I think Mathew Vaughn is truly an incredible director. His pacing and style is so unique and refreshing when compared to other blockbusters. If you don’t know his other work Mathew has directed Kick Ass, X Men First Class, The Kingsman movies and most importantly, StarDust (If you haven’t seen this film do yourself a favour). Not to mention, his production achievements of Lock Stock, Eddie the Eagle and Rocketman. You could say my expectations were high going into this. Apart from the second Kingsman, I have loved all his films. But before I start, I am not just going to shit on this film – I hate reviews that do that. Plus, I have never made a film and know fuck all about it. Plus plus, I didn’t hate it at all, I just feel like there was just something missing. So therefore, I am going to do a multilayered insult sandwich.
This movie takes way to long to get going. The first 30-40 minutes feel so weird and slow paced. Its like when a teacher or instructor spends 20 minutes explaining a game when all you want to do is fucking start the game. I was watching it thinking, when is this going to get moving, and honestly it didn’t really. The pacing stays in this kind of slow and drawn-out process. When the movie finished, I sat there thinking, why is the first 1/3 not just cut.
The whole film is spread out over the entirety of WW1. A very odd choice. It makes the audience feel like the movie has no direction. Instead of focusing on a specific aspect, it tries to squish 4 years into 2 hours.
The action scenes in this movie are genuinely amazing. Like with all of Vaughn’s work, they have this unique dance to them. You can feel the choreography but it’s still so enthralling to watch. There are three in particular that really stand out to me.
- The fight against Rasputin
- Silent War Battle
- Final Battle
But the problem is, there is not enough. In a 2 hour an 10 minute action film there is barely any action. When its there, its amazing but…
I think my biggest issue with this film is what its going for. I have a theory that Vaughn wanted to make this a serious war drama. To me, that’s just stupid. What works about the first two Kingsman is how over the top and bat shit crazy they are. The gore, the action, the writing. All of it shows this exaggerated version of James Bond. It essentially works because audiences are sick of the same old James Bond. I get that he wants to try something new but don’t do it with a franchise people already have expectations for.
The performances in this film are very good. Ralph (Rafe) Fiennes is exceptional, as usual. In particular, the moments of real drama when he loses loved ones shows how good of an actor he really is. He always does this really unique and weird yelling with his voice that I really love. (Think of Avadacadabra in Harry Potter).
I think the George Mckay look alike (known as Harris Dickinson) is good as well. It felt believable when he was showing the pure fear of being in battle. Also, the young ignorance and naivety of a teenage boy was spot on.
Rhys Ifans as Rasputin stole the show. I know it was over the top but I like when actors just go for it. Its engaging when they don’t hold back and give their interpretation and perspective of the character. He had this perfect mix of both menace and stupidity – a precise summary of Rasputin.
Everyone else was good. #moredjimonhounsou
On the other side of this, is SOME of the writing. There is a huge focus on the dynamic between the father and son. Desperately wanting to go to the war, the Duke repeatedly denies Conrad in fear of him dying. Its smart and interesting but it happens like 5 times. It felt I was watching the same scene on repeat. Conrad says he is joining the war, the duke says no and gives him a lecture then Conrad comes to an understanding. It’s just repetitive and becomes monotonous.
When Conrad was shot, I was sitting there like what the fuck. It completely got off me off guard – something that is getting harder to do in films. A shocking death in a movies is very hard to do as audiences constantly see it coming. However, this one was out of nowhere and completely heartbreaking. He wasn’t even killed by enemy which adds this sense of regret of wasted life to the audience.
It also served a purpose. Without the death of his son, it would not make sense why the Duke would start up the Kingsmen. Good writing.
The Final Con
There is something included at the end of this film that blew my mind – in the worst possible way. When the Duke meets the big villain at the end, there is a very interesting and extremely obvious plot twist. The villain is the creepy evil dude in the background. SURPRISE SURPRISE. I don’t understand why Vaugh did this. It doesn’t add anything, it is not surprising, it literally has no effect whatsoever on the film. It feels exactly like a Scooby Doo reveal at the end of an episode. Glaringly obvious and equally pointless.