Through two of Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman movies we’ve seen the titular espionage agency overcome some crazy world-threatening obstacles, using fancy gadgets and weapons that like something out of a comic book. But everything we’ve seen from the upcoming prequel, The King’s Man, has been very different. Looking more like a straight-up war movie with a totally new cast, it promises to be a radical shift for the franchise that explores how the group came into existence.
The latest trailer picks up where the last one left off, but I think we’re starting to see some of the over-the-top aspects come into focus. Ralph Fiennes stars as the Duke of Oxford, a war veteran and secret agent, with Harris Dickinson as Conrad, a young man he introduces into the organization just as Harry Hart would do for Eggsy in contemporary times. Set circa WWI, we see the Duke and Conrad, along with characters played by Djimon Hounsou and Gemma Arterton, taking on a collection of history’s worst tyrants who are plotting a war to wipe out millions.
From the massive cannon battles to the stylish hand-to-hand combat, the rock video atmospherics, and Rhys Ifans’ undoubtedly colorful performance as Rasputin (?), this may not be the serious war movie it had looked like up to this point.
It’s going to be very interesting to see how fans react to this movie. Breaking into an established, very popular franchise with a historical prequel is a risky gamble, that’s for sure. Also starring Daniel Bruhl, Tom Hollander, Matthew Goode, and Charles Dance, The King’s Man opens February 14th 2020.