Kingsman: The Secret Service (Spoiler Free Review)
A fun spy action-thriller that should have been subtitled as "How to demote James Bond".
Genre: Action / Adventure / Comedy
Directors: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Boutella, Mark Hamill, Mark Strong, Sophie Cookson, Edward Holcroft & Michael Caine Run Time: 129 min.
US Release: 13 February 2015
UK Release: 29 January 2015
German Release: 12 March 2015 Kingsman: The Secret Service is an action-adventure comedy, directed by Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake & Kick-Ass) and loosely based on the graphic novel The Secret Service, created and written by Mark Millar. The movie was released March 12th, in Germany and stars Colin Firth as Harry Hart, Taron Egerton as Eggsy, Samuel L. Jackson as Richmond Valentine, Mark Strong as Merlin and Michael Cain as Chester King.
The plot follows the recruitment of young Eggsy into Kingsman, a super-secret spy organisation. He learns that his father used to be friends with his recruiter Harry Hart while uncovering more mysteries about the firm. The danger arises when tech genius and billionaire Richmond Valentine uses a newly developed technology, to threaten the nations and celebrities of the world.
Vaughn created a perfect comedic homage to old British spy films, yet it feels new and fresh at the same time, through the use of modern style action scenarios in the story. The respect and love this director has for the material, does transcend throughout the run-time of this motion picture, as every scene was shot and choreographed to near perfection. The blend of morbid and cheesy humour gives the feature that extra appeal, something Vaughn has proved to be good at with a lot of his projects and reminding me a little of Kick-Ass.
Every character in it is perfectly fleshed out, showing vulnerability and humanity at some point or another. Taron Egerton, a relative newcomer, does a brilliant job, portraying the main protagonist Eggsy. The audience is able to feel his internal struggle, trying to prove that a kid from the streets can be just as good or even better than a privileged boy. Egerton portrays the growing relationship to his mentor Harry immensely good, as the later one becomes Eggsy’s father figure.Colin Firth is perfect as Harry Hart! I wasn’t sure about the casting choice before watching Kingsman and was a little worried, as Firth is not known for his action-rich portrayals. However, he does knock it out of the park and even gives his characters deep emotional layers, proving that he was yet another excellent casting choice for this film.
The villains are brilliantly elaborated as well, praising the classic Bond baddie such as Blofeld or Oddjob. Samuel L. Jackson’s performance as Richmond Valentine is iconic and most entertaining, as the lisp, he developed for his persona, not only contrasts his genius intellect but serves as pure comedic gold. What I liked most about Valentine, is the fact that the viewer understands his motivation regarding his actions. From his point of view, he is actually making the right decision. Gazelle, Valentine’s personal bodyguard (and possible love interest?), played by Sophia Boutella serves as the physically dangerous counterpart, to Valentine's genius.
The only complaint I have is that I would have wished for a better character development and more screen time to Michael Cain’s Chester King, leader of the Kingsmen. The story reveals only little knowledge about him, making a specific outcome less shocking.
The script, developed by Vaughn and Jane Goldman as an adaption to Millar’s graphic novel The Secret Service, is very well written. The dialogues are funny, smart and truly colourful. Yes, it has the occasional cheesy one-liners but I wasn't disappointed when I heard them, as even these are new and never heard before. Quite a couple of conversations even have socio-political messages, for example; the fading aristocracy in England, or the growing population problem on Earth.
I love the cinematography! The action scenes, especially that very graphic church fight, are fantastically shot. They do remind of the Sherlock Holmes fights in the Guy Ritchie movies, though take them a step further up. My personal favourite, however, is the artistic way in which the decapitations are depicted. The lighting is really good and, of course, there is CGI involved but it is masterfully handled. I didn’t really notice it unless it was blatantly obvious!
The music in this spy flick is absolutely awesome. From Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing at the beginning to Dizzee Rascal’s Bonkers used for the car chase, there is no musical score that doesn't suit the situation. My favourite score, though, must be the guitar solo of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird during the church fight. That scene combined with the fast-paced guitar is manic!
Verdict: One of the biggest pros I can give this picture, is the fact that it manages to pay tribute to the classic English spy movies, by staying true to its own style without ever taking itself too important. It even criticises the newer spy films as being too serious! Kingsman is one of the better action flicks that lately hit the screen, it is not perfect but it isn’t far from it, making this a role model for other action-comedies. This spy-thriller deserves an 8.5 out of 10 and it is one of the movies I can honestly recommend to go see in cinemas!
Before I forget, if you go Kingsman: The Secret Service, don’t get up immediately when the credits start rolling, as there is a mid-credit scene that will make you smirk. So, what were your opinions on Kinsman: The Secret Service?