The King’s Man, a prequel to the Kingsman franchise, attempts to provide a backstory for fans but ultimately falls short in delivering a cohesive and engaging story.
Set on the verge of World War One, the film follows King George of England, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, and Tsar Nicholas of Russia, played by Tom Hollander, as they find themselves ruling three powerful nations. However, dark forces commanded by Erik Jan Hanussen, played by Daniel Brühl, lurk in the shadows, attempting to infiltrate the leaders’ trust and launch a world war. Meanwhile, manipulative monk Grigori Rasputin, played by Rhys Ifans, adds to the chaos.
Although the action is directed well, with standout moments like the breathtaking skydiving sequence, the screenplay by director Matthew Vaughn and Karl Gajdusek leads The King’s Man into the disjointed territory. It attempts to balance historical drama with action adventure, but the film’s serious anti-war message quickly devolves into a parody.
Rhys Ifans delivers a standout performance, stealing every scene he’s in, but the film’s disjointed nature makes it difficult to fully appreciate. Despite a clever early twist, the story feels predictably plodding, with a post-credits set-up for another instalment that’s head-slappingly obvious.
Overall, while The King’s Man offers some thrilling moments and great performances, it fails to deliver a cohesive and engaging story, leaving audiences feeling underwhelmed.