The King's Man
|The King's Man|
|Directed by||Matthew Vaughn|
|Story by||Matthew Vaughn|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
|Box office||$92.5 million|
The King's Man is a 2021 spy action comedy film directed by Matthew Vaughn from a screenplay by Vaughn and Karl Gajdusek and a story by Vaughn. The third installment in the Kingsman film series, which is based on the comic book The Secret Service by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, the film serves as a prequel to 2014's Kingsman: The Secret Service and 2017's Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
The film features an ensemble cast that includes Ralph Fiennes (who also serves as one of the film's executive producers), Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Harris Dickinson, Daniel Brühl, Djimon Hounsou, and Charles Dance, and focuses on several events during World War I and the birth of the Kingsman organization.
The King's Man was released on 22 December 2021 in the United States, and on 26 December 2021 in the United Kingdom by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (through 20th Century Studios label), delayed several times from an original November 2019 release date, partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film received mixed reviews from critics, grossing over $92 million.
In 1902, British aristocrat Orlando, Duke of Oxford, his wife Emily, and their young son Conrad visit a concentration camp in South Africa during the Boer War while working for the Red Cross. Emily is killed during a Boer sniper attack on the camp, causing pacifistic Orlando to determine that the world needs someone to head off such conflicts before they occur.
Twelve years later, Orlando has recruited two of his servants, Shola and Polly, into his spy network dedicated to protecting the United Kingdom and the British Empire from the approaching Great War. Conrad, eager to fight, is forbidden to join up by the protective Orlando, who persuades Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, not to let him join the army.
At the behest of Kitchener, Conrad and Orlando ride with Orlando's friend Archduke Franz Ferdinand through Sarajevo, and Conrad saves the Archduke from a bomb thrown by Gavrilo Princip, a rebel intent on sparking a war. Later, however, Princip happens to run into the Archduke's entourage again, this time succeeding in fatally shooting Ferdinand and his wife Sophia. Orlando's group, relying on information from other dignitaries' socially invisible servants, learn that Princip was part of a plot to pit the German, Russian, and British empires against each other. The group, headed by the mysterious Shepherd from a secret mountain-top headquarters, have their own network of agents, including the Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin, a trusted adviser to Tsar Nicholas of Russia.
Rasputin, on the orders of the Shepherd, manipulates Tsar Nicholas by poisoning his young son, and only curing him when Nicholas promises to leave the war. Conrad is notified of Rasputin's manipulation by his cousin Felix Yusupov. Knowing the Western Front will be left vulnerable if Russia leaves the war, Conrad delivers this information to Kitchener and his aide-de-camp Major Morton, who set sail for Russia. Their ship is torpedoed by a submarine and sunk. Word of Kitchener's death reaches Orlando, spurring him to head to Russia with Shola, Polly, and Conrad to deal with Rasputin once and for all. At a Christmas party hosted by Prince Yusupov, Orlando, Shola, Conrad, and Rasputin fight, the skirmish only ending when Polly shoots and kills Rasputin.
At the Shepherd's orders, Erik Jan Hanussen, an adviser to Kaiser Wilhelm II, sends the Zimmermann Telegram, hoping to distract Britain and the United States. Although the message is intercepted by British intelligence and given to the United States, President Woodrow Wilson refuses to join the war without concrete proof. The Shepherd recruits Vladimir Lenin and orders his Bolsheviks to overthrow the Tsar and remove Russia from the war, sending an assassin to kill the Romanovs.
Now of age, Conrad is commissioned into the Grenadier Guards against his father's wishes. Orlando meets with King George V, who summons Conrad back to Britain. Conrad sends back a young soldier named Lance Corporal Archie Reid in his place, giving him the codename "Lancelot" to send a message to his father. Disguised as Archie, a member of the Black Watch, Conrad volunteers for a mission into No-Man's Land to retrieve information from a British agent wounded there, but is mistaken for a German spy upon his return and executed at gunpoint. However, the information he retrieved from the spy is the proof President Wilson required to enter the war.
Orlando's group learn President Wilson is being blackmailed with a film of him being seduced by one of the Shepherd's agents, Mata Hari. Orlando locates her at the American embassy and after overpowering her recovers her cashmere scarf, made from rare wool only found in one specific mountainous region. Correctly identifying this location as the Shepherd's base of operations, Orlando, Shola, and Polly head there and fight their way inside. Morton, who had faked his own death and sunk the battleship, is revealed to be the Shepherd. Orlando and Shola fight and kill Morton while Polly recovers the original film negative of Wilson's seduction, allowing his country's forces to mobilise.
A year after the war, Orlando purchases the Kingsman Tailor Shop as a front for his organisation. Orlando, Shola, Polly, King George, Archie Reid, and a U.S. Ambassador form the original Kingsman, each assuming a codename from the King Arthur legend to honour Conrad. In a mid-credit scene, Hanussen is revealed to have taken on the Shepherd identity, and introduces Vladimir Lenin to the Romanovs' killer: a young Adolf Hitler.
- Ralph Fiennes as Orlando, Duke of Oxford / Arthur
- Gemma Arterton as Pollyanna "Polly" Wilkins / Galahad
- Rhys Ifans as Grigori Rasputin
- Matthew Goode as Captain Morton / The Shepherd
- Tom Hollander as King George / Percival, Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas. He appears in the closing credits as Tom Hollander³ to denote his multiple roles.
- Harris Dickinson as Conrad Oxford
- Alexander Shaw as young Conrad Oxford
- Daniel Brühl as Erik Jan Hanussen
- Djimon Hounsou as Shola / Merlin
- Charles Dance as Herbert Kitchener
- Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Archie Reid / Lancelot
- Alexandra Maria Lara as Emily, Duchess of Oxford
- Joel Basman as Gavrilo Princip
- Valerie Pachner as Mata Hari
- Olivier Richters as Huge Machinery Shack Guard (H.M.S.G.)
- Todd Boyce as Alfred DuPont
- Aaron Vodovoz as Prince Felix Yusupov
- Ron Cook as Archduke Franz Ferdinand
- Branka Katić as Empress Alexandra Feodorovna
- Alison Steadman as Rita
- Cassidy Little as British Spy
- August Diehl as Vladimir Lenin
- Ian Kelly as Woodrow Wilson
- Stanley Tucci as United States Ambassador / Bedivere
- David Kross as Adolf Hitler
In June 2018, Matthew Vaughn announced that a prequel film titled Kingsman: The Great Game was in active development, stating that the plot would take place during the early 1900s and would depict the formation of the spy agency and that the project would film back-to-back with "the third regular Kingsman film" which was scheduled to be released in 2021.
In September 2018, it was announced that Ralph Fiennes and Harris Dickinson would star in the prequel with the former also serving as one of the executive producers of the film. In November 2018, it was revealed that Daniel Brühl, Charles Dance, Rhys Ifans and Matthew Goode would co-star in the film.
In February 2019, it was reported that Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Gemma Arterton, Tom Hollander, Djimon Hounsou, Alison Steadman, Stanley Tucci, Robert Aramayo and Neil Jackson had joined the cast. In April 2019, it was announced Alexandra Maria Lara had joined the cast of the film. Later in May, Joel Basman joined the cast. That same month, as filming concluded, Vaughn denied reports that Liam Neeson had joined the cast. Vaughn also said The Great Game was a working title and the film would not have that name.
Principal photography began 22 January 2019 in the United Kingdom. In April 2019, some scenes were shot in Turin and Venaria Reale (Italy). The film's initial cinematographer Ben Davis had to depart the project during reshoots due to his commitments to Eternals.
The King's Man had its world premiere in London, United Kingdom on 7 December 2021, and was theatrically released on 22 December 2021, its eighth proposed release date and more than two years after it was originally due to come out.
It was originally scheduled to be released on 8 November 2019, but was pushed back first to 15 November 2019, then to 14 February 2020, and then to 18 September 2020. The release date was again pushed back by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures to 26 February 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the delay of Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Four films, The King's Man was moved up two weeks to 12 February 2021, before being moved again to 12 March 2021. In January 2021, the release date was delayed again to 20 August 2021. In March 2021, it was further delayed to the December 2021 date. The film will play in cinemas for 45 days before heading to digital platforms.
In the U.S. and Canada, The King's Man was released alongside Sing 2 and The Matrix Resurrections. It was originally projected to gross $15–20 million from 3,175 screens over its first five days of release. It went on to under-perform, grossing $5.9 million in its opening weekend and an estimated $10 million over the five days, finishing fifth at the box office, with contributing factors such as the reluctance to go to theaters during the pandemic, the rise of the Omicron variant of COVID and being released during the second weekend of Spider-Man: No Way Home. Men made up 65% of the audience during its opening, with those in the age range of 18–34 comprising 54% of ticket sales and those above 35 comprising 40%. The film earned $4.6 million in its second weekend, and $3.2 million in its third.
Outside the U.S. and Canada, the film earned $6.9 million in its opening weekend, including $3.5 million in South Korea, $2.1 million in Japan, and $600,000 in Indonesia. In its second weekend, the film made $14.1 million from 22 markets. In Taiwan, the film opened with $2.8 million, making it the fourth-best opening of 2021 in the country. In its third weekend, the film earned $13.4 million, including $1.6 million from Germany, where it debuted in second place at the box office. As of January 9, 2022, the film's largest markets are Korea ($7.8 million), the U.K. ($7.3 million), Japan ($6.4 million), France ($4.1 million), and Taiwan ($3.9 million).
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 42% based on 163 reviews, with an average rating of 5.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Ralph Fiennes' solid central performance in The King's Man is done dirty by this tonally confused prequel's descent into action thriller tedium." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 44 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported 77% of audience members gave it a positive score, with 60% saying they would definitely recommend it.
Steve Pulaski of Influx Magazine gave the film a "C-" letter-grade, calling it "the most ungentlemanly Kingsman movie yet."
Matthew Vaughn stated that if a sequel were to be developed he would like to see the story about the first decade of the Kingsman agency with all characters that audience see at the end. According to the Hollywood Reporter, he said:
It’s more if the public demands it. So the second The King’s Man is nearly ready to go. Seeing Ralph [Fiennes] and Aaron [Taylor-Johnson] on a mission together with Polly (Gemma Arterton) and Shola (Djimon Hounsou)? I’m in! Those four together? Let’s go! I think it would be great.
- Marc, Christopher (16 January 2019). "'Captain Marvel/Layer Cake' Cinematographer Ben Davis Confirmed For Matthew Vaughn's 'Kingsman: The Great Game'". HN Entertainment. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- Travis, Ben; Hewitt, Chris (8 June 2018). "Kick-Ass Reboot and Kingsman Universe Coming from Matthew Vaughn's New Studio". Empire. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- Gleiberman, Owen (14 December 2021). "'The King's Man' Review: Ralph Fiennes in a Serviceable Sequel". Variety. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
- "The King's Man (15)". British Board of Film Classification. Archived from the original on 27 December 2021. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
- "The King's Man (2021)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
- "The King's Man (2021)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
- Reyes, Mike (26 August 2021). "The King's Man Red Band Trailer Has Gadgets, Violence, And A Decapitation". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
- Murphy, Charles (9 August 2018). "EXCLUSIVE: Details on 'KINGSMAN 3'". That Hashtag Show. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- Marc, Christopher (28 September 2018). "WWI Era Prequel Movie 'Kingsman: The Great Game' Will Reportedly Star Ralph Fiennes and Harris Dickinson - GWW". thegww.com. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- Sneider, Jeffrey (29 November 2018). "Exclusive: 'Game of Thrones' Star Joins 'Kingsman' Prequel; Rhys Ifans in Talks". Collider. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- Sneider, Jeffrey (7 February 2019). "'Kingsman' Prequel: Matthew Vaughn Recruits 'Kick-Ass' Star Aaron Taylor-Johnson". Collider. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
- Wiseman, Andreas (8 February 2019). "'Kingsman' Prequel: Harris Dickinson, Gemma Arterton, Ralph Fiennes, Aaron Taylor-Johnson Among Confirmed Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
- Boucher, Geoff (22 February 2019). "'Stargirl' Final Four: Amy Smart, Three Others Round Out DC Series Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
- Marc, Christopher (29 April 2019). "EXCLUSIVE: 'Rush/Control' Actress Alexandra Maria Lara Joins The Cast of Matthew Vaughn's 'Kingsman: The Great Game'". HN Entertainment. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- Marc, Christopher (1 May 2019). "EXCLUSIVE: 'Hanna/Papillon' Actor Joel Basman Is Another Addition To The Cast of Matthew Vaughn's 'Kingsman: The Great Game'". HN Entertainment. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
- Haring, Bruce (26 May 2019). "'Kingsman 3' Will Wrap The Eggsy/Harry Relationship, Says Director Matthew Vaughn". HN Entertainment. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
- Schiller, Griffin (30 May 2019). "Kingsman: Matthew Vaughn Denies Liam Neeson's Involvement; Next Film Won't Be Called The Great Game [Exclusive]". The Playlist. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
- Marc, Christopher (31 May 2019). "Matthew Vaughn Says Kingsman 3 Aiming For 2021 Release Date and There Could Be Two More Movies Coming – Debunks Report That Liam Neeson Is In Kingsman: The Great Game". HN Entertainment. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
- "Kingsman prequel begins filming". The Knowledge Online. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
- "Al via a Torino le riprese del film che racconta le "origini" dei Kingsman". Film Commission Torino Piemonte. 24 April 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
- Marc, Christopher (3 February 2020). "Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman Prequel The King's Man Undergoes Reshoots". HN Entertainment. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
- ""The King's Man" World Premiere Takes Place In London | What's On Disney Plus". 7 December 2021.
- "Pixar's 'Luca' to Skip Theaters and Debut as Disney+ Exclusive". TheWrap. 23 March 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
- Kilkenny, Katie (22 September 2018). "'Kingsman 3' Lands Fall 2019 Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
- Jones, Marcus (19 June 2019). "The 'Kingsman' prequel is now known as 'The King's Man'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
- McClintock, Pamela (23 February 2019). "'Kingsman' Prequel Moves to Next February, Ryan Reynolds' 'Free Guy' Lands Summer 2020 Release". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (15 November 2019). "Disney Dates A Ton Of Pics Into 2023 & Juggles Fox Releases With Ridley Scott's 'The Last Duel' To Open Christmas 2020, 'The King's Man' Next Fall – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
- Rubin, Rebecca (27 August 2020). "'The King's Man' Theatrical Release Pushed Back to 2021". Variety. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
- "Disney Pushes 'Black Widow' Back to 2021". TheWrap. 23 September 2020. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (11 December 2020). "'Thor: Love & Thunder' & 'Black Panther 2′ Move Deeper Into 2022; Patty Jenkins' 'Star Wars' Pic Going 2023: Disney Updates Release Sked Post Investor Day". Deadline. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
- Rubin, Rebecca (22 January 2021). "'The King's Man,' 'Bob's Burgers' Among Latest Disney Film Delays". Variety. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
- Scott, Ryan (23 March 2021). "'Shang-Chi,' 'Free Guy,' 'The King's Man' and More Get New Release Dates at Disney". Movieweb. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- Vary, Adam B.; Saperstein, Pat (10 September 2021). "Disney Releasing 'Eternals,' 'Encanto' Exclusively in Theaters". Variety. Archived from the original on 10 September 2021. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (21 December 2021). "With Spider-Man Hoarding Christmas Box Office, Is There Room For Matrix, Sing 2 & King's Man?". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (26 December 2021). "Spider-Man: No Way Home Third-Best Christmas Ever With $31.7M US; Domestic At $467M+ & $1.05B WW – Sunday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
- "Domestic 2021 Weekend 52". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
- "Domestic 2021 Weekend 53". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 8 January 2022.
- "Domestic 2022 Weekend 1". Box Office Mojo. 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
- Tartaglione, Nancy (26 December 2021). "Spider-Man: No Way Home Dashes To $1B+ Global For Pandemic-Era First, Is Top 2021 Title WW – International Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
- Tartaglione, Nancy (2 January 2022). "Spider-Man: No Way Home Swings To $1.37B Global, Now 12th Biggest Film Ever WW – International Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
- Tartaglione, Nancy (9 January 2022). "Spider-Man: No Way Home Leaps To $1.53B WW For No. 8 On All-Time Global Chart – International Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
- "The King's Man". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
- "The King's Man Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
- Pulaski, Steve (22 December 2021). ""The King's Man" (2021) Review". Influx Magazine.
- "The Walt Disney Studios- For Your Consideration". Sneak Peek. 6 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.