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Captain Morton - the Boer War.png

One of the two King's Man discussions I have planned, let's go.

What's the Work?

The King's Man is a historical action/spy film and a prequel to the previous two entries in the series Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. It's about the formation of the Kingsman agency during the Great War.

Who is He?/What has he Done?

Captain Morton otherwise known as The Shepherd is the main antagonist of the film. An embittered and vengeful Scotsman, he disguises himself as an English soldier and works way up to being a captain while secretly forming his own secret society known as The Flock who he has help him orchestrate the entire Great War in order to eradicate England from the map for retribution over how they treated Scotland in the past.

The Shepherd finalizes his flock in 1914 and arranges a meeting with them upon his mountain base, at which point he gives them all their codenames and assignments, beginning with Gavrillo Princip who he tells to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Following this as with history itself the Great War begins across Europe with Morton having agents Grigori Rasputin and Erik Jan Hanussen manipulate the effort in favour for his cause in both Russia and Germany respectively; with Rasputin using his closeness to the Romanovs and "miracle working" for them to his advantage while Hanussen began manipulating Kaiser Wilhelm II mainly by prodding at his insecurities and resentment for his cousins.

Meanwhile Morton fakes his own death by blowing up the boat used at the time by himself and Herbert Kitchener and all seems to be going well while under The Flock's noses the Kingsman are forming in their infancy made up of Orlando, his son Conrad, his butler and right-hand Shola and nanny Polly and go after Rasputin, eventually killing him after a tireless battle, infuriating Morton who sends Vladimir Lenin in his place to dispose of the Romanovs and succeed in getting Russia out of the war as planned. Shortly following this Conrad after having enlisted himself in the war manages to secure the Zimmermann telegraph written by Hanussen and get to the allied forces unfortunately at the cost of his own life due to being mistaken for a German spy, now giving America the go ahead to join the war. When Morton discovers this from Hanussen and Mata Hari he infuriatedly kills the man he was fencing with before telling the two to move onto the next phase of their plan, having Hari blackmail the US president by securing a film reel of herself seducing him. Once again the Kingsman intercept and gain an ally with the US Ambassador, recognising Hari's red cashmere scarf as the same as the ones worn by both Princip and Rasputin, he has a tailor from the Kingsman shop itself trace its origin to Morton's mountain where the team headed next.

When arriving Orlando flies up to the top of the mountain and descends via parachute, meanwhile Polly takes out the guards allowing Shola to make it to the elevator and travel up to assist Orlando, Polly also secures the reel containing the blackmail footage. When finally confronted Morton is annoyed at who the thorn in his side has been and reveals his face before fighting both Orlando and Shola, after incapacitating Shola with a bullet he and Orlando's fight escalates brutally but against all odds Orlando stays alive even when having a grenade launched at him. The battle continues outside and Morton gains the upper hand until one of his goats who he had abused earlier stabs him in the leg with its mutilated horn causing Orlando to turn the tables before dropping Morton to his death at the bottom of the mountain.

Heinous Standards

This portion will take some explaining. Now both of the previous big bads Richmond Valentine and especially Poppy Adams are hard characters to outclass given their kill count alone however Morton still manages to stand out from them for a couple of reasons. (In this regard please also consider the US President from the second movie as while he isn't one of the big bads he is a very prominent villain with obviously a huge number of resources who's responsible for many deaths so the same principle applies).

1. Resources- While Morton does have a vast array of resources at his disposal and several agents helping him we have to take into account the movie's setting which is during the great war, 100 years before The Secret Service even takes place, naturally the tech and equipment would not be anywhere on the same standard as either Valentine or Poppy who live in the modern day and have access to much, much more.

2. Overall Heinousness - Morton still manages to be a very despicable character with a ferocious temper, psychopathic traits and large body count, given that he caused the entire Great War to happen his body count is already in the millions and furthermore we see him killing dozens of people on screen, blowing up a boat, abusing his goats and intimidating many of his henchmen into submission with the threat of death. The fact that he also expects his allies to kill themselves should they fail him is also worth noting here.

Mitigating Factors

While at first glance Morton might appear tragic this isn't really the case. His motivation at first might be understandable given that English noblemen ruined his family's business however this isn't given much focus with the movie pretty much just presenting him as an angry nationalist and his plans hurt many more than the English and he doesn't care at all, simply wanting to do anything to wipe them off the map, completely devolving him of sympathy.

Other than this there is scene in which Erik Jan Hanussen apologises to him for accidentally compromising their plan by having the Zimmermann Telegraph actually delivered to the Americans meaning the English would now have secured victory however he doesn't kill him for this simply telling him that they can work around the issue. This however can also be explained as pragmatic villainy, as while he does place cyanide pills in all of his agents' rings should they fail him he isn't so reckless as to actually kill his most important and useful allies and to add further in the same scene he kills the man he was fencing with in anger over what Hanussen had told him anyway so it's not presented as mitigating.

His goats might also be considered this to some as he does mention his reasoning for the Shepherd motif being in the first place that he admires animals for always doing as their told, in spite of this however this isn't presented as affection or love as he unceremoniously kills one and abuses all of the rest, one of which is shown on screen and ultimately leads to his death.


An easy yes in my books, while Kingsman does have a high heinous standard Morton manages to easily stand out thanks both to how generally awful he is, causing one of the most of devastating wars in history and managing to use everything he had available to him to his absolute advantage.