Movie Review – The King’s Man

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Harris Dickinson as Conrad and Ralph Fiennes as Oxford in 20th Century Studios’ THE KING’S MAN. Photo credit: Peter Mountain. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

James Bond, Austin Powers, Eggsy. If you are a fan of spy films in the modern age then you probably can name where all three of those British Spies come from. While Kingsman was the most recent and action focused it is hard not to enjoy Eggsy’s recruitment into the independent intelligence agency. Now after much delay the prequel, The King’s Man is now in cinemas but is it worth the wait?

If you need to be brought up to speed a little bit, the Kingsman is a secret independant intelligence agency from the comics by Mark Millar (and art by Watchman collaborator Dave Gibbons). The Kingsman is… think MI6 except everyone is James Bond. Originally published in 2012 the series was QUICKLY picked up for a film adaption on the back of the success of Millar’s Kick-Ass adaption with the film being released in 2015.

The film took a few liberties with the original story but was in safe hands with it being written and directed by Matthew Vaughn who was at the time coming from rebooting the X-Men franchise with being the writer and director of X-Men: First Class and (writer of) X-Men: Days of Future Past. In the new version Eggsy, a British delinquent is recruited into the Kingsman Secret Service following in the tradition of his father who was also a spy.

From tech moguls planning to cull the population to cure global warming to drug kingpins holding the addicts of the world hostage, the Kingsman is known for a few things chief amongst them being the amount of action/violence/hyperkinetic action sequences with their own special sauce of cinematography that doesn’t leave you not knowing what is going on. The other thing is the depth of the world and the Kingsman network from secret underground tunnel systems to high tech spy gadgets it is clear the Kingsman are not new to the game.

But in reality, none of that matters at all. You see while Mark Millar might have been a heavy influence on the first films but in the sale of Millarworld (Mark Millar’s creative company) there was a special condition that prevented Mark Millar from working on any of the projects committed to film prior to the sale. That means, no Wanted, Kick-Ass and no Kingsman (even with still owning the properties).

So what is The King’s Man? It is just what it promises on the box as a prequel to the other Kingman films taking everything back to even before World War One where the Kingman Intelligence Agency was not even a thought. You know that super deep world of the Kingsman that we mentioned? It doesn’t exist yet.

The King’s Man is set not early but before the foundation of the Agency with central to the plot being the Duke of Oxford who has taken to a pacifist role. Beginning before World War One and proceeding into it we have a slightly different reminder of the war with King George of England being at War with the Kaiser of Germany, with the hopes of turning the tide in the war resting on if the Czar of Russia will enter the war, however the Kings Man also reminds you that these 3 were actually Cousins (first cousins too).

With the pressure of the war King George of England asks the Duke of Oxford to act on his behalf, to be the King’s Man.

What follows is closer to a Bond film than the more action driven Kingsman film. While there are some great action sequences they are spread out through the film rather than being set pieces between effectively each chapter in the other films. There is absolutely some great sections with the Duke’s house staff Gemma Arterton and Djimon Hounsou acting as early agents the film is very early on in the Kingsman career so there are not as many highly trained assassins in this attempt to stop secret plot by a shadowy cabal.

So should you go see it? That is getting a harder to answer question given the need to be able to see it safely. If you are more of a fan of the Kingsman franchise for the Bond-esque storylines and less so for the hyperkinetic action sequences + spy gadgets then this will satisfy that itch. But don’t worry, there are still some Kingsman like moments which take place mostly as fight scenes in some key points throughout the film.

The King’s Man is in cinemas across Australia from Today

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Story and Characters
Visuals and Effects
Enjoyment Factor
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Current Resident of Reality C-137. Possible Robot from Westworld. Does lots of random stuff.
movie-review-the-kings-manWhile the Kingsman and brilliantly shot camera sequences go hand in hand this one is more about the spy game than beating up a pub full of ill mannered hooligans with an umbrella. But if you are a fan of the Kingsman franchise there is still enough sly references to 'future' films to look out for. P.S. You don't have to stay until the end of the credits but if you hang around until midway you will get some bonus Baron Zemo.