THE KING’S MAN [2021] – Cult horror movies

The King’s Man (2021)
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Written by: David Gibbons, Karl Gajdusek, Mark Millar, Matthew Vaughn
With: Gemma Arterton, Matthew Goode, Ralph Fiennes, Rhys Ifans

United Kingdom / United States


OPERATING TIME: 130 minutes


In 1902, Orlando, the Duke of Oxford, lost his wife Emily while working for the Red Cross in South Africa during the Boer War, forcing the sworn pacifist to swear his son Conrad would never fight in a war. Twelve years later, Orlando is at the head of a spy ring dedicated to the protection of the United Kingdom and the British Empire against the approach of the Great War, but can only witness with horror the assassination of his friend, Archduke Ferdinand. Joined by Polly and Shola, Orlando assumes command of a secret spy ring in domestic service roles, but the mysterious Shepherd seeks to disrupt the world order, sending a team including Grigori Rasputin, Mata Hari and Erik Jan Hanussen wreak havoc. Maybe Orlando’s son may have to join the fight after all….

2014 Kingsman: Secret Service and 2017 Kingsman: the golden circle had been a pretty cool franchise so far, although the latter was a bit bloated and perhaps went a bit too far with the awkwardness; but what about the James Bond series exuding self-importance and coming rather heavy and serious, a spy franchise that allows itself a bit of awkwardness and primarily cares about having fun? [despite its violence far exceeding any 007 film, and by the way where’s the ’18’ rated version of the first one, we’re still waiting] must be cherished. That said, this third installment contains less humor; there are of course, but not that many, and I guess that was the right decision writers Matthew Vaughn and Karl Gajdusek made as they also make us spend a considerable amount of time in the trenches of the Premiere. World War. prequel set about a century earlier, Vaughn and Gajdusek are nothing but ambitious, challenging the viewer to put up with many changes of tone and even style in an epic tale that mixes revisionist history with real-life story , which deals as much with politics maneuvering at the highest level as it does with grief at the personal level, but paradoxically presents action scenes that are generally on a smaller scale than the sometimes genuinely global things we’ve seen in both. first films. They certainly took risks with this one, far more than they did in the second movie, and the result could have been a sad mess, but somehow they got it right. , resulting in a much more rewarding exercise than some of the big action blockbusters that came out this year.

So we start with a pan over a western landscape and a train moving in the distance, only for the text to inform us that we are in fact in South Africa. The Duke of Oxford, Orlando, his wife Emily and their young son Conrad visit an aid camp during the Boer War. Orlando works for the Red Cross, what we will find out later is due to guilt for participating in British colonialism and for slaughtering people who were only defending their country. Well, it’s 2021, so we just need to include anti-colonial messages in it; luckily, it’s only reduced to one scene. I don’t really disagree with the sentiment, but regular readers will know my hatred of having the same themes down their throats of production after production. Anyway, more to the point, what are the woman and the kid doing there anyway? Surely it is a little dangerous? Emily is killed in a Boer sniper attack on the camp, which prompted Orlando to insist that Conrad never enlist and even go to good old Herbert Kitchener, the leader of the British war effort and the first of a number of real-life stories. characters who will present themselves. Twelve years later, things are heating up with Europe as the epicenter. The man who organizes it all lives in a fort on top of a mountain, barking orders with a Scottish accent to his subordinates that he will kill on a whim if he chooses. So one of those baddies that makes you wonder why someone is working. We don’t see her face, so we know we’ll have a [hopefully] shocking reveal much later. He tries to pit the German, Russian, and British Empires against each other, and has a particular beef with the English who frequently harassed Scotland. Actually, it’s not entirely clear here, but it’s pretty common if you want to take over the world and also crazy, so let’s not get bored with details like that.

Fortunately, Orlando trains his spy ring. “British Intelligence is listening through keyholes, we are going inside”. His two main recruits are nanny Polly and housekeeper Shola. I guess it makes sense that Orlando, because of his beliefs, has such a high-ranking African servant, but Polly’s opening scene where she rudely responds to her boss doesn’t ring true; yet another example of modern attitudes placed in a period room. Conrad and Orlando ride with Archduke Franz Ferdinand in a parade through Sarajevo, Bosnia, and it’s Conrad who saves the Archduke from a bomb thrown by one of the Shepherd’s assassins. Later, however, the same guy succeeds in killing Ferdinand and his wife. A quick response is needed, and the first big mission is in Moscow where we get the best section of the film. Tsar Nicholas is manipulated by the “mad” monk Rasputin, who poisons his little boy and says he will cure him when Nicholas promises to quit the war. It’s always fun when Russia’s greatest love machine is on screen, and we’ve had some great performances, if not the final version of its story yet. Rhys Ifans is formidable in the role, almost matching Tom Baker and Christopher Lee, absolutely exuding the mystery, authority, and charisma that brought this debauched man of god to such high status. This series’ suspense and quirky sexual humor unfolds as Conrad is supposed to seduce Rasputin into agreeing to a date with a poisoned cake, but Rasputin prefers his father, which leads him to furiously lick the wound. to Orlando’s leg, sending the Duke into ecstasy. The battle takes over, with Rasputin a super-skilled martial arts expert in an excellently choreographed brawl. What’s odd about all of this is that it’s hardly crazier than the legend of Rasputin’s death. He was covered in cakes, wine and tea, all poisoned, beaten and shot, but he actually died by drowning. Well, that’s the legend; the accounts differ, but the main thing is still – Rasputin was a tough mutha.

The Shepherd responds by recruiting Vladimir Lenin so that he and his Bolsheviks can overthrow the Tsar and thus bring Russia out of the war, and our quartet must travel elsewhere to prevent the evil from happening. Well, actually a trio – Conrad decides to disobey his father’s orders and joins the men at the front. It’s hard to be shocked these days by “war is hell” stuff because we’ve seen so much of it, but Vaughn gives it a good shot, setting the scene with an awesome transition where the French campaign becomes No Man’s Land before focusing on Conrad who has in fact changed places with another soldier. An accidental shootout sends Conrad on a nearly suicidal mission, and we are given everything; appalling chaos, insane heroism, lucky flares, vicious close quarters fights that are more impactful than any chaos Vaughn has shown us before in the series – and humorless, either. Some may think this is all from a different movie, but I think Vaughn and Gajdusek are trying to get us to think about violence on the screen and whether it should be “fun” as he usually likes to show elsewhere. While the use of unexpected deaths of sympathetic characters is clearly a hallmark of this series and most commendable, Vaughn seems to be maturing well with this film and doesn’t seem to have a hard time holding back. Despite the enormous scale of its plot, it is relaxed enough to give us a relatively low-key climax influenced by that of Just for your eyes, but of course with Well rear projection [something the Bonds curiously never really licked until comparatively recently] which allows us to really wriggle in front of horribly dizzying planes and a plane out of control. Unfortunately, while much of the CGI is just average, a feature of this series, but not only this series; I couldn’t believe how inferior some digital elements were Spiderman: No way home.

Yes, the actual story is often edited into half-truths so that it fits into the narrative of the film, but it’s reasonably well thought out. Of course, we know that, for example, King George V probably didn’t change his Teutonic surname, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, to Windsor, in reaction to anti-German sentiment, but it works in the context of the movie. And perhaps to suggest that Wilfred Owen’s famous poem ‘Dulce and Decorum Est’ was written by Conrad without saying how it got into Owen’s hands is rather lazy. Still, Tom Hollander, developing a gift for the comedic timing he’s once shown as that slinger on the web, gives a hilarious three-way performance, as cousins ​​Tsar Nicholas, Kaiser Wilhelm and George V. After Rasputin bit the bullet, we are still on the left with Mata Hari and Eric Jan Hanussen who advise and manipulate. Mata is in fact not present enough; you would think Vaughan and Gadjusek would have imagined some outrageous sex shenanigans she was involved in. This means that Valerie Pachner does not really have the opportunity to be heard. However, Daniel Bruhl has plenty of time to exude evil as Hanussen, a fascinating historical figure who isn’t known as well as he should be. He was an Austrian Jewish charlatan [or maybe not] in many fields such as astrology and hypnosis which had a major influence both during Weimer’s Germany and the early days of Nazi Germany which perhaps made Adolph Hitler the great orator that he has become.

Djimon Hounsou as Shola has plenty to do for once, but it’s really 60-year-old Ralph Fiennes who holds it all together, flaunting the suave style he’s shown before, perhaps starting with the non-marvel The Avengers [whatever you think of it, and I actually like it, you must admit that Fiennes is good in that role], but also have plenty of opportunities to show just how damn a good actor he is, showing emotions with limited power. There hasn’t been a role as good as this in a while for him. Matthew Margeson and Dominic Lewis’s musical score is more diverse than the scores of the two previous films [which weren’t quite good enough for what they were supporting]While also noteworthy is Michele Clapton’s costume design, which slightly stylizes familiar outfits of the era to match the overall aesthetic while scaling back the elegant Kingsman outfits according to the era. I really appreciated The king’s man [lazy title though], although I suspect that some viewers will be surprised by the gravity of this situation. It seems to have underperformed slightly at the box office, which is a real shame. We need franchises like this that are able to take such risks in only their third installment while resisting the urge to moderate things for a family friendly rating.

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