Matthew Vaughn directs Ralph Fiennes, Harris Dickinson and Gemma Arterton in this spy adventure prequel following the establishment of The Kingsman secret organisation over the course of World War One.
This should be a romp through alternative history but it stops and starts, sputters then leaps. It is certainly straining for emotional high points and tasteful reverence to the tragedy of The Great War but these lurches seem out of place among the zanier stuff we bought our tickets for. At its best when it appears to be teenaged Vaughn translating his “the long and short term causes of WWI” homework into a comic strip. There are three grand action set pieces: a trouser-less, whirling ballet duel with Rasputin; a knife fight in No Man’s Land; and the cliff hanging finale. But at over two hours, three throbs of action just don’t cut it. Good cast, nice idea, wobbly execution.
Perfect Double Bill: X-Men: First Class (2011)
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