The King’s Man
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
If anyone had John Steed and Emma Peele of ‘The Avengers’ as part of their childhood they have probably already tuned in to ‘The King’s Man’ franchise of films.
The storyline revolves around a secret society of immaculately suited gentlemen (and ladies) whose headquarters is in a tailor shop (The Kingsman Tailor Shop) in London. The King's Men protect the world (and empire) from any naughty criminals intent on world domination. Ralph Fiennes as Lord Oxford, our original King’s Man, does his immaculate best to make this movie sing.
The Kingsman 1 and 2 were fab (‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’, 2014 and ‘The Kingsman: Golden Circle’, 2017) but this last offering, unfortunately, just doesn’t hit the spot even though it has so much going for it. As a back-story to the film franchise it is the account of how the secret society was formed and is based circa World War One. I mean, it has that huge and wicked monk Rasputin (Rhys Ifans); Tom Hollander playing all three cousins Tzar Nicholas, King George and Kaiser Wilhelm; Kitchener (Charles Dance); Arch Duke Ferdinand (Ron Cook); even Woodrow Wilson (Ian Kelly) being blackmailed by a seductress and Lenin ready to pick up the pieces of Russia after the assassination of Tsar Nicholas and family.
What it didn’t have was the fun spirit of spy parody in which the other two films were created.
Sure, it is hard to joke around with WW1, such a heinous humanitarian crime. It would have been hard for any director to pull off sophisticated and stylised good spy versus bad spy violence against a backdrop of WW1 slaughter in all its grim bleakness.
The premise of the film is that a secret society of bad guys has infiltrated the inner circles of all players in WW1 and forced the world into war, just waiting for their moment to swoop.
There are moments of fun, particularly those scenes involving the man-mountain Rasputin, but not of the calibre we have come to expect of this fun franchise.