The Kings Man
Starring Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Djimon Hounsou, Tom Hollander, Matthew Goode, Harris Dickinson, Charles Dance, Daniel Bruhl
Why 20th Century Studios is releasing the prequel “The King’s Man” amid the awards films and a dominating superhero film is anyone’s guess. Director Matthew Vaughn’s prequel to “Kingsman,” however, is quite impressive in the second half. Vaughn, who wrote the screenplay and directed the franchise’s previous films, assembles an impressive cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Djimon Hounsou and a hilarious Rhys Ifans.
The first half dives into the origins of the secret spy organization and how Orlando Oxford (Fiennes) desperately wants to shield his son Conrad (Harris Dickinson) from such a dangerous lifestyle. The “You’re just a boy” trope wears a bit thin, for these types of films and characters Fiennes has played in the past. The Oxford father-and-son team is mediating brewing tensions between Russia, Germany and America as war brews beneath the surface.
Vaughn has tricks up his sleeve taking the third installment of the series in a surprising direction.
Tom Hollander gets the rich task of portraying King George, Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas. Yet, it’s Ifans as the villainous Grigori Rasputin who leaves the most lasting impression.
The film’s centerpiece brawn featuring Rasputin and our protagonists rivals even the church scene with Colin Firth in the first “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”
It’s worth suffering through the more egregious element of the film. Vaughn has tricks up his sleeve taking the third installment of the series in a surprising direction. The unpredictability of the action and witty comic relief reminds us why we enjoyed the original so much.
The unpredictability of the action and witty comic relief reminds us why we enjoyed the original so much.