Kingsman the beginning: the action movie prequel in review

By Nils Ahrensmeier Nils Ahrensmeieron 15. January 2022, 16:29 | Write a comment

With "Kingsman The Beginning," Matthew Vaughn brings the long-awaited prequel to the highly successful "Kingsman" films to the big screen. We have watched the film.

The Kingsman films "The Secret Service" and "The Golden Circle" were one of the biggest action surprises of the last decade. They combined British gentlemanly style with action-packed fights and hilarious villains, which rapidly filled the box office. The first part recovered four times its production costs, and the second part almost reached that figure. Logically, another film was only a matter of time, but few expected a prequel.

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Kingsman The Beginning: synopsis

The film plays ca. 100 years before the first two parts, at the time of the First World War. This time jump meant that completely new characters had to be created, which is always a risk in a successful series. The main character is the British Duke Orlando Oxford, who loses his wife during a mission on behalf of the Red Cross. On this day he vows to protect his son, who had to watch the death of his mother as a child, from danger forever. This includes preventing future wars, without which he would not have had to participate in the mission. So he founds a spy network with his maid Polly and his butler Shola to prevent future conflicts between great powers. But in the background someone wants to set the great powers on each other to create a big war and when then Conrad (the son of Oxford) wants to serve the British military, the drama takes its course.

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An important part of the film is the father-son relationship of the main character. (Image: The Walt Disney Company)

A mixture of dark drama and historical action

If you were hoping for over-the-top action with a lot of humor, you will be disappointed. The film is very different from the other two films. The film is darker, has fewer action scenes than its predecessors and the humor is not as over the top. In addition, the frame story is not fictional like in the Kingsman films, but is based on historical events. The cast is very high profile. Ralph Fiennes (also in Harry Potter, Schindler’s List, James Bond) plays the role of the Duke of Oxford very authentically and not too "over the top". Also the so far rather unknown Harris Dickinson knows how to convince in his role as Conrad.

But many of the roles, which are strongly cast, get too little time to unfold. An example would be Daniel Bruhl, known as "Fredrick Zoller", who plays the impostor Erik Hanussen in the film. This is one of the string pullers, which is to instigate the First World War with. But you don’t really get to know much about the character, because after a few minutes the next storyline already has to be continued. Because exactly therein lies the large problem of the film.

Too much to tell, with already overlength

Vaughn has taken on a lot with "The Beginning". On the one hand, he wants to tell a family drama with a father-son story, which then additionally explains the founding of the Kingsman. Besides, the third storyline is still running, which wants to explain the historical events. With 130 minutes, the film is very long, but still does not manage to tell everything fully. A few questions as well as logic holes remained for me after leaving the movie theater, which will be addressed in an implied sequel in what must be "2. World War II setting" could be solved. A little less scope and more focus on important storylines would have served the film well.

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Three film strands are too much even for 130 minutes. (Image: The Walt Disney Company)

Despite critical view: 130 minutes of pure entertainment

But all this does not mean that I did not feel entertained. Especially from a technical point of view the film is completely convincing. Great images, outstanding cuts as well as exciting action scenes provide constant entertainment, also the fans are served with some allusions to the other two movies. But you don’t have to have seen the movies, it’s just an advantage. One of the string pullers is treated in more detail and probably provides one of the highlight scenes in the film. Rasputin, played by Rhys Ifans (also: Spider Man, Notting Hill), provides the most curious scenes and brings a bit of classic Kingsman style to the otherwise serious film.

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Despite minor logic flaws, the film is very entertaining over 130 minutes.
(Image: The Walt Disney Company)

Conclusion

Kingsman "The Beginning" leaves me a little ambivalent. The film seems too overloaded, which is especially noticeable in the ridiculous antagonist and the too many plot lines. Nevertheless it offers a very strong cast, which is convincing in technically excellent pictures. I would like to emphasize Gemma Arterton as Polly and Harris Dickinson as Conrad. As a fan of the first two films, I was able to learn many allusions and backgrounds to the first two films, but these are disturbed by logic holes when connecting the storylines.

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