Synopsis: In The King’s Man (2021) the events leading to World War I serve as the story’s backdrop. Orlando (Ralph Fiennes) and his son, Conrad (Harris Dickinson) clash about the virtues and morality of heroics of war. But very they must soon team up to fight . . .
All good stories need at least some element of conflict at their heart. Clearly, Matthew Vaughn realises this. For example, setting father against son was a brilliant move, as the generational argument between Orlando (Ralph Fienes) and Conrad (Harris Dickinson) plays out. This was very much a common thing in the early years of World War I, making events all the more poignant. Also, by having Orlando renounce violence, due to his own experiences, the drama seems more realistic. This sort of story transcends setting, and will always keep you invested. As the plot plays out, the stakes get higher, as historical events are referenced via a a fictionalised version. This keeps the focus on action, as the narrative leads towards the inevitable confrontation at the end of the story
Some really strong performances here, especially from Ralph Fiennes. You expect a good showing from a talent as huge as his, but the range of acting really impresses. Considering that The King’s Man is an action flick, there’s some wonderful emotional scenes that Fiennes really elevates. However, he’s also a lot of fun at times, too. Whilst we’re talking of fun, the absolute show-stealer is Rhys Ifans as the infamous psycho monk, Rasputin. Gemma Arterton and Djimon Hounsou both also shine as Orlando’s trusty sidekicks.
Stunts & Action
Whilst The King’s Man lacked the gadgets of the fist Kingsman movie, it didn’t suffer because of it. In some ways the action seemed more realistic, and more visceral. Particularly gruesome were the battle scenes in the trenches, and they worked as a powerful message to show war’s brutal nature. A standout scene involved Rhys Ifans as Rasputin, “dance-fighting”, which was a lot of fun and the music the scene was set to made it even better. The choreography was never anything but brilliant, and that showed throughout.
The King’s Man was a good combination of drama and fun. The story was a little bloated in parts, but not so much that you lost interest. There were good examples of representation in this film. Traditionally spy films, or “spy-fi” has always been a male dominated. Yes, the main man here was an older, white man, but that worked because of when it was set. There were also other considerations that so many big-budget movies don’t bother with. We saw that the British Empire was at times brutal in its methods. For example, we saw them operating concentration camps. It was good to see privilege at least identified. Finally, it was good to see the formation of the Kinsman organisation, which seemed to neatly set up events for the next installment in the Kingsman franchise.
- Stunts & Action9.5
- Incidental Music9.3