Is The Sequel Better Than The First?
Based on the hit manga, written by Yasuhisa Hara, Kingdom 2 Far and Away is the latest installment of live action movies from the franchise. The movie was released back in 2022 but has been gaining worldwide popularity with its recent re-release onto one of the biggest live streaming sites on the planet, Netflix.
Is the Sequel Better Than the First?
Kingdom 2 Far and Away gives the audience that fix of grand battles, great choreographed fight scenes, but feels more like a training arc rather than a grand adventure. The pacing is about what one would expect from a movie that is a little over two hours long. At a steady pace so that the writers can tell the story that needed to be told. When talking about the plot, that is where some viewers may like it while others may think the writers could have combined several arcs into one movie to make it more interesting. Not to say that the plot does not keep the view entertained, but this is mostly done by the grand battles that take place. If a viewer has not watched the first movie, keeping up with what happens in the second might be a challenge. These battles take up a majority of the movie and when there is downtime to try and get some character development, it seems to be quick. However, setting and aesthetic are two things that definitely improved from the first movie. Most of the movie is set in a huge desert-like battlefield where new and old characters will be fighting for their lives.
The atmosphere is a little different this time around. There could be several reasons why. One of them being the lack of main characters that were introduced in the first movie, are hardly seen in Kingdom 2. Of course, this is partially solved by replacing them with new characters, some fan favorites to be told.
Elements Added & Lost
Kingdom 2 was basically carried by Kento Yamazaki (Shin) and Nana Seino (Kyokai). The addition of Nana Seino as Kyokai was a pleasant addition and seeing how her character develops throughout the movie is one of the better aspects of it. The character also brings a new style of fighting that has not been showcased in Kingdom before and is incredible to watch. Her presence and overall setting of the movie helps the viewer realize that China is vast and has many different people living in it. Kento Yamazaki was brilliant as always, there is a reason the man is so busy. Netflix lovers might also know him from several other projects that Netflix has picked up. His performance as Shin, the boy who wants to be the greatest general is what readers of the manga had come to love.
Warning: Small spoilers ahead!!
On the flipside, Ryo Yoshizawa, who played two characters in the last movie, but is mostly known as Ei Sei. The king who wants to unify China, is hardly featured in Kingdom 2. Of course, the story explains why, yet it might be one of its greatest weak points. The first movie ended with Ei Sei claiming he will be the first ruler to unify China, even if he must conquer the entire land to do so. Yet Kingdom 2 shows Ei Sei for a little bit in the beginning, partially in the middle and finally again towards the end. It makes the overall stakes of the movie feel mediocre compared to the first. With that being said, there is hope for the future of the live action franchise.
Like most movie franchises that come out and have multiple parts to them, there is bound to be one that just feels like a filler arc. Kingdom 2 may give that vibe of a filler arc, more of stepping stone towards a bigger and encompassing story, but it still delivers great entertainment for fans of the movies and manga alike. While there might be some slight hiccups to the story, there are definite improvements to things like camera work, chorography and cinematography. The movie helps the viewer understand more about our main character and the development of Shin throughout the movie will no doubt showcase itself in the next installment.
As the movie grows and gets further along, so too does the reach that the writers can take from the manga. There are arcs that have not yet been explored that fans would love to see make it onto the next movie. The manga has been going since 2006 and one thing that the movie clearly takes seriously are the battles. Kingdom 2 has some of the best fight scenes with armies that have ever been produced. The camera helps the viewer feel as if they are witnessing the whole thing happen right in front of their own eyes. Classic camera effects like having a look at the armies from above showcase just how seriously the development team took the huge fight scenes. Even adding classic military strategies from the manga and history itself. Viewers can expect bigger and better fight scenes and a long form of storytelling from Kingdom 2.
Worth the Time?
With all that said, given the chance, watching this movie in theaters would have been amazing. With the overall atmosphere of the movie and amazing battles, viewing it on the big screen is the way to go. However, watching the first movie and then the second at home is hard to beat. If viewers want to watch both the first and second movie, they can be found on Netflix. Better get caught up soon, the third movie was already announced!
Kingdom 2: Far and Away Trailer