In 2014 we were introduced to Kingsman, a new and different kind of spy organization from, say, the James Bonds we’re used to: even more ruthless, with more swearing and above all, much more stylish outfits. But every organization starts somewhere. And that beginning is revealed in the entertaining but slightly unnecessary The King’s Man.
Chess game for the Great War
Orlando, Duke of Oxford, (Ralph Fiennes) serves as a Red Cross emissary with his wife Emily and son Conrad (Harris Dickinson, Beach Rats, The Darkest Minds) to a concentration camp in South Africa during the Second Boer War for help. offer. During their visit, the camp is attacked, causing Orlando, who is also a former soldier, to leave the war and become overprotective of his son. He wanted to prevent war rather than fight in it. Son Conrad didn’t like that, who just wanted to defend his country. Especially now that the war is getting closer, because Europe is rumbling.
To keep up with what’s going on, Orlando makes his own network with waitress Shola (Djimon Hounsou) and nanny Polly (Gemma Arterton). What they don’t know yet, but we do know, is that European politics is actually controlled by a group of bad guys led by a mysterious Scottish man who primarily wants to see England burn. To prevent war, Orlando and Shola and Polly create an underground network that requires them to use Conrad’s help.
The King’s Man escape from history
From the start, you actually know where The King’s Man is going, right up until the end of the film. But that’s often the case with prequels and that doesn’t mean there aren’t any surprises along the way. For example, I thought it was a good idea to weave the Kingsman story with real-world history. Though they’re a bit loose with that too, of course, because as far as I know, there’s no Scottish mastermind involved. Or I just meant to think that? Conspiracy lovers can indulge in this way.
That hidden touch allows for some creativity with the characters from that time. For example, the assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was part of a mysterious club, such as Mata Hari and Rasputin. Moreover, the last one played by Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man), left quite an impression. Some of his original history is used in the story, but Ifans makes him eccentric to say the least. With that, he also created one of the most incredible scenes I’ve ever seen: a kind of dance fight that I watched with my mouth open. On top of that, there are also slightly more frivolous choices, such as Tom Hollander playing the three leads alone, disguised with some makeup.
How many at once?
With The King’s Man, director Matthew Vaughn tries to do a lot of things that don’t always go well. Of course it’s a spy film, which presents itself when it comes to networks and all the intrigue between European leaders. But then suddenly became a war movie with quite impressive scenes. The costumes and set designs are also well worth the effort. Just like in other films, the action is still brutal and the fights are full of violence. But rather oddly in line with the message of pacifism that was then conveyed by Oswald. And as the Duke of Oxford, the language is always quite formal, making the usual expletives less appropriate here than elsewhere.
Ralph Fiennes is already in the spy world with his role as M, but can also show his active side here. He is fine. Fiennes brings the necessary emotion to a role that can otherwise be very dry and tight. I didn’t really like the part of Gemma Arterton. She’s also got some action to do but with an actress like that you can do a little more. The same is true for Djimon Hounsou. Nevertheless, the whole thing is ultimately very entertaining and sometimes quite surprising. There are also a few references that fans of the first film will especially appreciate. The ending will be a big wink for some and maybe too much of a dip for others. This prequel may not be completely necessary, but it certainly doesn’t hold back.