The King’s man: First mission leaves us confused [critique]

Matthew Vaughn returns to the origins of the Kingsman franchise with a prequel set during World War I. Astonishing mixture.

The bubbling and punk spirit of Kingsman is it soluble in the darkness of the First World War? We will never really stop asking the question in front of The King’s Man: First Mission, prequel to the franchise that tells us about the origins of the spy agency. The story of a pacifist aristocrat, the Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes), who opposes in the shadows a plot organized by the greatest criminal geniuses. Semi-serious subject – we are still witnessing the assassination of François-Ferdinand and behind the scenes of the Great War, totally “vaughnized” – for a film which struggles to marry the universe Kingsman and a very first degree spy story. Matthew Vaughn tries to spare the goat and the cabbage, alternating jubilant fighting scenes and emotional sequences, much rarer in his cinema. But you have to go fast, move the case forward, show the creation of the Kingsman to close the loop, and these road exits are immediately defused in favor of situations and characters. bigger than life. It’s insanely funny at times when Rhys Ifans plays a disturbing leg-licking and sex-obsessed Rasputin, much less when the mysterious villain who holds the plot reveals his identity. We emerge from The King’s Man: First Mission not unhappy – the entertainment keeps its promises and the cast is fabulous – but a little confused, with the impression of having witnessed the merger of two films which refuse to dialogue between them.

Of Matthew Vaughn With Ralph Fiennes, Harris Dickinson, Gemma Arterton… Duration 2 h 11. Release on December 29, 2021

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