#REVIEW: “THE KING’S MAN”
Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
As the war continues in the early 1900s, Pacifist Orlando Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) tries to keep his determined son Conrad (Harris Dickinson) from joining. Unknown to Conrad, Oxford is working with a secret club. This club has knowledge about a group of criminal masterminds who plan to destroy humanity. Oxford brings Conrad into his club and the group sets out to stop the tyrants.
Writer-Director Matthew Vaughn has made a prequel that does justice to his franchise. The King’s Man feels different from the original films due to Vaughn’s lead being the Duke of Oxford and the storyline revolving around the war. This creates a different tone than the originals. Fiennes gives a formidable performance balancing Oxford’s pacifist nature and desire to save the world. Oxford gives Fiennes a memorable suave action hero.
The Film may feel different but all the things that made the Franchise unique are still intact. Such as Vaughn’s distinctive humour and the action that he expertly captures. Each Actor has their standout moment in these scenes. One fighting sequence involving criminal mastermind Rasputin (Rhys Ifans) is a standout. Ifans gives an outstanding comedic performance. Joining Ifans in this enticing swordfight are Fiennes, Dickinson and Djimon Hounsou, who plays secret club member Shola. Hounsou is brilliant throughout both in action and his comedic moments.
Additionally, The King’s Man has a female character who is a part of the action. Gemma Arterton is superb as the determined and witty Polly, a member of the secret club. She’s a great addition to the Franchise and is based on women of the time who worked behind the scenes, unnoticed. Importantly, Polly is a part of the action as a precise shooter. In the climactic scene, she’s the one that makes it possible for Oxford to succeed.
The heartbeat of the Film is between the father-son relationship. Fiennes and Dickinson have a strong bond that aids the emotion of the Script. After losing his wife, Conrad is the only thing that Oxford has left. Fiennes is impactful showing the lifeline that Conrad is to Oxford. Conrad is a Loyalist who feels it’s his duty to fight for his country. Dickinson is great at showing Conrad’s patriotism and his need to be understood by his father.
With The King’s Man, Vaughn has gifted fans with a Prequel that builds something different out of his Franchise but keeps what they enjoy intact.
20th Century Studios Canada release THE KING’S MAN on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.
*Please exercise caution observing COVID-19 protocols if seeing this in-theatre*