The King’s Man (2021), the third installment in the Kingsman film series, arrives in cinemas with Matthew Vaughn returning to helm the spy action-comedy flick. With screenplay by Vaughn and Karl Gajdusek as well as story by Vaughn, The King’s Man, as well the films it followed, are based on the comic book series – The Secret Service by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. The current film serves as a prequel to the hyper-violent franchise. Like the films that preceded it, the ensemble cast brings a-list actors into the fold. This film stars Ralph Fiennes, who also serves as an executive producer.
Focusing on the events leading up to and during World War I, The King’s Man explores the birth of the mythic organization. Delayed multiple times due to the pandemic, 20th Century Studios released The King’s Man on December 22 in the United States. It was released in Europe several days later. The film, receiving mixed reviews and unfortunately being released just days after the Spiderman: No Way Home juggernaut, has only grossed a little over $49 million to date.
Comic book fans with knowledge of The Secret Service will notice a drastic dissonance between the source material and this most recent film. Tonally, the prequel with its action thriller vibe is a complete 180 from the source material. It’s almost devoid of comedy. If you are a fan of the original comic, you might find this film confusing at best.
The reviews for this film have been all over the place – ranging from a B+ to a C-. Nonetheless, it is enjoyable. Ralph Fiennes brings a solid performance to the central character, and you can hang your hat on it. Gemma Arterton and Djimon Hounsou light up the screen as the only actors bringing the delicious (albeit violent) fun you do come to expect from the franchise. Character actor, Daniel Brühl, is always underused. If you know who he is, look him up. It’s worth it.
Overall, if you are diehard fan of the franchise, you may want to pass on this film. Tonally, it’s confusing and you’ll walk away disappointed. However, if you just want a solid action film to eat popcorn to during a bleak January, check it out. You’ll enjoy it.
The King’s Man – R 2021 • Action/Adventure • 2h 11m
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