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Film / The King's Man

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"This war has made me realize that we cannot rely on politicians to do their job properly. So, I decided that we should do something about it."
Duke of Oxford

The King's Man is a period spy and war film directed and produced by Matthew Vaughn. It is a Prequel / Origins Episode to the Kingsman film series, which is loosely based on a comic book series created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Harris Dickinson, Daniel Brühl, Djimon Hounsou, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Charles Dance, Stanley Tucci and Alexandra Maria Lara.

Orlando, Duke of Oxford, is a former war hero who swore an oath of pacifism and transferred to the medical corps after the Afghan Wars. While making a delivery of Red Cross supplies to a British Army camp during the Boer War, the camp is attacked, and his wife is an accidental casualty of the battle, with their son Conrad a witness to her death.

A decade later, Conrad is near grown, and wants to enlist in the Army. But Orlando, out of respect for his wife's dying wish to keep their son safe, refuses to let him. Unfortunately, a man calling himself The Shepherd has created an international plot to start a world war that will destroy England, and a seemingly chance meeting with General Kitchener, a former Army friend of Orlando's, while getting Conrad measured for his first suit from the Kingsman tailors places the Oxfords into the path of this plot, and they soon find themselves England's only hope against a plot that only they know exist.

The film was released on December 22, 2021.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer, Trailer 2, New Trailer, Final Trailer

The King's Man contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Ralph Fiennes as Orlando gets several:
  • Advertised Extra: For all the build up Rasputin gets in the trailers and other marketing material he's only a henchman to the real Big Bad and dies fairly early on in the movie.
  • Almighty Janitor:
    • The Big Bad is General Kitchener's assistant, who commands the loyalty of the likes of Rasputin and Lenin.
    • Shola is implied to have been a soldier who served under Orlando's command in Afghanistan, explaining why he's such a good fighter, but there's no explanation given for why Polly the Nanny is an expert sniper, spymistress and codebreaker.
  • Almost Dead Guy: The British spy lives long enough to give Conrad the intel he gathered then dies as Conrad carries him out of No-Man's Land.
  • America Saves the Day: Zigzagged. America's participation is shown as being vital to the Allies winning World War I, but the President and his ambassador are seemingly more concerned with preserving the integrity of the office by not allowing his scandalous affair to become public knowledge. It's only after the incriminating evidence is retrieved by Oxford and his associates that the United States joins the fight.
  • Anachronism Stew: The "Dulce et decorum est" poem read out by Orlando hadn't even been written yet in 1916.
  • Animal Motifs: The rings given out to the Flock have animal icons engraved on top. Noticeably, Rasputin tries to trade with another member for the bear-adorned ring.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: The German shock troops carry trench raiding clubs along with knives. There were rifles, artillery and machine guns during World War I, but the need for close combat weapons arose with trench warfare, especially with nighttime operations, which is what they were doing.
  • Artistic License – History: Possibly to the point of Alternate History.
    • For a film that dives fairly deeply into the politics and causes of the First World War, not even the word "France" is uttered throughout the entire movie. Nor the Ottoman Empire. Possibly justified by the movie being an Alternate History where perhaps France took no part, but that raises the question of where exactly the British are fighting during the scenes in the trenches.
    • During WWI, Adolf Hitler was simply a foot soldier who has yet to formulate his political ideologies. The film gives him a Historical Villain Upgrade to become the assassin of the Tsar.
    • The film portrays Tsar Nicholas II abdicating the throne in front of Vladimir Lenin. In reality, the Tsar abdicated on a train coming back from the front. By then, Lenin had no direct involvement in the Revolution and was not even in Russia, being in exile in Switzerland. A provisional government took over, with Lenin taking power after a second revolution, in October 1917.
    • The Romanovs were executed by a large group of soldiers (the adults shot, the children beat and stabbed to preserve their jewelry), not by one man (who appears to be Hitler) with a machine pistol.
  • Artistic License – Politics: The film implies that King George has the same level of authority in England as the Kaiser and the Tsar have in Germany and Russia respectively, which hadn't been the case for a very long while in the UK.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Shepherd's sword has a gun built into the hilt. While this looks extremely cool the additional weight in the hilt would make the sword much more difficult to wield in a fight.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Orlando grows one after Conrad's death and starts drinking.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Rasputin's death comes at the hands of Orlando and Polly while the Zimmerman Telegraph is intercepted by Orlando's spies and and decoded by Polly.
  • Beneath Notice: Orlando's spy network, who are all domestics.
  • Big Bad: The Shepherd, the leader of a conspiracy known as the Flock which engineers World War I as a means to topple the British monarchy.
  • Bitter Almonds:
    • The attempt to poison Rasputin involves a bakewell tart, which traditionally made with lots of almonds, to mask the scent of cyanide. Rasputin actually suspects poison when he sees the cake because it is covered in almonds.
    • Cyanide pills are distributed to the Flock in their rings. Gavrilo Princip's one is found on him after his arrest, and Orlando notes its almond scent.
  • Blackmail: The Shepherd uses a film of President Wilson having sex with Mata Hari, a member of the Flock to keep America out of the war. Oxford's final mission is to steal the negatives.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: One of the German Shock Troops carries a gauntlet dagger for close combat.
  • Blade Enthusiast: Shola is an expert knife fighter and carries several blades on his person.
  • Bookcase Passage: The Duke of Oxford's estate has a small bust on a library bookshelf, which causes another bookcase to swing inwards revealing a secret passage.
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • Polly ultimately finishes off Rasputin this way.
    • Conrad is killed this way by an irate Scottish soldier who mistakes him for a German spy.
  • Broken Aesop: The film is inconsistent with regards to its message. On one hand, war is an atrocity and young men are forced to kill each other for the rich and powerful, and pacifism is a principled stand against this pointless slaughter. On the other hand, winning a war is glorious and the young men did not die in vain, and pacifism is merely a condition one must overcome in order to get back to saving the world by killing the Bad Guys. The film presents both aesops completely straight.
  • Call-Forward: Due to this film's status as the Prequel, there's quite a bit to the previous two movies:
    • The Oxford estate will become the Kingsman headquarters (at least, before it's blown to smithereens in the second movie). Several rooms used in the first movie are also perfectly replicated in this one, showing their original usage and decor.
    • The phrases "Oxford, not Rogues" and "manners maketh men" originates in this movie, though under very different circumstances. The former is explained as a code word referring to shoelace-tying styles in the first movie, while in this one, Orlando's mocking 'rogues' as one of lower class and respect when advising Conrad. The latter, ironically, is the Catchphrase of the True Final Boss.
    • The gadget Eggsy used to kill Gazelle in the first movie is actually created as an improvisation by Orlando to save himself from slipping off a cliff and assisting in his climb back up, by way of stabbing military-style daggers through the ends of his shoes.
    • It won't be a Kingsman movie without a fight with umbrellas. This movie has it in spades, along with other items symbolizing 'gentlemen'... or what passes as one in this setting.
    • Like Kingsman: The Secret Service, one person in the father-son duo dies by the end of the second act, leading to a montage of the other heroes in mourning. Before, it was Harry, but now, Conrad bites the dust.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Big Bad has a single shot pistol built into his sword, first used to shoot his sparring partner for angering him. He later attempts to use it to kill Orlando.
    • Orlando is given a Victoria Cross that was meant for the late Conrad. This plays a key role in the final battle, when Orlando is holding Morton over a cliff by his cashmere scarf. Morton believes that Orlando won't kill him, but the latter proves him wrong by cutting the scarf with the medal, sending Morton to his death.
  • Combat Pragmatist: While initially declaring Let's Fight Like Gentlemen, the Big Bad throws out the rules immediately by first trying to shoot Orlando then later throwing a grenade at him.
  • Creepy Souvenir: When Conrad finally enters the war, he walks past a human skull with a German helmet and cigarettes in its mouth that's been put on the wall of a British trench.
  • Cyanide Pill: The Shepherd's flock all have these concealed in Flock Rings. Gavrilo Princip attempts to take his after failing to kill Archduke Ferdinand, but gets another chance and is captured before he can take it, while Rasputin uses his to poison Alexey Nikolavitch as part of his plan to withdraw Russia from WW1 so that Germany can focus on defeating England.
  • Dance Battler: Rasputin the Mad Monk is clearly a mad dancer as well as seen here. During their initial meeting, Orlando asks if he's a monk or a ballet dancer.
  • Darker and Edgier: The movie is by virtue of being an Action Drama versus the first two movies that were Action Comedies that were Denser and Wackier.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The movie seems to be setting the stage for Conrad's story, only for him to die about halfway through, after which the focus shifts to Orlando.
  • Disney Villain Death: Morton suffers this and smashes onto a pile of rocks when he lands.
  • Disposable Woman: The Duchess of Oxford; killed in the opening scene so that Oxford can make her dying promise which drives the conflict between him and his son Conrad.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: All the drama of WWI happened over one Scotsman's hatred of the English because of the closure of his business.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The Shepherd is Morton, Kitchener's aide.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The goat who got one of its horns cut off by Morton returns the favor by impaling his leg with the other horn just before he can kill Orlando.
  • Doomed by Canon: Given that it was established in the first movie that the Kingsman Agency was founded by men of wealth and power who had lost their heirs during WWI, Conrad was doomed the moment he decided to enlist.
  • Dragon Ascendant: The Stinger reveals that following Morton's death, Erik Jan Hanussen took over the remnants of the Flock as the new Shepherd.
  • Drowning His Sorrows: Orlando, after Conrad is killed.
  • The Edwardian Era: The film features 1910s fashion and cars as well as the devastation surrounding World War I.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: After Rasputin is seemingly drowned, the heroes start tending to their injuries as the mad monk rises out of the water behind them, sword in hand... only to get shot in the head.
  • The Faceless: Every scene The Shepherd is in before the climax has his face concealed by shadow, a mask, or an object. This is to hide his true identity, Morton.
  • Faking the Dead: In the third act, Morton reveals that he faked his death from the torpedo fired at Kitchener's ship. He claimed that he was seasick, giving him the chance to escape on a small boat.
  • Foil: The Orlando/Conrad dynamic to the Harry/Eggsy one. Instead of the mentee being inspired by the death of his mentor to become who he was, the mentor is inspired by the death of his mentee to become who he would have been.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A young Conrad tells Shola that out of the Knights of the Round Table, he wants to be Lancelot. If you watched the past two Kingsman movies, you would realize that everyone who took the Lancelot position in the Kingsman organization died. As such, it tells us that Conrad won't make it out of this movie alive.
    • On top of the above example, Conrad is correct in naming Orlando as Arthur and Shola as Merlin, during that same scene.
    • Rasputin the Mad Monk doesn't so much walk as he glides across the floor, something the Orlando notes is part of a dance routine. A couple scenes later, Rasputin proves himself an adept Dance Battler.
    • Conrad's eventual status as a Decoy Protagonist is hinted at by his dismissal by Rasputin when he tries to seduce him in favor of Orlando.
    • Morton always has his left hand out of sight. This conceals that he's wearing a Flock Ring on it - The Shepherd's, no less.
  • Freudian Excuse: The Shepherd is a rabid Scot nationalist who hates the English over the fact that his family business was shut down by an English noble. He starts WWI in the hopes that he can get the Kaiser to destroy England.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Some of the German shock troops encountered in No-Man's Land wear gas masks, no doubt because of the use of combat gas during the war.
  • Giant Mook: The minion manning the lift up to the Big Bad's mountaintop lair is a massive man, played by Olivier Richters, that is one of many hitches in the Orlando's plan to seize it for their infiltration.
  • Godzilla Threshold: During the nighttime fight against the German shock troops in No-Man's Land, both sides avoid using firearms as the sound would result in both armies opening fire. But when Conrad, one of the last English soldiers is about to be killed, his commanding officer shoots his opponent with his pistol, causing both armies to start shooting.
  • Got Volunteered: An officer needs six volunteers to go with him into No-Man's Land to retrieve intelligence carried by a spy. When only Conrad volunteers, the Staff Sergeant orders five other men step forward.
  • GPS Evidence: The Shepherd gave many of his agents cashmere scarves made from the wool of his personal flock. When Orlando figures this out, he takes one of the scarves to Kingsman, which identifies the wool as being from a rare breed of goat that only lives in a very small region of Scotland.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Orlando and Shola both favour close combat, usually with edged weapons, Polly is probably the best shot on the team and usually functions as a sniper out in the field.
  • Handicapped Badass: Orlando suffered a serious wound to his leg during the raid that killed his wife, but he is still capable of holding his own in a confrontation for a short period.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Although not averse to firearms Orlando and Shola both favour bladed weapons in a fight.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight:
    • Orlando's spy network is centered around domestics, who are everywhere but rarely get noticed.
    • The Shepherd is General Kitchener's aide, who follows him everywhere, sees and hears almost everything he does, and who nobody pays attention to.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade:
    • The historical Rasputin was mystic and self-proclaimed holy man whose only claim to fame was ingratiating himself into the favor of the Russian Imperial Family, while the movie depicts him as a master swordsman capable of going toe-to-toe with Orlando, Shola, and Conrad in a fight.
    • The historical Mata Hari was nothing like the dangerous femme fatale seen in the movie—depending on which historian you ask, she was either a low-level spy who had not produced much useful information, or may have been an innocent scapegoat wrongly executed by the French.
  • Historical Character's Fictional Relative: The Oxfords are related to Felix Yusupov and play a central role in Rasputin's murder.
  • Historical Domain Character: Rasputin the Mad Monk has a sword duel with Orlando and Gavrilo Princip attempts to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand. King George V, Herbert Kitchener, Tsar Nicholas II (also Alexandra Feodorovna and their children), Erik Jan Hanussen, Mata Hari, Vladimir Lenin, Felix Yusopov, Arthur Zimmerman, General Erich Ludendorff, Queen Victoria, President Woodrow Wilson, and Adolf Hitler also make appearances.
  • Historical In-Joke: Rasputin is poisoned, stabbed, drowned, and finally shot before he died, much like how he was allegedly killed in real life.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade:
    • Rasputin, as so often happens. In the film he is a warmonger pushing Russia into war, while the historical Rasputin was actually against it. Similarly, Tsarevich Alexei's condition is the result of Rasputin poisoning him so that he can "cure" him to control the Tsar, as opposed to the historical Alexei who suffered from genetically-inherited hemophilia and which the historical Rasputin actually did have success in treating.
    • While it probably goes without saying, in reality Gavrilo Princip's assassination of Franz Ferdinand was not intended to start World War One. On a lesser note, in the film Princip is always meant to be the man who kills Ferdinand, whereas in reality he was one of several potential assassins in Sarajevo on that day; he just happened to be the one who succeeded.
    • German psychic Erik Jan Hanussen and American industrialist Alfred Dupont are portrayed as being members of The Conspiracy, with Hanussen manipulating the Kaiser into war and suggesting the Zimmermann Telegram whilst Dupont blackmails President Wilson into staying out of the war and leaving Britain to her fate. Needless to say, there's no evidence either of them did anything like this.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Shepherd's tendency to kill and maim his goats for emphasis while making points to his followers comes back to bite him when a goat he'd cut one horn off of previously stabs him in the leg with the other at a critical moment that allows Orlando to gain the upper hand in their fight.
  • Homage: Orlando and Spencer's shadow's being reflected on the screen during their duel was likely a nod to the famous sword fight from The Adventures of Robin Hood.
  • Homage Shot: During the final battle, Orlando crashes through a wall after being projected by an explosion while protecting himself with a metal shield is filmed the same way and with the same color grading as Diana of Themyscira crashing through a wall during the battle of Veld in Wonder Woman (which is also set during World War I).
  • Hope Spot: Even though the spy ends up dying in the blast, Conrad manages to get back to his side of the trench with some incredibly important intel to give to army command and the act is deemed worthy of a Victoria Cross, a medal which Conrad has been after. Unfortunately, Conrad gets shot and killed, not by the Germans, but by his own side over a simple misunderstanding.
  • Irony: In the middle of the movie, Conrad was killed by mistake because he never bothered to replicate the Scottish accent of the man whose identity he's assuming. Building up to the final fight, Morton's ability and success to stay hidden depended on his perfect portrayal of the formal English accent, completely removing his native, heavy Scottish accent. Also ironic given Conrad's death was caused by his refusal to act as a General's secretary, a position the Morton exploits the run his Flock.
  • Kaiserreich: Kaiser Wilhelm II is portrayed as an complete imbecile whose insecurities about his cousins make easy to manipulate by the film's bad guys. In contrast the German shock troops seen on the front are frighteningly efficient and carry ahistorical retractable blade devices as trench weaponry.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: The movie somehow manages to make Oxford donning a suit so he can go to a meeting at the US Embassy as dramatic as a superhero gearing up for battle.
  • Logo Joke: The final trailer has the 20th Century and Marv Films logos shaded gold.
  • Man in a Kilt: Conrad wears a kilt as part of his uniform while serving on the front lines of World War I because he switched places with a Scottish soldier so he could fight despite his father getting him assigned to a rear line posting.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It is never explained how Rasputin heals Orlando's injured leg, whether it is an actual mystical healing ability or some type of chiropractic muscle manipulation technique.
  • Mistaken for Spies: Conrad changes papers and uniform with a Scottish soldier so that he could fight and the Scot could get the rear-line posting his father meant for him. Later on, a friend of the Scot who he switched places with calls him out for using another man's identity and shoots him as a suspected spy.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The goat who ends up with one horn due to the Shepherd cutting it off and killing its mate earlier. It assists (eventually) Oxford in getting onto the plateau where the Shepherd's lair is, and in the final battle between Oxford and the Shepherd it impales the Shepherd's leg to allow Oxford to kill him.
  • Mood Whiplash: The movie begins with some fairly comedic moments including childish insults between powerful heads of state and a wacky Dance Fight with Rasputin. The tone then shifts significantly to show the horror of the trenches in World War One and Conrad's death. The climax goes back to being a bit more lighthearted with an elaborate scheme to beat the bad guys involving some tongue-in-cheek action sequences.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • "We are Oxfords, not rogues."
    • Gavrilo Princip and President Wilson are seen drinking Statesman whiskey, a company that would later be turned into the Kingsman's American counterpart.
    • "Looking better, Your Grace." "Feeling better, Polly."
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailers for the movie seem to build up Rasputin as the Big Bad and the story to be centred around the Kingsman organisation. In reality Rasputin is just one of the numerous historical villains taking part in The Shepherd's evil scheme and the eponymous organisation is only founded at the very end of the movie.
    • As the release date was pushed further and further back, the trailers got Denser and Wackier. The first three trailers are much closer in tone to the movie's Darker and Edgier sensibilities but the final red-band trailer ramped up the comedy to make it seem as though the movie would share its predecessors' irreverent sense of humor.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Rasputin fixing Orlando's leg allows him to go into the field and defeat the Shepherd.
    • The Zimmerman telegramnote , which was intended to keep America out of the war by forcing them to concentrate their attention on Mexico, is intercepted and given to the Americans to give them a reason why they should enter the war. This (minus the involvement of the proto-Kingsmen) actually happened in real life.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Given that the Red Revolution was basically a backup plan by the Shepard to get Russia out of the war, killing Rasputin, who was there to do just that, has a ripple effect that influences the course of history for decades, and indirectly leads to the United States involvement in Vietnam, the rise of the Taliban and 9/11. note 
    • King George's actions to protect Conrad accidentally sets in motion the events that lead to his death. To elaborate: in gratitude to Orlando for cracking the Zimmerman Telegraph, George arranges for Conrad to be assigned to a safe post in London. Unfortunately Conrad is too desperate to serve in the war, and switches places with Archie Reid, who was to be shipped to the front. Unfortunately he ends up encountering a friend of this soldier, who immediately identifies him as an impostor and, due to surrounding circumstances, assumes him to be a German spy and shoots him dead.
  • Oh, Crap!: The British soldiers exchange a silent version with a group of German shock troops when they run into each other in the middle of the night in No-Man's Land.
  • Once More, with Clarity: As soon as the Shepherd's true identity is revealed, we get a montage of scenes from the beginning of the movie, showing the suggestions that Morton made to Kitchener. What seemed like good ideas were actually his manipulations in keeping WWI going. It's followed up by the moment where Morton told Kitchener that he was seasick on the boat, revealing that he actually got away on another boat and launched the missile that sunk the ship with Kitchener in it.
    "This debate should happen after we have won the war."
    "I suggest we go to Russia and we sort it out ourselves."
  • Parting-Words Regret: The last thing that Orlando ever said to Conrad was that he could not give him his blessing to go off to war, making his death in that war all the more painful.
  • Personal Seals:
    • The character who's featured on the first poster has a signet ring with the Kingsman symbol on it, and used it to impress a seal into a wax binding.
    • The Shepherd and all of his Flock wear rings as well. The Shepherd's has a crook, while everyone else's is some sort of animal. They all contain a hidden compartment with a Cyanide Pill.
  • P.O.V. Cam:
    • We get a first person perspective of Orlando's time in Afghanistan, culminating in him seeing his own blood-spattered face in a mirror as he realizes what a killer he'd become.
    • We briefly see the final duel between Orlando and the Shepherd from the point of views of their swords.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "You're right. I shouldn't let you fall. Only now I have become the man that my son would have been." Cue Orlando using Conrad's Victoria Cross to make Morton fall to his death.
  • Rasputinian Death: The Trope Namer himself is poisoned, stabbed, impaled, drowned and finally shot in the head.
  • Pretty Little Headshots:
    • More or less justified for the small-caliber pistol used against Rasputin.
    • Less so when Conrad is killed. There's a small entry hole, and a bit of blood is seen spraying from the back of his head. A .303 round point-blank like that would've had a similar effect on his head to a sledgehammer on a watermelon.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: King George V is the only one among monarchs (and presidents) who wants to avoid the war and then end it as quickly as possible. And at the end he joins the Kingsmen.
  • Red Herring: Archie is Scottish, sports a buzzcut, and is played by a name actor, all of which would seem to hint that he's the Shepherd. Not only is he not, he actually winds up becoming Kingsman's first Lancelot.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: King George himself is one of the founding members of Kingsman.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • During the Afghan Wars, Orlando slashed a soldier's neck in front of a mirror. Blood spatters on the mirror's left side, leaving the other side clean. After this, Orlando sees his bloodied self and finds himself at a literal crossroads. Either he continues spilling blood for his country, or he puts down his sword and saves lives instead.
    • During the final sword fight between Orlando and the Shepherd, their shadows are seen on a projected video showing soldiers at the front lines. The two combatants are essentially fighting a secret battle during WWI, where one side's victory can either end or prolong the war.
  • Sequel Hook: The Shepherd dies, but the Flock lives on, with Erik Jan Hanussen assuming the role of the new Shepherd. The credits stinger shows Lenin being introduced to their newest member - Adolf Hitler.
  • Shirtless Scene: Shola trains Conrad in knife combat while shirtless - ostensibly as the two are using blunted blades dipped in chalk to mark hits on each other.
  • Shout-Out: The poem that Conrad sends to his father and that later Orlando reads at his funeral mass is "Dulce Et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen.
  • Shown Their Work: While the movie contains plenty of artistic license and historical villain upgrades, it also gets an impressive number of details right. The accurate CGI model of the armored cruiser HMS Hampshire particularly stands out.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: A random nameless Scottish soldier mistakes Conrad for a German spy and shoots him dead, driving Orlando into a spiral of despair.
  • The Stinger: A mid-credits scene shows that Erik Jan Hanussen has secretly become the new Shepherd, now building a new Flock group. He already has Lenin on his side, and welcomes someone credited as the "Moustached Man", who sports a familiar undercut...
    Erik Jan Hanussen: This young man will come to rival your position in this world, my friend.
    "Moustached Man": It is an honor, Comrade Lenin.
    Lenin: And your name?
    "Moustached Man": Adolf Hitler.
  • Sword Cane: Orlando carries a stylish cane with a blade hidden in its length.
  • Sword Fight: Orlando and The Shepherd engage in a prolonged sword duel at the movie's climax.
  • Taking the Bullet: Shola does this in the climax when The Shepherd shoots at Oxford.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Lord Oxford attempts to kill Rasputin with a tart laced with cyanide. All it does is make him vomit.
  • Tragic Keepsake: It is revealed that the entire Arthurian naming convention of Kingsman is this, twice over. Arthur, his knights and the way that the round table maintains equality between them is brought up in the prologue by Emily to explain to her son, Conrad, why their family supports the Red Cross shortly before her death, indeed just before the attack Conrad is fantasizing to Shola about their family as the characters of Arthurian legend, identifying Emily as Guinevere, himself as Lancelot, Shola as Merlin and Orlando as Arthur. Later, when switching places with Archie, Conrad's letter to Orlando uses the same Arthurian metaphor, setting up Orlando using he same naming scheme when he founds Kingsman.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Several members of the Flock are positioned as this to Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas, to ensure that the diplomatic tensions after the death of Franz Ferdinand escalate to war despite King George's attempts to be peacemaker.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The trailers play up Rasputin as the primary villain, but he's not the Shepherd, only a member of his Flock.
  • Violent Glaswegian:
    • The Shepherd has a strong Scottish accent and is quick to resort to cursing, threats, and violence, including murdering his fencing partner for attacking while he was distracted.
    • Conrad's killer; a Scottish soldier who shoots Conrad after discovering him impersonating the soldier's friend, who Conrad switch places with to avoid being assigned away from the front, and Conrad is too slow to explain what's going on.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never shown what happened to the soldier that shot Conrad, but it's likely there would have been an investigation and he likely would have been at the very least discharged - and given he murdered a duke's son, very likely hanged or 'had an accident' in prison. Even if he had been right he still executed an unarmed prisoner, one that may have had useful information.
  • Wham Shot: After Conrad is killed, the scene cuts back to Archie visiting the Oxford estate, revealing that he's also there to inform Orlando of his son's death.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Conrad's death; having volunteered to join the mission to retrieve the remains of a spy who was cut down in No Man's Land, Conrad and his crew encounter a squad of German soldiers also attempting to retrieve the spy, Conrad not only survives the fight, but when the fight rouses the attention of the gunmen either side of the trench, Conrad is able to duck into a pit, avoiding the gunfire, where he happens upon the still-alive spy, whom he then attempts to carry across No Man's Land, only to be sent flying into the Allied trench. The spy dies but Conrad survives, as does the spy's vital intelligence, Conrad's securing of which gets him lauded as a hero... then, when asked his name he gives the name of the soldier he was impersonating to avoid being sent home, and a friend of said soldier, unaware of why he's using that name confronts him and suspecting him to be a spy, shoots him dead.

"May our sons and friends rest in peace. And long live the Kingsman!"