The King’s Man is a 2021 spy action comedy film directed by Matthew Vaughn from a screenplay by Vaughn and Karl Gajdusek and a story by Vaughn. The third installment in the Kingsman film series, which is based on the comic book The Secret Service (later retitled to Kingsman) by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, it is a prequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) and Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017).
Considering that Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden Circle were deeply flawed films, we did not expect much from The King’s Man, especially when the track records of prequels in general were not promising. As a fan of director Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass, it seemed to this writer that the Kingsman movie franchise was a waste of time and money, and not worthy of adaptation.
Thus, we were pleasantly surprised when The King’s Man subverted our expectations and turned out to be a very enjoyable period action flick overall. With a greater emphasis on farcical comedy (and a heartfelt familial dynamic), the movie works when not approached seriously whatsoever. The premise in itself is ridiculous but in a fun way:
In the early years of the 20th century, the Kingsman agency is formed to stand against a cabal plotting a war to wipe out millions. (IMDb)
This war that is mentioned in the premise is actually World War I – “the war to end all wars” – and several real-life historical characters are featured. Lord Kitchener, King George V, Rasputin, Mata Hari, Lenin and so on. It’s pretty silly overall and not quite explained satisfactorily – why does the main villain hold so much power and influence in the first place, for example – but presumably the comedic tone is meant to cover up a multitude of sins.
The King’s Man offers renewed hope for this moribund franchise and perhaps the next instalment can take a look at World War II! That would be interesting! Good fun overall.
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