Kingsman: The Secret Service
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Starring Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Sophie Cookson, Sophia Boutella, and Mark Hamill.
Kingsman was a film that was only tangentially on my radar. All I knew was Matthew Vaughn, director of X-Men: First Class, quit Days of Future Past to go do it instead. All I knew it was some kind of James Bond takeoff, based on a comic book by Mark Millar. Then I took a step back and realized that it was pretty much the entire same creative team behind Kick-Ass. And I enjoyed Kick-Ass. I started wondering if they could do for the James Bond/superspy tropes that Kick-Ass did for superheroes. And then the first trailers came along, and they looked insane, and I knew I had to see it.
Eggsy is a young man from the wrong side of the tracks in London. His father died when he was very young, and he’s been in and out of trouble with the law for most of his life. One day, in a desperate bid to stay out of prison, he calls upon one of his father’s old colleagues, Harry Hart. And it turns out Mr. Hart is a man with a particular set of skills. He’s a member of an elite secret organization called the Kingsman, dedicated to maintaining law and order around the globe. And Harry thinks Eggsy has what it takes to be a new recruit. As Eggsy begins going through his training, Harry and the Kingsman begin investigating tech billionaire Richmond Valentine, who seems to be up to some nefarious scheme that seeks harm to the world. Will Eggsy complete his training? Can Harry take down Valentine before his plot comes to fruition?
What I Liked
This is just fun. There’s some fantastic fight scenes, and enough homages and touches and references to the James Bond formula that it helps to pay attention to catch them all. Much like Kick-Ass, there’s a sharp sense of satire running beneath it. Yeah, they poke fun at the formula, but it comes from a place of love. Colin Firth is great as Harry Hart, really shaking that rom-com image he seems to have. Samuel L. Jackson is a great Bond-style villain, and just the right amount of over the top. Plus, it is a little nerd-tacular to see Luke Skywalker and Mace Windu sharing a scene.
What I Didn’t Like
Well, kind of the same problem I had with Kick-Ass. While it does have fun being self-referential and pointing out the tropes of the genre, it winds up following the formula just a little too closely, resulting in the film being a bit formulaic.
Just a fun movie. A great skewering and love letter to the James Bond and all of the superspy genre.