2021, Movies

The King’s Man (2021, Matthew Vaughn)

It’s hard to exaggerate how much worse the third Kingsman movie is compared to the first two. It almost feels like one of those sequels made by someone else, like The Sting 2 or whatever. But, it’s made by Vaughn. It just feels like it misses the mark almost the entire way through.


I don’t know if Vaughn (or someone else) has a relative who was involved in WWI, but there is just a seriousness to much of this film that feels both completely at odds with the vibe of the first two Kingsman movies and, honestly, anathema to the spirit of the franchise. It doesn’t feel like a film in the series until the Rasputin fight.

And that brings me to the whole way it treats history: there are just a host of famous historical figure “cameos” that are just lazily thrown in. The history is bad, as you might imagine, but there’s little comedy to offset how bad the history is. (At one point I literally said to Jenn “It’s like they’re working off a WWI checklist.” What I should have said is “It’s like this script was written by playing WWI bingo.”)

There are some good jokes and some fun moments. Tom Hollander’s roles are great. He is one of the highlights of the film. (Ifans is also really enjoying himself.) And


Dickinson’s character’s death is a genuine surprise, one of the only points in the film where I actually was like “Whoa, what is happening?” And there’s the cashmere book joke, which is good. And there are a few others.

But the jokes and surprises are few and far between, and surrounded by a such a sour, respectful treatment of WWI that it just sucks the fun and joy out of the franchise. It doesn’t matter if you have famous people all over this film, it’s not fun. The franchise used to be fun.

To make matters worse, they hint strongly at a sequel.

Just a massive misstep.


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