I was all set to write a scathing review of this, the third in the “King’s Men” franchise.
This episode is a prequel, a generation prior to the other films.
Then, I discovered that it was torn from the pages of a comic book. The comic was published by a sub-publishing company of the Marvel Comics world, the entity that seems to have given us most of the movie fare we have these days.
So, I will dispense with a rant about totally unbelievable historical cross weaving in the film. It comes from a comic, so anything can happen, right?
More evaluation in a couple of paragraphs.
Director Mathew Vaughn also directed the other “King’s Men” films, so we should expect a good result here.
He also directed “X-Men: First Class.” He has the skills needed to make a pleasing film.
His cast includes the great Ralph Fiennes. Fiennes has two Oscar nominations and close to 100 roles.
Fiennes has played in Bond films, done Shakespeare and even voiced video games.
He is a stellar and reliable actor. Has Charles Dance (“Game of Thrones”) as a fellow player and also Djimon Hounsou, a popular, active and distinctive actor.
That said, the film does not satisfy.
Long stretches of the movie just plod along, meandering pointlessly.
Writer Jane Goldman had a hand in the first two films in the series.
I think it might have been her that added the charming bits that made the films successful.
We had the new agent (played by Taron Egerton), a young man new to the spy business. He was often awkward, which makes us sympathetic to him.
The films had plenty of quips and funny asides like the Bond films or the “Terminator” films.
In this version, they sucked all of that out and replaced it with schmaltzy heroics and gore.
That is not a good path to turn to after the franchise style has been set. The new co-writer (with Vaughn) is Karl Gajdusek. He has done good work in action films with a harder edge than “The King’s Men” movies have had up till now.
To recap, they left out the jokes this time, the script can only be allowed because it came from a comic book source-much less a script that has logic, or coherence.
We can give the movie only 2½ sawblades and that only because Fiennes is always good to watch.
This film runs for 2 hours 10 minutes and carries a strong R rating for language and violence. The public seems to like it a little better than this critic.
Watch for Stanley Tucci in a tiny role. See if you can recognize him.