Film Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Written by Ryan DeMarco

Kingsman Poster

Kingsman: The Secret Service Plot Summary:

Kingsman tells the story of a super-secret spy organization located in London. When gentlemen posh secret agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) rescues a streetwise youth (Taron Egerton) from a life of petty crime he sends him off to be trained as the next generation of Kingsman spy. Meanwhile, a global threat emerges from an insane tech megalomaniac, Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson).

While the world went to the theater this weekend to see chains, whips, and cheap sex, another little gem was released as well. That would be Matthew Vaughn’s latest film, Kingsman: The Secret Service. Vaughn’s latest, a super over the top, overly indulgent, no holds barred, thoroughly enjoyable spy adventure is based off the comic book by Mark Millar and is essentially a love letter to old school James Bond movies from the past 50 years.

Photo Credit: Jaap Buitendjik/Twentieth Century FOX
Photo Credit: Jaap Buitendjik/Twentieth Century FOX

Harry Hart is a well-seasoned secret agent who becomes the Obi-Wan Kenobi to Eggsy, a good natured boy who is headed down the wrong path despite some promising skills he may possess. Tortured that his mother stays with an abusive dirt bag, Eggsy finds out that his biological father was once a Kingsman who gave his life years earlier that saved the lives of fellow agents, including Hart, and now that the boy has come of age, he has been chosen to begin training as the next generation of spy.

Kingsman is a highly advanced independent secret service that is not associated with any known government, as it operates though a simple tailor shop in the heart of London. It’s preposterous, but it’s told in such a high fashioned, elegant style that you are quickly picked up and taken along for the ride. Reality quickly goes out the door, where it belongs.

The first half takes its necessary time to build up the story while Eggsy trains in deadly scenarios with a hand full of other cadets who are contending to make it into that one open spot on the Kingsman roster. While the spot is being contended for we enter the world of Richmond Valentine, a psychotic tech genius with a heavy lisp that could compete with Mike Tyson, who plans to kill off large chunks of the population with free internet. You read that right. Jackson does a wonderful job delivering some of the films most unexpected and highlighted gags including serving fancy wine with Big Macs, which results in a “Happy Meal” according to Hart.

Photo Credit: Jaap Buitendjik/Twentieth Century FOX
Photo Credit: Jaap Buitendjik/Twentieth Century FOX

This movie screams 007, which is a good amount of its draw. From the ludicrous plot to the impressive and very capable cast of characters that include a henchwoman with two razor sharp blades for feet. Also add a slew of sheer references that would make Ian Fleming proud, which include shaken martinis, tailor suit talk, and loads and loads of nifty gadgets that of course play out at a convenient moment to save a character’s life.

Everyone on board are a sheer delight. Colin Firth absolutely dominates as Harry Hart.  You would never recognize him as the winner of Best Actor just a few years back for The King’s Speech. Each scene is commanded by Firth, especially (and quite surprisingly) during the films action pieces. You can tell he is having a blast taking a roll like this. I wouldn’t be against seeing him casted in another actioneer in the near future. Sam Jackson continues his streak of delivering a strong character performance, and honestly is the reason the film is able to work even with all of its bat shit craziness.

The real surprise of the film was Taron Egerton, who plays the central character. Judging from the previews, I had no clue how well the new comer would be able to carry the film and I am happy to say that he does so gracefully. With just the right balance of charisma and humor, Egerton achieves what some A-list actors have a tough time getting, in my opinion. If history repeats we will be seeing more of Egerton. Vaughn has had a reputation of starting up some of the biggest careers like Aaron Johnson, Sienna Miller, and Mr. Bond himself, Daniel Craig.

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century FOX
Photo Credit: Twentieth Century FOX

Vaughn does masterful work again with both the script, which was co-written with frequent collaborator Jane Goldman, and with the camera with wild action shots and crazy over the top moments. They strike the perfect balance. With the right balance of action and character driven story, Matthew Vaughn’s latest is a home run.

Overall, Kingsman: The Secret Service is an incredible, Bond meets acid trip that will satisfy those looking for badass action and fans of the spy genre. Colin Firth dominates, Jackson delights, and newcomer Egerton surprises, along with some nice support work from Michael Caine, Mark Hamill and Mark Strong. My only quarrel being the film loses a little steam going into its third act when Valentine is preparing to unleash his global attack, along with some uneven parts midway through. However the talent of the cast, razor sharp witty script and head bursting action quickly even it out in the end.

Rating: 8.5/10

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