“The King’s Man” has style but doesn’t know what story to tell.

Alas! After what feels like YEARS since we first saw the trailer, The King’s Man, the long awaited prequel to the Kingsmen franchise hits theatres.

This period spy thriller reveals the origins of the secret spy organization first introduced in Matthew Vaughn’s 2014 hit, Kingsman: The Secret Service.

As a fan of the first film, I was excited to learn more background about our beloved spies. And to clarify, we don’t talk about Kingsman: The Golden Circle because ew cannibalism and ew sexist behavior.

But back to The King’s Man. As a whole, it is an entertaining action flick that relishes in its ridiculousness and brutal action. However, the film tackled two very different styles that did not mesh well for me.

Vaughn made it very clear that he had always wanted to create a period piece prior to the release and that this influenced a lot of this film’s storytelling. However, this desire resulted in looking like 1917 was shoved in the middle of King’s Man. This juxtaposition also hindered the pacing, taking almost an hour to gain momentum. It’s almost as if Kingsman forgot its identity.

However, when The King’s Man is in its comfort zone — video game style camera work, dry wit, and choreographed fight sequences — it thrives. There are great callback to the previous films that fans will enjoy, however, the most enjoyable aspect is it’s ensemble of new characters.

Ralph Finnes commands the screen with power and grace. And guys, he establishes himself as a damn action star in a bespoke suit. Another strong and rather quirky performance is Rhys Ifans’s Rasputin. He totally won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s the Russian dancing fight style that did it for me.

Although the mid-credit scene alludes to more prequels, I hope Kingsman and Vaughn stick to more contemporary espionage storytelling.

Final Thoughts: It certainly isn’t as strong as the one that started it all but despite its entertainment factor, The King’s Man is a bit of a tonal mess.

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