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Archive for December 15th, 2021

Matthew Vaughn is back with the third instalment of the Kingsman franchise.

Already a pacifist, Orlando The Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) experiences an unfortunate event, AKA a fridging.  He vows to protect his son Conrad (Harris Dickinson) from the dangers of war.  When a plot that will lead to war is revealed he decides to break his vow to try and prevent it.  This takes him to Russia and an encounter with Grigori Rasputin. 

To its credit the film chooses not to repeat the fish out of water story of the first film, the downside to this is that it misses the fun of Eggsy (Taron Egerton).  What we get instead is Forest Gump type story where Fiennes and friends are weaved into real life historical events and characters.  All this results from strings being pulled by shady character who is a white cat away from being Ernst Stavro Blofeld.  If you don’t work out who he is within five minutes you really aren’t watching.   

With Taron Egerton’s star on the rise and his calendar looking increasingly full, it makes sense for Vaughn to resort to a prequel.  The casting is excellent particularly Oxfords staff Polly (Gemma Arterton) and Shola (Djimon Hounsou).  Rhys Ifans as Grigori Rasputin, and Tom Hollander (in a roll I won’t spoil) get to have the most fun.  As good as Arterton is, she is saddled with a horribly clichéd accent, and is grossly under used.  This isn’t any great surprise as Vaughn has never been great with female characters.  The first two movies are very much a double act between Colin Firth and Taron Egerton, this movie however is very much Fiennes’ movie.  Dickinson lacks the charisma of Egerton, but his character is also far less developed.  Fiennes is very good, this isn’t any great surprise, a mid/late 90’s Fiennes (Stange Days, The English Patient) would have made a great Bond.  The disaster that was The Avengers (1998) put pay to that! 

There are some excellent set pieces and action scenes, but the story does drag between them.  Like a lot of other recent franchise movies  (Bond, Marvel, DC, Fast and Furious) the film suffers from being too and having a story that tries to include too much plot.   I wouldn’t go as far as to say it is throwing shit at a wall filmmaking, but it does often fell like every idea they had made the final cut. 

Lacking the fun and originality of the first film, but much better than The Golden Circle that was something of a mess.  The two real issues, that bring the film down most is that it feels a little hollow, and the comedy doesn’t hit as much as in the first two films.  It could have got away with one of these things but probably not both.   

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