Hollywood has to learn that not everything has to be franchised. Kingsman: The Secret Service It was an excellent action comedy. We needed a movie like this that would bring back the funniest elements of classic James Bond without taking itself seriously. Unfortunately the sequel The golden circle it wasn’t up to the task. We can say the same for the long awaited prequel: King’s Man: the origin.
This film was originally scheduled to hit theaters in 2019, but the Disney-Fox merger and the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its arrival on the big screen for more than two years. Now that we have it here we can determine that it was not worth the wait, although it may provide a few hours of fun.
The action takes place before and during the First World War with a secret organization of “villains” in the service of a mysterious character called The Shepherd. They seem to control the course of history and manipulate governments at will. The protagonists are Duke Orlando Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) and his son Conrad (Harris Dickinson), two aristocrats who try to prevent a war and then stop it when their plans fail.
We had to assume this wasn’t going to be a great movie when no less than five minutes passed before we resorted to the overused stereotype of the woman in the refrigerator. One of the main problems with the King’s Man: the origin it takes too long to put the pieces together for the “fun” to begin. It’s okay that he takes the time to introduce us to the characters, but he’s focusing too much on the differences between Orlando and Conrad. The young man wants to go to war and his father wants to stop him. It leaves out other characters with great potential like Shola (Djimon Hounsou) and Polly (Gemma Arterton), who are wrongly defined only by their role as servants. We would have preferred to know more about her than Conrad, who is simple and boring.
More interesting is Rhys Ifans in his exaggerated but amusing portrayal of Rasputin. His scenes are full of absurd moments that are very entertaining. The action scene in which he faces the protagonists reminds us that director Matthew Vaughn has an incomparable eye for action scenes. He shows this several times during the course of the film.
This film offers us very exciting moments. There’s a fantastic knife fight going on in the middle of two trenches that keeps the tension at maximum. We also enjoy an action sequence that includes an airplane and where everything goes wrong. It wouldn’t be out of place in a shipment of Impossible mission.
These scenes are a real relief in the midst of a painfully weak plot. King’s Man: the origin it’s a confused movie. He doesn’t know if he wants to be a war drama or a cartoonish “pulp” adventure. These two halves have radically different shades and hardly coincide with each other.
The confusion extends to his treatment of actual historical events. Since this is a fictional work, there is no need to criticize the liberties you take in presenting it. In fact, it has very funny details like King George of England, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Tsar Nicholas of Russia played by the same actor. The problem is, in his eagerness to use real characters, he ends up creating situations that don’t go with his own caricature and exaggerated tone. His ideas are conspiracies that seem to come from the mind of a modern day madman who believes Hillary Clinton is a cannibal and that John F. Kennedy lives. King’s Man: the origin he takes these moments seriously.
This topic of conspiracies and secret societies revolves around a villain whose identity is kept secret until the end. The “big reveal” of who he is falls short of the mystery and is as disappointing as it is obvious. Said villain’s motivation doesn’t fit well into the overall plot either and is strangely forward-looking for some reason: the end of the aristocratic class. This makes us ask again: What has Matthew Vaughn against this kind of politics? Let’s not forget that the villain wanted to end global warming in the first movie and the villain wanted to legalize drugs in the sequel.
Most of the subjects covered in this film remain unfinished. The protagonist’s pacifism is put aside without much thought and criticism of the nobility is left in half. The anti-war message is taken much more seriously and we have a shocking scene where Conrad reacts to having to end a life. But even that is inconsistent with the rest of the film. Although there are dialogues demonstrating resistance to colonialism and wars, the subtext of the plot seems to be different.
The shortcomings of King’s Man: the origin You’re taking it away from the genius of the first movie, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. As mentioned before, the action scenes are excellent and exciting. Plus, it’s a pleasure to see Ralph Fiennes as an adventurous hero. This may not be his best role, but you can tell he had a lot of fun doing it.
Matthew Vaughn says he plans to start producing the fourth film in the series in 2022 and hasn’t given up hope of a spin-off with the statesman. We hope you can transform them into works worthy of the first King manbut letting this franchise die is probably a better idea.