In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been looking forward to the film Kingsman: The Secret Service. The film primarily peaked my interest due to the fact that its writer-director Matthew Vaughn’s next film. Vaughn is the man behind such films as Snatch (he was the producer on that film) and later directing films like Layer Cake, Kick-Ass, and 2011’s X-Men: First Class reboot. Vaughn dropped out of directing X-Men: Days of Future Past to direct this film, which was a wise choice since Days of Future Past ended up being the best X-Men film yet, even better than Vaughn’s superb First Class. Going back to Kingsman, the film looks to be a return to the extravagant and fun spy films of yesteryear, particularly the Bond films before Daniel Craig’s time. I was able to get into an advanced screening of the film a few nights back, and here’s my review of Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Kingsman, which is based on the comic book The Secret Service, tells the story of Eggsy, a young man living in the more impoverished sections of London played by Taron Edgerton (no relation to Joel Edgerton). Eggsy’s father was a Kingsman, which is a secret spy organization that help save the world from time to time. After a run in with the police, Eggsy gets recruited by the Harry Hart of the Kingsman, played by Colin Firth, to become an agent in their organization. While being recruited by the organization, there is a new threat in the world, and his name is Richmond Valentine, a famous American billionaire played by Samuel L. Jackson, who has a plan to take out a good chunk of the population by controlling people with SIM cards. It’s up to the Kingsman organization to stop the man.
Vaughn co-wrote the screenplay with longtime collaborator Jane Goldman, with the two having both written every one of Vaughn’s films since Stardust. The film is pretty similar in tone to both First Class and a little bit of Kick-Ass, in that it’s an action film that is very over-the-top, but is very self-aware of it and the film has a blast doing it. The film’s plot is stupid as hell, but the film has a lot of fun telling that story, and I had a lot of fun watching the film. Kingsman: The Secret Service is far from a perfect movie, but its imaginative and creative set pieces, as well as the performances by the actors and the script make the film being one of the few highlights of an early 2015.
Colin Firth has a lot of fun being a secret agent who can kick a lot of ass, and newcomer Taron Edgerton is one of the great finds this year, and I hope that the actor gets a lot of work after this films release. We also get some nice supporting roles from Mark Strong as what is the Kingsman version of Q, and Michael Caine makes (albeit a small supporting one) as the leader of the Kingsman. But one of the main highlights of the film was the very over-the-top but fun performance that Samuel L. Jackson gives in the film. Jackson is still yelling and cursing his way through the film to the audiences delight (with a very funny lisp in the film), and he’s a lot of fun to watch on-screen. Honestly, its one of Jackson’s better performances as of recent, and he’s easily one of the highlights of this film.
As I mentioned before, the film is very much in the vein of the James Bond films of yesteryear (the Roger Moore films with a little sprinkle of the absurdness of the Pierce Brosnan films), and it works. I really admire Vaughn for doing a spy film that isn’t as serious or gritty as the Bourne films or even the modern-day Bond films. It’s a fun and absurd two-hour romp, and I enjoyed the film right until the end. The only problems that I had with Kingsman was that there was one scene of shameless product placement that was pretty stupid. I won’t reveal the product or scenario for spoiler reasons (I feel somebody would bitch and moan about me revealing that), but it was kind of stupid moment that made you think that having this certain brand probably helped finance the film. And as fun and funny as the film could be at times, there were a few jokes here and there that fell flat for me, but that’s just me.
Don’t go into Kingsman thinking that you’re going to see a masterpiece, because you’ll be sorely disappointed if you do. But if you go in just wanting to watch a stupid but well written and fun spy film, then you’ll be in for a treat with Kingsman: The Secret Service. The film opens Valentines Day Weekend, alongside the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey (sorry to disappoint ladies, but I probably won’t be reviewing that one), and I’m really hoping that people go see the film. I don’t know how many comics are in this series, but if the film does well enough, and the filmmakers are up for it, I’d love to see a Kingsman franchise. This has potential to be one of the more exciting and fun movie franchises, but one can only hope.