Manners makeith Man. It’s a popular phrase spoken throughout the Kingsman film franchise the defines its sharply dressed and proper spy action franchise that’s a fun play on the James Bond-type films. But for director Matthew Vaughn, whose helmed the first two films, The King’s Man takes step back to visit where it all started. And just in time for its home release, audiences everywhere gets to see how the franchise was formed and how it combated against some of history’s greatest villains. And while prequels are questionable, the film’s revisionist take on history combined with the playful but gritty take on the franchise makes it entertaining.
Set in the early 20th Century, The King’s Man finds Duke Orlando Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) losing his wife to gunfire while on a goodwill mission during a visit to a concentration camp in South Africa at the height of the Second Boer War. A mortally wounded Emily asks Orlando that their son, Conrad, never sees war for himself.
While Orlando has worked hard to keep that promise, England is on the brink of anothe war, and as such, Conrad is eager to fight. Unphased by his determination, Orlando uses his reach to persuade the Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, not to let him join the army. But with the threat of war growing, it forces Orlando to form the first King’s Man.
While bonus features are more akin to epk material, “The King’s Man” has “The Great Game Begins” documentary, that’s broken up into chapters, that revisits the franchise, the decision to go back in time, and the production of the film. “A Generation Lost” provides a glimpse into where the King’s Man came from. In it, Vaughn explains that the idea for the prequel came from Colin Firth’s character who said the organization was formed due to their founding members all losing their family in World War I, they put their resources into an organization to stop evil and tyranny. Of course, he, himself didn’t expect to make a movie of it, but here we are. But the potential to turn it into a rollicking movie adventure was something he could not pass up. And it completely fits to the time and place when set against the more modern day material we get in the Kingsman films.
And that period piece feel is what sets it apart from the first two “Kingsman” films. Instead of playing up those tropes in a goofy manner and going over the top, “The King’s Man” comes to us with a more grounded story, higher stakes, and a lot more gritty action. The art of spy craft plays a larger role as the group operates outside of the government in order to get themselves inside the room as opposed to listening through keyholes. And so, Vaughn, as well as the cast, give each other praise in “Oxfords and Rogues” for their professionalism, ability to bring out the best in each other, and excitement to be working together again.
Of course, such a globetrotting film is a huge effort to complete, especially during a time of COVID-19. And for the home entertainment releases of films like “The King’s Man” to spend so much of its dedicated to the bonus feature is really refreshing. And there’s a lot more to it than just the documentary. There are also featurettes, and the usual theaterical trailers. And while “The King’s Man” itself isn’t the best, it does get high marks for its action, chemistry between characters, and a reminder of how much fun action period pieces can be.
The King’s Man Special Features:
The King’s Man: The Great Game Begins Documentary (1:29:37)
A Generation Lost – Discover how the filmmakers created a richly textured story that explores the origins of the Kingsman spy organization. (11:23)
Oxfords and Rogues – Meet the phenomenal new cast of characters Matthew Vaughn has assembled. (18:34)
All the World’s a Stage – Delve into the meticulous world-building of The King’s Man with interviews, on-location footage, artwork, and details of on-set construction and design. (26:42)
Instruments of War – Experience the analog spy tech and early 20th century weaponry utilized in The King’s Man and see a breakdown of the precise execution and evolution of the major stunts and combat in the film. (17:01)
Fortune Favors the Bold – Join Matthew Vaughn and his team for music scoring and sound design. (11:47)
Long Live the Kingsman – Cast and crew reveal their thoughts about their collective journey through the very special experience of making The King’s Man. (4:11)
The King’s Man Featurettes
No Man’s Land – Experience the creative process behind the harrowing knife battle sequence in several stages: rehearsals, storyboards, interviews and on-set footage, culminating with the atmospheric VFX. (15:43)
Remembrance and Finding Purpose – Learn about amazing organizations such as The Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes, two U.K.-based resources for recovery, well-being and employment for military veterans. Also hear why Matthew Vaughn strongly supports their mission. (26:29)
“The King’s Man” is out on digital, blu-ray, and other formats now.