Jan 30, 2022

We Are Oxfords, Not Rogues

The King's Man
20th Century Studios (2021)
We saw the trailer for The King's Man before one of the other movies that we recently saw at the Regal (either Scream or Nightmare Alley - I can't remember which).  That trailer was my only exposure to this movie, so all I knew is that it was some sort of action/comedy flick, and that Rasputin and Lenin were two of the antagonists, so I went into this almost completely blind and with no expectations, which is one of my favorite ways to see a new movie in theaters.

Action comedies are a strange genre for me.  I almost always enjoy them when I see them, but the way they're promoted doesn't usually appeal to me, so it's rare that I go out of my way to see them.  Even now, when I look at the poster, I think "eh, I guess it could be ok".  There's nothing wrong with it.  In fact, it's a very nice poster, but it doesn't jump out at me as something that I need to see.  Truth be told, if I had seen the trailer more than once, I probably wouldn't have wanted to go see it.  Again, there's nothing wrong with the trailer, but the more often I see them, the less interested I am in actually seeing the movie.  As I write this, I'm reminded of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  It came out almost 20 years ago and I still haven't seen it despite the fact that I like Sean Connery.  The trailer was played heavily on television in the weeks leading up to it's premier, and by the time it was in theaters, I had zero interest in seeing it.  I'm not advocating against commercials and trailers because if people don't know anything about a movie, it's unlikely that they'll pay to go see it.  I'm just weird when it comes to repetition, I guess.

I don't see as many commercials since we got rid of cable, and my exposure to the previews at the theater have been limited since we started our Regal Unlimited subscription because we've learned to time our arrival to just a few minutes before showtime, so I'm more likely to give a movie like The King's Man a shot in 2022 than I would have been years ago.

There are quite a few things that I didn't realize about this film going into it.  First of all, I had no idea that it was part of a franchise.  On our way out of the theater, I talked with the manager and mentioned that I really enjoyed this movie, and only then did I learn that it was a prequel to the Kingsman movies.  I had a faint memory of hearing about something called Kingsman, but the previous movies in the series came out before the Regal Unlimited plan existed, so they flew completely under my radar.

Also, I didn't know that this movie is based on a Marvel Comics series until I started writing this post just a few minutes ago.  I'm just not a comic book guy.  I tried to be when I was a kid.  My Nana gave me a comic book collecting kit that she ordered out of the Sears Wishbook as a Christmas present when I was ten years old, but I always preferred things like Calvin & Hobbes, Peanuts and The Far Side to Batman and Spider Man.  It's not like I didn't read them at all.  I did, and I liked the characters and the stories, but truth be told, I like the advertisements almost as much, if not more than the superhero stories.

Finally, I didn't realize that this movie was supposed to be released before the start of the pandemic.  It was originally slated for release in November 2019.  It got pushed back to February 2020 for some reason.  Then, it kept getting kicked down the road as a result of Covid-19, with at least six different release dates in 2020 and 2021 that came and went without the film ever being screened.  It finally premiered in December 2021 with a 45 day window in which it would be exclusive to theaters before heading to Hulu and HBO Max next month.

So, now that it's finally in theaters and I managed to find my way to seeing it without any prior knowledge of its existence, I'm happy to report that it's a hell of a lot of fun.  It's one of those movies that has a little bit of everything.  It has fun action scenes without being a balls-to-the-wall streetfight from beginning to end.  It has funny moments without turning into a slapstick comedy.  It has moments of drama without trying too hard to provoke a reaction.  It ties together actual historical events with a fictitious hidden story which reminded be a little bit of Inglourious Basterds.  I don't mean that had the style or tone of a Tarantino flick, because it did not, but I left the theater wondering if it was an inspiration to the writers.

I couldn't tell you how it ranks against the other Kingsman films because I haven't seen them, and I don't know how accurate it is to the source material because I've never read the comics.  However, I can tell you that if you're going into this with absolutely no knowledge of the Kingsman universe, it won't hinder your enjoyment of what is a very entertaining movie.  It has definitely inspired me to go back and watch the movies that I missed, and if they make another, I will be sure to see it on the big screen.