Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Starring Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Harris Dickinson, Djimon Hounsou, and Charles Dance
The latest installment of the Kingsman franchise was one of the first victims of COVID-19. Originally supposed to come out almost 2 years ago — February 2020 — it was one of the first movies rescheduled as the pandemic began. Constantly pushed back until it finally hit theatres in December 2021. And, like every other film released at that time, got crushed by Spider-Man: No Way Home. I sure hope this didn’t kill the franchise, because I’ve been digging Matthew Vaughn’s spin on James Bond-style superspies. As I’ve been saying over the past few years whenever a new trailer dropped, this prequel takes us back in time…to the origins of Kingsman in the aftermath of World War I.
Orlando, the Duke of Oxford, has dedicated his life to pacifism. This was brought on after several grueling tours in the Royal Army, and the final straw was his wife being killed on a humanitarian mission for the Red Cross during the Boer War. While doing a favour for his friend Lord Kitchener, Oxford happens to be on the scene when the Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated, sparking World War I. Oxford’s son Conrad is now old enough and eager to enlist, but Oxford forbids it. Instead, Oxford offers him an alternative. With the assistance of his butler Shola and Conrad’s nanny Polly, Oxford has built his own spy network consisting of the servants in all the royal houses of Europe. To fulfil his pacifistic pursuits, Oxford’s goal is gather intel to prevent wars from happening. Through this network, Oxford has discovered there are shadowy forces at play that brought about this World War. Feeding their intel to the British forces through the back room of the Kingsman tailor shop, Oxford figures this may not be enough, and he may have to get into the trenches once again. Can these four uncover the conspiracy and help bring the war to an end?
What I Liked
While the last film in this franchise, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, felt like it tried too hard, this one is a little more subdued. Oh, granted, we still get some of the franchise’s trademark flourishes, such as an insane fight sequence set to music. This time, though, instead of a gun battle to Freebird, it’s a sword fight to classical music. More befitting the era. Ralph Fiennes does a good job as our hero, the Duke of Oxford. Between this and playing M in the last few Bonds, he’s really getting comfortable in the superspy genre.
What I Didn’t Like
Quite a few too many characters makes it difficult to know what’s going on some times. While it does have some good twists and turns, sometimes it feels like it’s too twisty for its own good.
A rather enjoyable addition to the Kingsman franchise.