Reviews For The King’s Man Are, Like the Film, All Over the Place

The King's Man promotional art.
20th Century Studios

Rhys Ifans is known for edgy characters in films from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to Notting Hill. His turn as Grigori Rasputin in The King’s Man may be his best turn yet, though.

“I only make decisions when my stomach is full or my balls are empty,” Ifans as Rasputin says to Ralph Fiennes as Orlando Oxford.

“Well thank god dinner is being served,” Oxford responds.

The first critical reviews for The King’s Man, the upcoming third edition in the Kingsman spy team franchise, are out now. To say that reviews are mixed would be an understatement. Some hated the film, some utterly loved it, and some were left perplexed. Let’s dig in and see if we can find some sort of truth for the upcoming film from 20th Century Studios.

The King’s Man explores the cheeky cabal’s world-saving origins as an agency formed to stand against a faction of tyrants and criminal masterminds who are plotting a war to wipe out millions in Europe. It appears that the Kingsmen are the only group who can help in the wake of a coming world war. That WWI actually happened already adds some intrigue and confusion.

Amon Warmann’s Tweet may sum up the wildly varying perspectives so far.

#TheKingsMan: Feels like 3 tonally different movies in 1. Some of it’s good (loved the fight scenes), some of it’s weird (Rhys Ifans makes some CHOICES here), & some of it’s bad (plot takes a while to get going). Better than the awful Kingsman 2, not as good as the original. pic.twitter.com/GxPTZPzxWz

— Amon Warmann (@AmonWarmann) December 6, 2021

That’s… fair. A lot of the negative criticism leans towards a narration that takes a while to get to the action and is unable to decide between serious and silly. And most of the positive reviews come from Ifan’s take as Rasputin and support the action when it happens.

“Don’t have a lot positive to say, but Rhys Ifans’ Rasputin is spectacular,” Alison Foreman tweeted about the film. “Just so slippery and slimy you wanna spread him on old toast. The squat dance fighting and vomit (yep) is especially fun, but…exactly as it sounds.”

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There’s plenty of fighting in the preview, but reviewers concur that the movie takes its time getting into the action. The plot sounds complex and a little unbelievable, but films are made for suspending belief. As to its real-life origins, however, there are undertones of something rotten about The King’s Man.

THE KING’S MAN is … bizarre,” Hoai-Tran Bui tweeted. “Tonally, it’s the wildest movie I’ve seen this year, its (sic) both self-serious and utterly, totally silly. It also has a deeply troubling plot that the more I think on it, the more I loathe.”

THE KING'S MAN is … bizarre. Tonally, it's the wildest movie I've seen this year, its both self-serious and utterly, totally silly. It also has a deeply troubling plot that the more I think on it, the more I loathe. But Rasputin has superpowers I guess?

— Hoai-Tran Bui (@htranbui) December 6, 2021

Still, setting up the spy agency in the midst of historical events and legendary characters seems to be more than enough for some people.

The King’s Man blends real-life history to the heightened Kingsman world to mostly successful results,” Ian Sandwell tweeted. “At times, the story meanders, but there’s genuine surprises, three Tom Hollander performances, and Rhys Ifans being outrageous as Rasputin. What more do you want?”

Reviews suggest an uneven story that still sounds fun until a strange, maybe even disturbing ending. If action and intrigue are your things, however, The King’s Man sounds like a worthy flavor to try.

The King’s Man releases in theaters on Wednesday, December 22.

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