The King's Man Red Band Trailer: The Super-Spy Prequel Gets Bloody

The long-awaited new addition to "The Kingsman" franchise is finally upon us. Well, almost. After nearly two years of delays due in no small part to that pesky pandemic, Matthew Vaughn's third installment in the series looks locked into place for a December 2021 release, and we have a new trailer on deck to prove it.

"The King's Man" serves as a prequel to the other two "Kingsman" films, depicting the secret and oh-so-proper spy organization in its early days, long before Colin Firth's Harry Hart recruited Taron Egerton's Eggsy to stop a lisping, McDonald's-obsessed Samuel L. Jackson from destroying the world. In looking backward, Vaughn gets a chance to set this origin story against a particularly interesting backdrop: World War I. 

The Latest Trailer

Vaughn has always had an interesting visual flair, going back to his earliest films. "Layer Cake" could have just been a Guy Ritchie knock-off, but he brought his own unique approach to the director's chair, and that only became stronger as he went on to films like the very under-appreciated "Stardust," the still absurdly fun "Kick-Ass," and, yes, his time in the X-Universe: "X-Men: First Class" was a breath of fresh air for that series.

The Kingsman films are particularly interesting to me because on paper they really shouldn't work. Proper British spies? End of the world schemes? Been there, done that about a dozen times over. 

But the difference is tone. What Vaughn, along with his close collaborator, Jane Goldman, did when adapting the Mark Millar comic book was lean headlong into the absurd on a story level, but they shot it to be as polished as any James Bond movie.

How Come These Movies End Up So...Weird?

It's frankly nuts that these movies exist. They're not very politically correct (I mean, the reward Eggsy is offered for rescuing the princess at the end of the first movie still makes me blush just thinking about it), and gleefully embrace violence and crude humor while also wrapping it in a blanket of genuine sentimentality and friendship.

If you asked the Hollywood algorithms to spit out the plot of a likely big-budget franchise, you wouldn't get it telling you to have Elton John as a central figure. Hell, maybe they should reconfigure that dumb computer because who doesn't want Elton John as the central figure of their franchise? The ball's in your court, Kevin Feige.

The reason Vaughn can get away with this is very simple: he doesn't give the studio a choice. 20th Century doesn't finance these films. Vaughn finds the money independently, and, with his track record, he can keep hitting up his big-money investors. Then he sells the distribution rights to the studio, effectively cutting out the whole "too many cooks" problem a lot of these kinds of movies have in the delicate development days. 

In a weird way, he's like George Lucas. At a certain point, Lucas decided he wasn't working for the movie studios, he made them work for him and Vaughn has been doing that on the DL for many years. That's why something as blatantly weird as "The Kingsman" can exist.

Now, I have no idea if audiences really care about a prequel story setting up the Kingsman organization, but I do know that I've learned never to count Matthew Vaughn out. He assembles amazing casts (this movie is no exception) and puts all the budget up on the screen in ways that can piss some people off. That's a good thing. 

Weird is something to be celebrated.