While Kingsman: The Secret Service was on my list of most anticipated movies in 2015, I did go in with significantly low expectations. The movie’s been maligned by release date changes in the past year, leaving it in an uncomfortable February release slot. However, I’m happy to say that this movie was a breath of fresh air.
Based on the comic book by Mark Millar, Kingsman: The Secret Service paints the story of a troubled, athletic teenager who’s suddenly recruited by a top-secret league of British spies. Action-packed and hysterically twisted, Kingsman: The Secret Service is a fun little movie that harkens back to the spy flicks of old. This is the first movie I saw in 2015, and if it’s any indication of the year to come, then it looks like we’re in for a treat.
What I liked
This movie is lined with solid actors, ranging from A-listers like Samuel L. Jackson and Mark Strong to newcomers like Taron Egerton and Sophie Cookson. Everyone plays his or her part convincingly enough, but Kingsman has a secret weapon in Colin Firth’s character. I never expected him to be mediocre, but Colin Firth was never really known as someone to star as an action hero…until now. His character was one of the most interesting in the whole movie. Firth plays into the role of an uptight British gentleman perfectly, but when the punches start flying; he kicks everything into overdrive in the most maniacal way. Colin Firth could put Jack Bauer to shame.
The action in this movie is another thing to be admired. With previous projects like Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class, director Matthew Vaughn has proven he knows what it takes to keep action exciting. Each fight scene is choreographed brilliantly, and every shot is edited in such a jovial way. It makes the action funny, in a way. Every fight is fiendishly entertaining, especially when Colin Firth is involved.
Kingsman also finds a ton of humor in its self-awareness that, in lesser hands, could have easily been misused. Luckily, Matthew Vaughn knows what he’s doing. The movie’s characters actually discuss old spy movies like the 007 and Bourne franchises as if they were from a different universe. But in reality, Kingsman plays out like a light-hearted entry in the franchises it alludes to. This self-awareness coupled with the over-the-top action adds to the comedy of the film, hiding its underwhelming plot behind a false sense of originality.
What I didn’t like
First of all, the movie’s target demographic (high school and college-aged males) is a bit too obvious at times. Knowing your audience isn’t a bad thing, but for those who don’t fall into that demographic, there will be some cringe-worthy moments. These moments range from blatant sexism to childishly vulgar jokes. Both of which really put me off.
On another note, the violence in this movie was way too much at times. I know mentioning it as a negative is a bit contradictory, considering how I classified the movie’s action as a positive, but hear me out. I understand the movie was intended to be violent. I understand it’s a style of filmmaking that some people find enjoyable. But every single scene of action was stylized and glorified, regardless of its implication. I refuse to post anything spoiler-y, but there is one particular scene involving Colin Firth in a crowd full of “enemies” that is bound to ignite some well-deserved controversy.
On a much more minor note, some of the product placement in this movie was a bit “in your face.” This isn’t the kind of thing that would ruin a movie, but when someone looks back at Kingsman five to ten years down the line, I can guarantee someone will ask, “Who is Iggy Azalea?”
Kingsman: The Secret Service isn’t a masterpiece. It isn’t some comic-book movie classic that will go down in history. But it sure as heck is fun to watch. It’s a welcome rush of comedic relief after the wave of serious Oscar-nominated films, and it’s bound to get some sort of sequel.
Tell me what you think of Kingsman: The Secret Service!