Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Review: “The King’s Man” Cannot Find the Right Tone | AP News

Watching Ralph Fiennes starring in an action movie at this stage in his career is a pleasure.

As funny as he is, as erudite Bon vivants, villains and snobs, you always leave wanting more Monsieur Gustav, more Lawrence Lorenz, more Harry Hawkes. In this spirit, “The King’s ManThe prequel to Matthew Vaughan’s irreverent TV series Kingsman does a service, and Fiennes is more charming than ever. But it’s also hard not to wish he had a better film than this to showcase both his exceptional charisma and fighting skills.

The King’s Man, which takes us back to World War I and the early days of a bespoke spy agency, is an enhancement to the latest Kingsman movie, in which, among other things, Julianne Moore was feeding someone a hamburger made from human flesh. that she chopped and grilled herself. This one is clearly weirder than that, but this is still a Kingsman movie – insane, cocky and vulgar – and it has no intention of selling anyone who hasn’t been on board yet. The King’s Man also has an uneasy tension of real historical context that the film wants to use for both heartfelt emotional beats and nourishment for irreverence.

Basically, it’s the origin story of a fictional spy agency that blames World War I and 20 million deaths on an embittered Scottish cashmere farmer. But this mysterious man, who is only seen in the shadows until the big disclosure at the end, plays the more evil and sadistic, but no less ridiculous Fat Bastard. And he can manipulate world leaders (Tom Hollander plays King George, Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas) with his turf of influence, which includes Rasputin (Rhys Ifans), Eric Jan Hanussen (Daniel Brühl), Mata Hari (Valerie Pachner) and Gavrilo. Principle (Joel Basman).

Fiennes, who is also an executive producer, plays the Duke of Oxford, whom we envision when his wife is shot in front of him and his young son during the Boer War. He returns to England on one mission: to protect his son Konrad.

Several years have passed, and Konrad has turned into a dashing and patriotic guy, played with adorable dignity by Harris Dickinson, who wants nothing but to join the army. Fearing the front line, Duke tries to convince Konrad to join his small spy group, consisting of himself and two servants, Polly (Gemma Arterton) and Shola (Djimon Hounsou), and manipulate world politics behind the scenes. After nearly averting the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, their first adventure of the four includes a trip to Russia to either sell Rasputin when entering the war or kill him.

The entire sequence is stunningly twisted as they try to seduce Rasputin, whom Ifans plays like a crazy cartoon rock star, with Konrad and a poisoned pastry, which he immediately casts out with grotesque theatricality. In true Kingsman fashion, this also includes Fiennes taking off his pants, licking his upper thigh, and dancing Rasputin during the fight set for the 1812 Overture. Subtlety is not in their vocabulary, so some lashing is to be expected as the film suddenly turns into a war drama and then reverts back to absurdity.

At some point, it becomes clear that The King’s Man is not only a tonal mess, but a movie set with even more lovable actors that will make you feel even more controversial.

But you have to admire the modern franchise where custom tailoring is the guiding principle. If only the films of “The King” did not enjoy such youthful humor in the same respect.

The King’s Man, released by a 20th century studio in theaters on Wednesday, received an R rating from the American Film Association for “some sexual material, language, and brutal / gory violence.” The duration of the performance is 131 minutes. Two stars out of four.


MPAA Definition R: Restricted. Under 17 years old, an accompanying parent or adult guardian is required.


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