It must be said that time certainly played an almost strange element when it came to the director Matthew Vaughn’s The King’s Man. At least it did for me, I still distinctly remember about two years ago, seeing the film’s trailer in cinemas, pre-Covid. No masks, no social distancing and you can eat all the popcorn that you want. Then Covid happened, cinemas shut down, in the Philippines it was one of the longest cinema closures – almost two years!
So imagine, how surreal it all was for me to see the film in its entirety when cinemas finally opened. It was a bit of a ‘blip moment’ for me.
Going back to 2022’s The King’s Man, well technically it was supposed to be released last 2019 but you know, Covid and all. The film was released in December 2021 in the US. Instead.So more time skips and jumps. The film is of course, a prequel to Kingsman: Secret Service (2014) and Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017). As a bit of an added information and I guess, something that I personally find amusing is that the films are actually based on the comic book The Secret Service by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. This is personally amusing, since I have begun reviewing Mark Millar’s new comic book series King of Spies. You can check out my reviews on FlipGeeks.com.
As a prequel film, the story takes us way back just before the start of the first world war. There’s a lot of history in this film, which is something that I really enjoyed being a bit of a history buff myself. I remember studying about the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in my world history class and how it triggered the start of the first world war. To see this translated to film, albeit in a more stylish fashion and coupled with action sequences was a bit of a treat. Of course, these moments in history as shown on the big screen, should be taken with a grain of salt; as the writers took a bit of liberty with adapting historical figures and events into this war-action/drama and ultimately the origin of the Kingsman: Secret Service. Not to mention, exploring the father-son relationship between Orlando, Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) and his son Conrad (Harris Dickinson). And because the film was coinciding with historical events, it felt too long at some parts.
So, there really is a lot going on and perhaps it is these too many ingredients which cause the film to lose its footing. There simply is too much happening that it doesn’t feel grounded or pulled together cohesively.
While the plot was a bit muddled and it felt like there were so many things happening at the same time, the film does have its moments, especially the fight sequences, which of course the Kingsman franchise is famous for. The big fight with Rasputin (Rhys Ifans) has a bit of a comedic and kinky twist to it? But still entertaining. A knife fight in the middle of the dark trenches of WW1 was a nail-bitter and of course that finale and goat-filled finale was also enjoyable.
I will give the film one thing, there is a twist that I did not see coming! Honestly, as I am typing this, I still can’t believe that events turned out as they did. It was a pretty big shocker. So, I was surprised, albeit not pleasantly. Part war/drama film, part action and a bit of comedy. The King’s Man is a must-watch for fans of the franchise. It has lots to offer, but will probably be best enjoyed if you turn off the switch in your head and let it entertain you.