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Davis Journal

The Movie Guru: ‘The King’s Man’ a mess, but ‘Sing 2’ surprisingly fun

Dec 23, 2021 08:43AM ● By Jenniffer Wardell

The King’s Man (in theaters)

None of this is Ralph Fiennes’ fault.

And by this, I mean the absolute disaster of a movie that is “The King's Man.” Fiennes seems to be the only one who understood the assignment, offering up a dignified action hero that would have been perfectly entertaining in a better movie. If he’d appeared in either of the other Kingsmen movies, for example, he would have been a seamless addition.

Unfortunately for him, he was trapped in a tonally confused mess that sabotaged him at every turn. Where the earlier movies did an excellent job blending biting humor and darker moments, this one veers wildly between absurd slapstick and the kind of bitterly ironic tragedy you’d normally expect out of Oscar bait. It takes a full hour and a half to settle into being a decent action film, and by that point you’ve just stopped caring.

There’s also a creepy edge to the movie’s sexuality. One of the movie’s sub-villains talks endlessly about having sex with everyone, including teenagers. Later, we’re forced to watch this same character tongue-bathing Ralph Fiennes’ bare thigh while making weird slurping noises. (While normally such detail qualifies as a spoiler, I feel like here it counts as a warning.)

And that’s not including the movie’s more minor disappointments. There’s a lot of drama built up about the villain’s “mysterious” identity, but the big reveal proves both easily guessed and almost entirely meaningless. Also, Djimon Hounsou and Gemma Arterton are both criminally underused. Please, Hollywood, give these two proper spy roles somewhere to make up for it.

And please, someone apologize to Fiennes. He deserves it.

Grade: One and a half stars

Sing 2 (in theaters)

It’s rare for a sequel to be better than the original, especially when it comes to fluffy animated movies.

With “Sing 2,” however, the second act is even sweeter than the first. The movie has all the heart of its 2016 predecessor, but it’s also much better constructed. The storyline is more coherent and flows better, the bad guy is scarier, and the emotions are deeper. Even if the last one left you unmoved, you might find yourself getting a little choked up for this one. 

In “Sing 2,” most of the characters from the first movie have come together to create a successful local theater company. When they try to put on a much bigger show in their universe’s version of Las Vegas, however, they have to deal with dangerous bosses, bad actresses, and a famous musician who just wants to be left alone.

The characters’ storylines are better blended in this one, working together instead of feeling like separate mini-movies. This means there’s a lot more charming character interactions, and all new characters are given at least one original character to bond to. There’s a strong sense of found family, which makes all the emotional moments more endearing.

If you’re here for the music, there’s still plenty of great songs. This time, though, they get more context than just a concert-style performance, coming together for a massive, space-themed stage show. It’s surprisingly fun, which is the same thing that can be said for this movie.

Grade: Three stars

Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Utah Film Critics Association. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at [email protected]