice and duty to one’s country are heard (the production is so good and convincing that for a moment one manages to forget that events are developing within the framework of a comedy action movie). In addition, the picture pays attention to the life of English aristocrats who spent time on family estates drinking scotch. And, of course, they stopped by to try on a suit in a prestigious atelier.
The protagonist, the Duke of Orlando of Oxford, is a pacifist who is trying to protect his growing son from the dangers of a world where a large-scale war is about to break out. The cause of the conflict was the enmity between state leaders – George V, Wilhelm II and Nicholas II (by the way, actor Tom Hollander played three characters). The rulers do not suspect that they were quarreled by a certain Shepherd – a mysterious person who introduces her people into high society, where they have a significant impact on government decisions. One of the Shepherd’s agents turns out to be the false healer Rasputin, who is manipulating the tsar.
The beginning of “Kings Man” seems rather calm and completely devoid of the trademark madness of the franchise. However, when the Duke of Oxford comes face-to-face with Rasputin, the action comedy comes into its own, teetering between gruesome humor and witty battle choreography, where a false healer starts to dance, trying to defeat the Englishman (director Matthew Vaughn turns this scene into a comedy ballet). By the way, the trailer shows Rasputin as one of the main characters of the picture, but in fact, he quickly leaves the game.
Other characters also appear in the film, becoming an alternative version of famous people. These are British Field Marshal Herbert Kitchener, American President Woodrow Wilson, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Bosnian Serb with revolutionary ideas Gavrilo Princip, Dutch spy Mata Hari. All of them become participants in the events leading up to the First World War – the confrontation is conducted by the antagonist, whose identity remains a secret right up to the very end.
Kings Man seems like a very mixed film. At first, it resembles a historical production, then the picture switches to political satire, takes a short break and, at the pace of the dance, plunges the viewer into palace chaos. And then again surprises with serious scenes that unfold at the front.
In short, fans of the franchise will not see quite what they expected from the film. But this can hardly spoil the impression of a picture that provides a completely satisfactory explanation of how an independent international agency that stands above politics and bureaucracy came into being.
The new “Kings Men” has a memorable sword tournament, but in general there is not much action here (there was a lot more in the previous films) – this is probably what can disappoint viewers.
It’s not over yet for the franchise. Matthew Vaughn has announced that he plans to start shooting a fourth film in 2022 – the film will return to Taron Egerton’s character Eggsy, and he will definitely be involved in a lot of action.
PS Don’t rush to leave the theaters, there is a post-credits scene in the film – it hints at the appearance of another prequel.
Pros: Father and son story by Ralph Fiennes and Harris Dickinson; life of English aristocrats; witty choreography; alternate versions of famous people Cons: film’s mixed tone; little action
perhaps in Kings Men, viewers will miss the franchise’s trademark madness, as well as intense action. But the film itself is not bad – it is well directed, witty in the fight choreography and unexpectedly serious in the moments when the action unfolds at the front.