Courtesy 20th Century Studios

In The King’s Man, Matthew Vaughn returns to direct the third installment in the Kingsman series, a silly and raucous film with a globe-spanning prequel that stretches the boundaries of believable history. As some of the most notorious historical figures from the early 20th century band together to start World War I, British nobleman Orlando Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) must put together a band of talented spies to bring a stop to the carnage.

The King’s Man is a rather glorious mess of a film. From Gavrilo Princip (Joel Basman) to Grigori Rasputin (a delightful Rhys Ifans), the range of dastardly villains is as broad in scope as the film’s plot. Traipsing across Europe, our band of heroes uses wit, cunning, and a few well-placed punches to attempt to piece together the mystery of who’s pulling the strings of the wanton bloodshed. Thematically, Vaughn’s film attempts to pack in several muddled messages, from pacifism, to the need for action, to the argument that drawing America into WWI was a good and noble thing.

There are a few turns and surprises which are less shocking than they are unnecessary—who knew we needed a Woodrow Wilson affair plot! For the most part, though, the film has such a sloppy but fun narrative that one imagines the expansive cast—from Gemma Arterton as the faithful leader of the domestic servant spy network Polly Wilkins, to Tom Hollander as the triple threat of the noble cousins King George, Kaiser Wilhelm, and Tsar Nicholas—had a hell of time filming. R, 131 min.

Wide release in theaters.