Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Here's Why The King's Man Is Falling Royally Flat With Early Critics

One of the biggest sleeper hits of the last decade was the 2014 release of "Kingsman: The Secret Service." In addition to performing positively at the box office (via Box Office Mojo), the action comedy film fared well with most viewers, scoring a "Certified Fresh" 75% critical score, alongside an 84% audience score, on Rotten Tomatoes. While the film's sequel, "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," was not nearly as well received in 2017 (via Rotten Tomatoes), it's safe to say that the "Kingsman" franchise is here to stay for the foreseeable future. However, the "future" probably isn't exactly what fans of the film series are most excited about right now. In fact, they're probably more interested in the past.

"Kingsman" fans have been clamoring for a better look at the series's first prequel film, "The King's Man," for years now. The film, which relocates the franchise to the origins of the eponymous spy organization in World War I, was originally set to be released on November 8, 2019, but had its release date shifted several times, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. December 22, 2021 is actually the ninth date on which the film has been scheduled for release, but appears to be the one mostly like to stick now (via MovieWeb). 

Critics recently got an early look at the film and, unfortunately, it sounds like fans should be prepared for the worst.

Critics are calling The King's Man a mess

With a whole 30 critics already having published their reviews of "The King's Man," things are not looking good for the prequel. The Tomatometer indicates that, so far, only 40% of critics have a positive view of the movie (via Rotten Tomatoes).

In a scathing review, CNN writer Brian Lowry said that while "The King's Man" is "designed to expand the franchise," it "appears just as likely to end it." Entertainment Weekly's Christian Holub gave the film a "D+" rating and said, "For all its faults, The King's Man is at least hilariously bad in the way that emotionless, made-by-committee blockbusters like 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' are not." Linda Marric of The Jewish Chronicle was more direct in her analysis of the film's faults, calling the movie "a muddled, unfunny and overlong mess which is only slightly elevated by a peerless central performance courtesy of [Ralph] Fiennes."

While the vast majority of reviews appear to be overwhelmingly negative, a handful of critics praised the film's fight scenes. Writing for IGN Movies, Rosie Knight said, "The King's Man's triumphant action and epic performances are dragged down by a confused story and overlong runtime." David Crow, a writer for Den of Geek, only gave "The King's Man" 3 out of 5 stars, but noted that the film has "the most delightfully batsh*t fight scene you'll see at the cinema this year" and called that alone "worth the price of admission."

The film will no doubt face fierce competition at the box office from "Spider-Man: No Way Home" and "The Matrix Resurrections." The former will enter theaters less than a week before "The King's Man" (via IMDb), while the latter will be released in theaters and on HBO Max on the very same day (via IMDb).