THE KING'S MAN
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Harris Dickinson, Daniel Brühl, Djimon Hounsou, and Charles Dance
Director: Matthew Vaughn
As an unnecessary prequel designed to spawn a concurrent Kingsman series, The King’s Man is good enough to be watchable, but not to the point that it justifies its own existence. It’s like the store brand version of the first two movies, featuring action scenes that aren’t as exciting and characters that aren’t as magnetic (except for Rasputin (Rhys Ifans), who steals every scene). I give it credit for subverting expectations in two major ways, but the ending is so predictable that it somewhat undermines those efforts. Mostly though, it’s just a disappointment that lacks the spark of its predecessors.
While it lacks the whimsical absurdity of the franchise starter, The King’s Man is as worthy a prequel as it can be with its more self-serious approach. Not all of it works (the middle of the film is quite choppy in terms of pacing), but enough of it comes together so that the audience won’t feel their time is wasted. The action is fun to watch – especially the silent No Man’s Land sequence – and all the actors seem to be having fun, with Rhys Ifans as the infamous Rasputin being a particular highlight. It’s certainly better than The Golden Circle.