The Dark Herald Recommends The King’s ManThe Dark Herald
This film was startlingly good.
And I mean startling as in how did they get this one so right and the last one so wrong?
I will grant that, Kingsmen the Golden Circle wasn’t unwatchabley bad. But compared to the first film it wasn’t worth watching either.
The first Kingsmen movie was that rarest of things today, something original. It was both a loving tribute to Sean Connery-era James Bond and an intriguing story of class conflict. But it was also the coming-of-age story of a young man who wanted a heroic father he could revere, found something very close to it, and then had to take that man’s place as a hero when he fell.
It was the kind of movie that doesn’t get made today if the studio figures out what you are doing.
The second movie was the worst kind of sequel. It was a turn-back-the-character-clock flick. Eggsy is all “core” and “blimey guvn’a” again. He is now seeing Princess Butt-Sex-Joke on the regular and they are living together in London. Wrong! Princess Butt-Sex-Joke should not have ever been a girl that a daring spy was going to see more than once. And worst of all, they resurrected Galahad. His death in the first movie had a real point to it. It was Eggsy’s grow up and be a man moment. It was a major step backward after such a good first movie.
Consequently, I had absolutely no hope for the third movie. When the sequel is bad, the third movie is nothing but a money grab.
I am delighted to say, I was wrong.
The King’s Man is lightyears better than the sequel and perhaps even better than the first King’s Man movie. At the very least this film makes a matching bookend for the original.
Where the first movie was at its core a movie about a devoted son. This one is about a devoted father. Where Eggsy was born into the lower class, Orlando Oxford was born into the highest circles. He’s a Duke who can chastise the King, (in private, of course).
Oxford meets Barbara Tuchman’s description of a British aristocrat born before the Great War. He belongs to the class of men who were born into the business of government and went about to it as instinctively a beaver builds a dam. He follows in footsteps that have been carved into stone by the passing of his ancestor’s feet.
As a young man, Oxford was a professional soldier and a lifelong friend of General Kitchener. However, Oxford can’t take the killing and eventually makes a Christian vow of pacifism. His problem is that his son wants to be a soldier, in fact, becomes frantic to become one after World War One breaks out.
That is another problem for Oxford and his closest companions. He is certain that there is an organization trying to bring about the downfall of western civilization.
It turns out that World War One was started as a plot by a mysterious figure called The Shepard. He has assembled a rogues gallery of minions that included everyone from Gavrilo Princip to Rasputin. Mata Hari works for the Shepard as does Lenin.
Something I quite admired about this movie was how it did its level best to work all of the main historical incidents of the WWI period into the plot, as well as many of the principal historical figures. There was an effort to try and make as many of the details fit as they could. From the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand to the Death of Kitchener and the Zimmerman Telegram. These all work as major plot points. (Sorry if Kitchener’s death was a spoiler.)*
Ralph Fiennes delivers a commanding performance as Oxford. He carried the film and didn’t work up a sweat doing it.
I was surprised at the quality of work Djimon Hounsou delivered, I can’t say I’ve ever seen him stretch his legs as an actor like this before. I had always assumed he was just another Woke flavor of the month casting choice by the Hollywood Club, but I was wrong here too. The man can deliver when it’s required.
Gemma Arterton played Polly who used to be the nanny for the Duke’s son and is now one of his closest confidants. Mostly, I was pleased that she wasn’t constantly putting the men in their place and making them stay in their lanes. She also didn’t kick the ass of 300-pound linebackers. Polly very sensibly shot them.
Polly’s supporting role instead of taking the film over while the men gawk in amazement at her was one of the reasons the critics trashed it. There was enough Woke washing to get the film made but not enough to please critics. The Rotten Tomato split is a revealing 40% Critics / 80% Audience. Part of the bad reviews come from this being an intelligent movie and most critics are utterly retarded these days. But it also got under their skin politically. They didn’t like any of its messages. And worst of all it was a man’s movie about the problems of men. So far as the Gammas and feminists (but I repeat myself) are concerned men aren’t allowed to have any.
While this film has the comedic flair of the Kingsmen series, this one has a much darker tone. The Great War was a pretty dark subject and they didn’t shy away from the horrors of the trenches. As I’ve said before, the Brits like some tears with their laughs and there are plenty of tears in this one. But there are Kingsmen-like laughs as well.
King’s Man is a prequel done right. It told a story that was only hinted at in the background and added some very rich details to the world that was created.
The Dark Herald Recommends with Enthusiasm.
*No, I’m not sorry. Read a damn book.