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The third instalment of Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman franchise The Kings Man offers us an insight into the creation of the secret service. Does it hit the mark? Or is it a fatal miss?

Written by Niamh Brook

The King’s Man follows Orlando Oxford his son Conrad and his two servants Shola and Polly. After the tragic death of his wife, Orlando takes a vow of pacifism but this all changes after the start of the first world war.

The King’s Man attempts to emulate the winning formula of the stylish first outing of the franchise but struggles to do so under the weight of the new characters and historic setting. Don’t get me wrong, the film is good fun, but compared to its predecessors, feels flat and unnecessary. The plot feels both too large and too weak, feeling as though it was jolting us through the narrative.

Oxford’s servants Polly and Shola are framed within the narrative as founding members of the Kingsman, however, both characters are continually neglected and underused. The Kingsman film’s in the past have lacked diversity and to have a woman and a black man in key roles is a large step forward for the franchise. However, the way the characters are used alludes more to their addition being merely to tick a box than to developing interesting characters.

Though the film won’t make it to my re-watch list anytime soon, it must be said that Ralph Fiennes shines as Oxford, clearly having an absolute blast playing around in Vaughn’s world and that energy can be found in every second he appears on the screen. Overall, The King’s Man has found itself to be a stereotypical prequel: disappointing.


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