THE KING’S MAN*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
South Africa, 1902 – Orlando, The Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes), travels with his wife Emily (Alexandra Maria Lara) and son Conrad (Alexander Shaw), and their bodyguard Shola (Djimon Hounsou) to a camp where Orlando meets with General Kitchener (Charles Dance) and his assistant Morton (Matthew Goode). Just as Orlando and Kitchener begin to discuss their business, a sniper begins firing at the soldiers at the camp. Emily runs to protect Conrad but is shot in the abdomen before Shola finds the assassin and kills him. Orlando stays by Emily’s side as she dies, and Conrad runs to his mother.
Twelve years later, Orlando and Conrad (now played by Harris Dickinson) arrive back at their estate. Orlando speaks to the nanny, Polly Watkins (Gemma Arterton) while Conrad trains in combat with Shola. Later, Orlando takes Conrad to the Kingsman tailor shop where the former occasionally conducts business.
Elsewhere, at a secret location, the Mad Monk Grigori Rasputin (Rhys Ifans) arrives to join several other nefarious tyrants, including Gavrilo Princip (Joel Basman), Erik Jan Hanussen (Daniel Bruhl), Mata Hari (Valerie Pachner), and Alfred DuPont (Todd Boyce). They are met by their leader, a hidden Scottish villain called “The Shepherd.” He assigns the members of his group different rings with animal icons. When Rasputin complains about getting a tortoise and wanting to switch with Princip, The Shepherd demonstrates his cruelty by killing one of his beloved goats. He then sends Princip out for his first task.
Conrad joins his father as they ride through a parade with Archduke Franz Ferdinand (Ron Cook) and his wife Sophie (Barbara Drennan). Princip makes his assassination attempt by hurling a bomb at the Archduke’s escort car, but Conrad deflects the bomb with an umbrella, hitting the car behind them. They attempt to drive to safety. Princip is sitting near a cafe, preparing to commit suicide with a cyanide pill hidden in the ring for his failure, but he sees the Archduke’s car driving toward a dead end. Princip seizes the opportunity and shoots both Ferdinand and Sophie, killing them before he is arrested.
In the aftermath, Orlando worries as he knows European powers will come into conflict. He tells Conrad about three cousins – King George V, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and Tsar Nicholas II (all played by Tom Hollander) – who are now the respective rulers of England, Germany, and Russia. The three have always been in conflict, but Orlando’s allegiance lies with King George. Hanussen acts as an advisor to Wilhelm while Rasputin is close to Nicholas and his family.
World War I soon breaks out and devastates Europe for over two years. The Shepherd celebrates his organization’s victory, but he plans to have Russia pull out of the war, leaving Germany to direct their forces toward England since The Shepherd holds a grudge against England for oppressing Scotland. Rasputin manipulates Nicholas and his wife by slipping their son Alexei (Alexander Shefler) a candy laced with poison, then using his so-called holy powers to “heal” the boy, thereby convincing Nicholas to keep Russia out of the war.
Orlando and Kitchener disagree on their stances regarding the war, with Conrad wanting to join the fight, but Orlando refusing to let him endanger himself. Later, on his ship, Kitchener expresses sorrow for the countless lives lost, while a nearby submarine launches a missile that destroys Kitchener’s ship, killing everyone on board. Orlando later receives a letter that Kitchener wrote before his death, in which he expressed regret for their last encounter.
Orlando then brings Conrad to meet with Polly and Shola in their secret headquarters, where they plan to take matters into their own hands. He tells them that he visited Princip in his prison cell and stopped two guards from hanging him by fighting them off and then getting information out of Princip. He knows of the villains’ organization and they plan to target Rasputin and kill him before his influence makes matters worse. Orlando also explains to Conrad that he is a pacifist because although he was a skilled killer, he felt that killing took away too much of his soul.
The team travels to Russia, with the plan being that they get Conrad to play into Rasputin’s fondness for young men before tricking him into eating a poisoned Bakewell Tart, due to the Mad Monk’s love for sweet cakes. Orlando and Conrad infiltrate a dinner held by Rasputin, but he finds Conrad boring and directs his interest toward Orlando. He brings Orlando into his chambers and claims he can heal Orlando’s injured leg. Rasputin performs a bizarre ritual where he licks the wound on Orlando’s leg before stuffing his face with half of the cake. However, Rasputin vomits the cake out. He guides Orlando outside to the frozen lake to dip his leg in before revealing he knew that the cake was laced with cyanide because he takes poison every morning to develop an immunity to it. He attempts to drown Orlando before Conrad and Shola intervene. The two battle Rasputin before Orlando comes to. Conrad fires a bullet that knocks Rasputin’s blade out of his hand before he can kill Shola, but Rasputin goes to kill Conrad. Orlando stabs Rasputin in the chest and drags him to the lake to drown him. Rasputin rises for one more kill attempt, but Polly shoots him in the head and kills him.
The team returns home on the train and celebrates Conrad’s birthday. While he wants to continue the fight and head into battle, Orlando refuses to let his son get into it.
Polly later intercepts a message from Wilhelm’s secretary to Mexico, as they are trying to get Germany to join forces with Mexico to attack the United States. President Woodrow Wilson (Ian Kelly) is contacted and informed of this, but he dismisses it until he has concrete evidence, and he refuses to get involved with the war. Meanwhile, Conrad switches places with a soldier, Archie Reid (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and takes his place on the frontlines.
Conrad joins other British and Scottish soldiers against the German army. An informant for the British army runs toward them but is incapacitated by a bomb. The General informs the soldiers that they must recover the informant’s body from the battlefield at night and recover what he was carrying. Later that night, Conrad joins five other men as they make a quiet confrontation with the Germans. They stab each other, nearly being killed by a large German with a hammer, but a British soldier shoots the large German, leading to both sides opening fire on one another and dropping explosives. Conrad runs to safety and encounters the informant, who just got his leg blown off. Conrad breaks down in tears as he has now killed people and did not even get to say goodbye to his father. The informant comforts him.
In the morning, Conrad carries the informant across the battlefield. The Germans spot them and begin to fire at them, but the British army returns fire. Conrad and the informant are blown into the barracks by an explosive, with the informant being killed. Conrad delivers the item that the informant was carrying, but when he tells the General that he is Archie, a soldier claiming to be friends with Archie called Conrad out on being a liar and accuses him of being a German spy, so he shoots Conrad in the head and kills him.
Orlando is informed of his son’s death. A funeral is held, with Shola and Polly attending and mourning Conrad. Orlando falls into a deep depression and begins drinking, avoiding help from Polly. However, after speaking to King George, Orlando decides to join Polly and Shola in completing the task to honor Conrad’s memory. It turns out the item Conrad recovered from the informant was written proof of the telegram sent by Wilhelm’s secretary.
Hanussen and Hari arrive to find The Shepherd dueling with another member before learning that Wilson received the telegram. The Shepherd kills the other member and sends Hari to the United States to get Wilson under their thumb. Meanwhile, Nicholas steps down from the throne.
Orlando travels to the United States as well, where he finds that Hari already got to Wilson and has met with the Ambassador (Stanley Tucci). Orlando knows she is a villain, and Hari attempts to attack him, but Orlando subdues her and strangles her with her scarf. He then meets with the Ambassador and learns that Hari seduced Wilson and had it recorded, with the video being used as blackmail to keep the U.S. out of the war.
Orlando, Polly, and Shola scope out the villains’ hideout before making their plans to attack. Polly keeps watch with her rifle while Shola goes to his own post, and Orlando plans to drop in on a plane with his parachute. The plane controls get stuck, and the plane begins to hurdle toward the ground. Orlando manages to deploy his parachute, but he gets stuck midway at the bottom of a cliff. He manages to climb up using knives and almost gets knocked over by The Shepherd’s goat, but Orlando grabs onto the goat’s horn and pulls himself up, and then pets the goat to show that he means no harm.
The Shepherd sends DuPont to try and blackmail Wilson in the hopes that he will step down and the next president will be in their pocket. DuPont gets stuck on the elevator going down when the brutish henchman stops the lift to fight Orlando, who has made his way into the barn. Orlando fights the brute, while Polly fires at the other henchmen. Shola kills some men and hops onto the counterweight, cutting the rope to pull himself up and send DuPont falling to his death. Shola rises and decapitates the brute before saving Orlando. They then make their way to confront The Shepherd. Orlando gets him to step out, and it is revealed that The Shepherd was Morton the whole time. He was working against Kitchener the whole time and had fired the missile that killed him. Orlando and Morton duel, with Shola taking a bullet (non-fatally) for Orlando. The two then fight by the edge of the cliff, with Morton nearly killing Orlando until the goat (who had earlier got one of its horns cut off by Morton) impales Morton’s leg with its horn. Orlando rises and holds Morton over the edge, with the villain believing that Orlando doesn’t have the nerve to drop him…only to be proven wrong moments later, and Morton is sent plummeting onto a pile of rocks.
Orlando has the video of Hari seducing Wilson sent to the President so that he can burn it and finally step into the war, and WWI later ends. He speaks to King George, who informs him of the fates of his cousins – Wilhelm abdicates his position, but Nicholas and his whole family were murdered.
Orlando then gathers with Shola, Polly, King George, Archie, and the Ambassador at the tailor shop, which he just purchased to set up as an undercover organization. Continuing to honor Conrad’s memory, Orlando gives the team codenames based on the Knights of the Round Table, which is something Conrad thought of as a kid. Orlando will be Arthur, Polly will be Galahad, Archie is Lancelot, the Ambassador is Bedevere, George is Percival, and Shola is Merlin. Thus, the Kingsman agency is born.
A secret group of historical tyrants, led by a mysterious figure called "The Shepherd", initiates World War I with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife. Orlando, the Duke of Oxford, is joined by his son Conrad, nanny Polly, and bodyguard Shola to intervene by going after the members of the organization, as they try to manipulate world leaders (King George, Kaiser Wilhelm, and Tsar Nicholas).
The team goes after Grigori Rasputin, killing him before he can further influence Nicholas to pull out of the war. Against his father's wishes, Conrad trades places with a Scottish soldier, Archie Reid, to go into the frontlines of the war. After saving a British informant who was carrying valuable material, Conrad is accused of being a German spy and is killed. After going through a depression, Orlando vows to complete the mission with Polly and Shola to honor Conrad's memory.
The trio later locates the organization and finds that The Shepherd is Morton, former assistant to British General Kitchener, whom Morton had murdered and has been influencing the outcome of the war. Orlando fights Morton and drops him over the edge of a cliff.
Orlando soon gets President Woodrow Wilson involved in the war, allowing it to finally come to an end. Orlando then joins forces with Polly, Shola, King George, Archie, and the U.S. Ambassador to develop the Kingsman agency.