Andrea’s film review – The King’s Man

The King’s Man ⭐️Review by Andrea Carnevali

In the early years of the 20th century, the Kingsman agency is formed to stand against a cabal plotting a war to wipe out millions. On at Chiswick Cinema,

This is the third instalment in the Kingsman film series based on the comic book The Secret Service. It is in fact a prequel to the previous two, aiming to reveal the origins of the secret British agency, discreetly based in a tailor’s shop.

I was pretty close to skipping this one. The review, I mean. After all I don’t find any pleasure in rubbishing films. I’ve been at the other end of the stick myself many times: I know how much work, time and sweat goes into making a film.

But I’m also an avid moviegoer and really passionate about film and I know too well about that crashing feeling of disappointment after watching something that’s just not very good.

So hopefully my little review can spare people from having to endure this atrocious film and waste their precious time and money.

Prequels are always pretty hard to pull off, whether we’re talking about Star Wars or Alien, Hannibal and so on… In fact I can only think of Godfather Part II as a prequel which exceeded expectations. But leaving that aside and commending at least the attempt to try to do something a bit different,  I really am struggling to work out what sort of audience this film is actually aiming at.

Clearly not fans of the originals, since being set 80 years before and featuring none of the regular characters, it bears no resemblance in mood, tone and settings to the previous instalment (which leads me to think that it probably started off as a different film altogether and was then turned into a Kingsman movie).

It will surely not please the typical blockbuster crowd with short attention span, craving for some bombastic pop-corn fun. In fact it takes about 40 minutes before a decent action scene takes place – a ludicrous duel, weirdly set to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

It’s not for kids, there’s way too much gratuitous swearing, and definitely not for a more ‘mature’ audience, despite the failed attempts to make waves as a historical war thriller.

The film is just an uneven, incoherent, pastiche. A mixture of styles, ideas and tones, none of which gels particularly well with one another: silly cartoonish one moment, hyperviolent the next, (alas all played too straight face unlike its predecessors, which at least never took themselves too seriously), and randomly overly dramatic a second later, trying to give the film some emotional resonance.

Trouble is, it’s hard to care for anything or anyone here, especially after the most misjudged (and way too long) first half.

If you can be bothered to last until the last act, it does get marginally better, but by that time I was already so bored that I couldn’t wait for it to finish.

There are some nicely choreographed moments here and there, but clearly not enough to hold my attention in what is a confused and confusing film with ham-fisted dialogue and convoluted plots, trying to warp real events and historical figures with fictional comedy.

Unfortunately most of the actors seem unaware that this should be played for fun and so Ralph Fiennes is left pretty much alone to do the heavy lifting and get the film to the finish line.

Meanwhile Tom Hollander plays three roles for no apparent reason (King George of England, the Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nichola from Russia) by switching slightly different moustaches, adding a clichéd accent for each of them, thus basically making a fool of himself three times over.

And just when you think it’s over, a final affront when the mid-credit sequence sets the stage for a possible sequel, which most likely I won’t be watching.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

The King’s Man is on in cinemas now, including Chiswick Cinema.

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See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Aladdin at the Lyric, Hammersmith – Review

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