The King’s Man

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Harris Dickenson, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Djimon Honshuu, Charles Dance, and Daniel Bruhl.

Directed By Matthew Vaughn

Where I Watched It: HBO MAX (though I saw it’s also on Hulu)

English Audio Description Available?: Yes.

The plot: A look back in time to the formation of the secret service known as the Kingsmen. This finds Orlando (Fiennes) facing off against an enemy hell bent on taking over the world. You know, typical World War stuff. Except, Rasputin (Ifans) is involved.

What Works: I have to be honest and say that I was surprised that Matthew Vaughn still appeared as director and writer. It doesn’t feel like him at all. His previous films are heavily stylized, with X-Men First Class perhaps being the most straight forward. There are times here when The king’s man takes itself super serious.

And the serious tone helps lift up the action sequences, because there is always the looming fear of danger here. The previous films in this franchise, while not afraid to kill off major characters, also had such a lighthearted comedic tone that you just couldn’t take it too seriously. All that fun and games is gone, and this is a pretty straight forward action origin story.

Also, i can’t fault the actors. This has a really strong cast, and they all perform at their high levels. Lots of Oscar nominees in this bunch.

What Doesn’t Work: I don’t really know, nor will I ever, what possessed Matthew Vaughn to make this. It’s so lifeless compared to the other two entries, and that serious tone, while it doesn’t hurt this film as a stand alone feature, when it is put against the other two in the franchise, it just makes this feel like a dark and dreary bore.

Also, at 130 minutes, it’s not that long, but it felt so long. The pacing in this film, again especially when you put it against the other two, is so slow. If this was the first film we had ever seen in the franchise, and this set up and established all future films, I’m not sure I would have wanted a sequel, but at least I’d view the eventual sequels with Taron Edgerton in a positive light.

Here, because it is third, and an origin after the fact, it draws immediate comparison to both Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Both of those films, I really enjoyed. I can’t say the same here. I’ve rewatched the first two, but I won’t ever feel the desire to rewatch this.

All the joy got sucked out of this franchise. All the style, occasional silliness, and genuine pizazz. I hate to say that original franchise leads Taron Edgerton and Colin Firth were more interesting than Ralph Fiennes and company, but they are. I’m seeing this after its performance at the box office, and now I understand why it underperformed. It just doesn’t feel like a Kingsman movie, and it surely doesn’t feel like a film anyone asked for, and probably frustrated audiences that they got this instead of completing a trilogy with the other cast.

The Blind Perspective: Yes, there’s audio description, and with the amount of action in the film, I’d recommend making sure you catch it with audio description. I don’t know if Hulu is offering it, but I would assume not. They usually just give shenanigans when it comes to audio description.

Final Thoughts: I’m a big fan of the franchise, big fan of Matthew Vaughn, and I would have loved a real true Kingsman 3. I don’t know why we got this. It has pacing issues, making it feel longer than it actually is. And despite such a talented cast, it seems impossible to elevate this film beyond a just OK. Honestly, this film is best suited for those who haven’t seen either of the other two Kingsman films. Then you won’t have anything to compare it with, and that absolutely will work in its favor.

Final Grade: C+

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