By: Amanda Guarragi
“Oxfords, not brogues.”
When Kingsman: The Secret Service was released, it surprised so many action junkies, and set forth a new action star in Taron Egerton. Matthew Vaughn gave us an action franchise that played up the campy espionage with very graphic, perfectly choreographed action sequences that are still being talked about today. After what feels like an eternity, The King’s Man is finally here, and for the most part, it worked. If it weren’t for the polished, gentleman vibe that Ralph Fiennes naturally gives off, then we would have had some more issues.
As we all know, The Secret Service established the code names from the King Arthur lore, and we get to see how all of that originated. There are great little references to the other films but they didn’t rely to heavily on making those connections. This film established the difference in what it means to be honourable when protecting one’s country, and in that they succeeded. It’s all about reputation versus character and I really appreciated that these important conversations about being a man were mostly had between father and son, the Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) and Conrad (Harris Dickinson).
The main issue with The King’s Man is the script. The story was incredibly jumbled and it was difficult to keep up with what the plan was because of everyone involved. The first half of this film feels like it’s moving slow because of everything that is being set up. Then, once they get into the actual story, it loses its footing, and tries to explore too many paths at once. It felt like Conrad and the Duke’s relationship overshadowed the urgency in saving England from tyrants. In the end, both narratives end up fizzling and the film never really creates that emotional connection to the agency, or even father and son.
The King’s Man attempts to set the tone for the agency during wartime in England. Even though it keeps the same gentlemanlike consistency, the action sequences aren’t up to par with the other two films. For some reason, this felt a bit more safe and reserved compared to the other two films. It was nice to see the development of the agency, but the story wasn’t executed well enough to make it as enjoyable as the others. The campy nature of the espionage and the cheesy dialogue did not suit the era at all, which made some moments incredibly awkward.
The King’s Man strolls into theatres December 22nd and if you’re a fan of the franchise, this will be a nice little gift as you wait for Kingsman 3.