HOLLYWOOD—I loved the flick “Kingsman: The Secret Service” because it was unlike anything ever seen on the big screen and it was full of surprises, twists, great acting and a story that just pulls you in. The sequel, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” was not great, but it was NOT terrible. It just became a bit too silly with the code names and that narrative that I laughed wondering if the writers were being serious or not.
With that said, we now have a third entry in the franchise, “The King’s Man” that is more of an origin tale, but there is a major problem with this origin tale: it’s boring as hell. I was surprised considering the last two entries were at least satisfying to a degree for audiences. You knew what to expect, and I expect the same this time around, but that is not the case. I mean you have Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans and Djimon Hounsou. Even with all that talent, this movie has a narrative that is just not engaging at all people.
There is that element of mentorship between Fiennes character Orlando Oxford and Harris Dickinson (Conrad Oxford) who is slated to take over the reign at some point. Is that an interesting dimension yes, but the characters personally fell flat to me; they are not well fleshed out to make the audience care about what is transpiring.
The movie plays with the notion of war, conspiracies and how one person’s actions leads to a domino effect of chaos that propels the narrative. I will admit Hounsou and Arterton, who portray confidants of Orlando, Polly and Shola, are solid additions to the franchise and give a bit of personality to the film. I think the notion of having the big bad villain, at least as he appears in the first and second act of the flick Grigori Rasputin (Ifans) is laughable and a headscratcher.
He doesn’t look like a villain and I think the writers may have been aiming for that approach, but I ultimately found it to be more distracting because it was hard to take this bearded guy who dressed in gothic attire as a serious and lethal threat. I kept asking myself, “Am I supposed to be intrigued, frightened or annoyed with this character America?” The unfortunate side effect is I found myself annoyed by the character.
There is indeed a well-choreographed fight sequence about an hour into the movie that is indeed epic, visually, stunning and a ton of fun to watch. That was the ONLY bright spot in the entire flick that had my attention once it kicked off until the end. I found myself multiple times while watching “The King’s Man” dosing off, checking my watch and wanting to do other things. I was not excited at all watching this movie and that tells you the narrative is not as engaging as one would have hoped.
I mean the man behind the camera is Matthew Vaughn. Vaughn did exceptional work with the first installment in the franchise, the sequel and now this third outing. So what happened, I have no idea except the fact that it’s a prequel and tell me the last time you watched a prequel, not a sequel that actually blew your socks off?
I’m waiting, because you’re NOT going to find one. Prequels tell you a story where you already know the end result. There is nothing exciting about witnessing such a thing, unless the prequel throws in some sort of twist that changes the entire dynamic of a franchise in the movie universe. “The King’s Man” was hoping to capture the same magic that the first flick and the second flick managed to do with audiences.
I hate to say it, but it seems this franchise may have run its course or perhaps the focus should be to advance the sequel aspect and not focus on giving an origin tale to the viewers that is not that fun to watch to say the least.