A New Ralph Fiennes Movie Is #1 On Streaming

A new Ralph Fiennes movie is currently sitting at the top of the streaming charts and it's easy to see why this would be a hit

By Doug Norrie | Updated

ralph fiennes

A new Ralph Fiennes movie is currently crushing it on streaming and it’s easy to see why. With a mix of action and comedy, this latest film is part of a bigger franchise of films, giving context to those other stories. Though Fiennes is much more known for his deeply dramatic roles in the past, this film does flip the script some on that idea. The King’s Man is currently number one on HBO Max in the United States, holding the top spot ever since hitting the streamer on Friday, February 18th. 

The King’s Man stars Ralph Fiennes as Orlando, Duke of Oxford. The movie is a prequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. This most recent flick goes all the way back to the early 20th century to detail just how the titular spy service got its start. The film is set against the backdrop of the lead-up to World War I with Fiennes’s Orlando beginning to start the small cadre of spies that will insert itself into world events. Sparked by the death of his wife, Orlando begins to develop the skills and contacts he’ll need to operate in the relative shadows. 

In The King’s Man, we get the origin story for the titular group of spies, the first independent agency of its variety that will eventually grow into the group we first met when Taron Egerton’s Eggsy comes on board in the original movie. This film has all of the stylized sleekness of the first two movies though sets itself in a different time period which does help with the overall effect. Because the King’s Men bring all manner of gadgetry and weapons updates along with a certain style, visually it makes for a very cool-looking film. Check out Ralph Fiennes and company in the trailer for The King’s Man. 

You can see from the trailer why this is already such a popular offering for Ralph Fiennes and company on HBO Max. A period piece action film that rewrites certain parts of history, the flick is kind of why movies are made: to have fun while offering a new piece of fictionalized context. Directed and written by Matthew Vaughn, who helmed the first two films as well, the story is adapted from the Kingsman: The Secret Service comic book by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. 

In addition to Ralph Fiennes as Orlando, The King’s Man features an excellent cast of memorable characters, all being introduced to the franchise for the first time. There’s Harris Dickinson as Conrad, Orlando’s son who wants to join the fight but is forbidden to do so by his father who wants to keep him safe. There’s also Djimon Hounsou as Merlin, Orlando’s butler who ends up being a key piece in the spy network. There’s Gemma Arterton as Galahad, another household worker who just happens to have all the prerequisites to be a super spy. 

On the other side of the coin, squaring off against the Ralph Fiennes-led group is Rhys Ifans as Rasputin, an almost animalistic version of the character who’s every bit as evil as described in history. He is part of a network of near-do-wells who want to bring on the advent of World War I. Daniel Bruhl as Erik Jan Hanussen is part of that group led by the mysterious The Shepherd who operates in the shadows. 

While it might be doing well on streaming, The King’s Man didn’t score all that well with critics. It’s currently sitting at 42% on Rotten Tomatoes and 44 on Metacritic. The central complaint from critics was that the tone of the film tended to shift too much over the course of the movie. If anything, critics thought Vaughn was trying to do too much here, setting up a somewhat comedic tone at times that falls flat in others when things get a bit more serious. It meant for an uneven approach. Most agreed that Ralph Fiennes and the rest of the cast were solid here with the script falling short. 

And The King’s Man did struggle some at the box office when it first hit theaters back in December. On its $100 million budget, it managed to earn back only $124 million in ticket sales when it was all said and done. That being said, Ralph Fiennes and the rest of the group are clearly finding a second life on streaming and this is definitely a fun watch even if the critics were mixed.