Two films were released on Valentine’s Day weekend, one of them was based on E.L. James’ novel series Fifty Shades of Grey and the other was a little movie by the name of “Kingsman: The Secret Service”. Kingsman based off of graphic novel titled “The Secret Service” is directed by Mathew Vaughn (X-Men the First Class, Kick-ass) starring Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson and a whole slew of “Oh it’s that guy!” actors. Mark Hamill makes an appearance, as does Jack Davenport (Commodore Norrington from Pirates of the Caribbean) and newcomer Taron Egerton.
The movie was initially set to be released late last year similar to current releases Jupiter Ascending and Seventh Son, but all three were not ready for their initial release dates and they were pushed back to February. Whereas Jupiter Ascending has been panned for its zany effects and hard to follow plot, and Seventh Son has been criticized for casting talented actors and giving them nothing to work with, the release date for Kingsman worked to the film’s advantage
The first thing I should say about the film is that it is rated R for a reason. If you can’t do violent movies, stay away. Without giving too much away, the movie features a scene in a Southern church congregation being totally massacred by Colin Firth.
This is probably one of the more violent movies out right now. To put it into perspective, we watch a man get sliced in half and fall into two whole pieces. That being said, this is also probably the most fun I’ve had at the movies in awhile. There wasn’t a single slump in the plot at all. It was a slick, hilarious, fun ride. This film was intended as a James Bond movie from the ’60s, complete with a bunker on a private island, ridiculous spy gadgets like an umbrella as a shield and the standard knife blade in a shoe, and a henchwoman by the name of Gazelle played by Sofia Boutella, who uses metal prosthetic legs with razor blades as weapons.
The Kingsman is a secret organization of British spies with upscale, “gentlemanly” style that works in secret. They wear fine suits, high tech glasses that work like cameras, and carry umbrellas used as weapons. They use code names such as “Arthur” for their leader Michael Caine, “Merlin” for tech guy Mark Strong, “Galahad” for smart guy Colin Firth, and “Lancelot” for the new, young recruits. The movie is taking the spy film genre and turning it on its head, much like Vaughn’s film “Kick-ass“ did for superhero films. The characters make references to spy movies throughout the film. “Is this where I tell you my grand plan?” “It’s not that kind of movie bro”, none of it is obnoxious, it’s all very tongue and cheek. For example Samuel L. Jackson is playing the villain Richmond Valentine who speaks with a lisp and can’t stand the sight of blood or guts. And in true Samuel L. Jackson’s style, the character drops generous amounts of F bombs throughout the movie with a sly grin.
The movie follows young Gary Eggsy Unwin. A young man with remarkable potential who can’t seem to find a place in the world, after getting dropped from the military and failing out of school. He’s a punk kid with an authority problem. Colin Firth enters the picture as Harry, a man who knew Eggsy’s father – they were Kingsman together. Harry acts as Eggsy’s guide as he finds himself thrust headfirst into the world of espionage. The movie has tropes similar to the spy genre, but also, not. The other kingsman recruits along with Eggsy fall into somewhat stereotype parts. There’s the rich kid who got in only because his family had money, the awkward nerdy girl, the bully who gets his comeuppance, and the girl Roxy who is Eggsy’s equal. Who plays against trope of being Eggsy’s love interest, she’s more of a friend and supporter. Other standouts include Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Taran Egerton, and Sofia Boutella.
I won’t spoil the ending, nor will I give away much more. All I can say is, go see it. Sometimes we need fun violent action movies to get our minds off the real world. Mathew Vaughn makes movies that are meant to be a good time. I will definitely pay to see a sequel or prequel to the Kingsman. Usually around this time of year movies released are romantic films banking on date nights, duds that won’t make any money and a few gems like this one. It’s a good time, reminiscent of the Sean Connery era of Bond films, with a finale that is sure to have people talking about it for a long time. A lot of people are going to see 50 Shades of Grey in the next few weeks and it’s going to make a lot of money. Hopefully Kingsman can gain some much-deserved attention this season.
Final score 10/10.