Trying to justifiably describe a big budget, R-rated action blockbuster that takes place against the backdrop of World War I, which features all sorts of wild and inventive gadgets designed to do the maximum amount of damage in the most cinematically stylish way possible, as an anti-violence movie sounds like a stretch.
Matthew Vaughn may be many things, but subtle most certainly isn’t one of them, so it would be foolish of us to assume that The King’s Man is sneaking in some sociopolitical subtext in among the neat camera tricks and gonzo violence that the franchise has been characterized by so far.
In an interview with Murphy’s Multiverse, though, star Gemma Arterton put The King’s Man forth as an anti-war, anti-violence parable, something that hardly comes across in the trailers that find folks getting beheaded, blown up and generally thrown around like bloodied and bruised rag-dolls.
“I think it is a message that Matthew wanted to convey, and I think he believes that very strongly. This Kingsman agency, having been created so that, you know – the inevitability is that there will always be conflict. There will always be people disagreeing, and potentially wars breaking out. So, Kingsman being created to kind of protect and try to prevent that from happening. I guess it’s sort of a peaceful organization that uses, like, guns and violence and knives and stuff to stop these things from happening. So yeah…it’s the message of the film.”
Early reviews have painted The King’s Man as an utterly nonsensical and chaotic sequel, which in some cases doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Vaughn thrives on carnage, even if it’s doubtful we’ll be reading in-depth analysis in the future about how the period piece is actually urging us to lay down our arms, even when it’s severing them all over the screen.