First, think of the most overused plot of an espionage action thriller. Throw in a young, rebellious kid who dares to walk in his father’s once-proud footsteps. Finally, mix in a cartoonish super-villian with unbelievable plans to destroy the world and a super-secret spy agency that is at their wit’s end in their attempts to stop him. All together, you get Matthew Vaughn‘s ridiculously fun Kingsman: The Secret Service. If you’re looking for a good time at the movies, with absolutely zero thinking involved, then you’ve come to the right place.
James Bond, minus the talking
In many of the original James Bond films, of which Kingsman was clearly influenced by, much of the film was focused almost primarily on dialogue and plot, with little action other than the occasional car chase or gun fight. In Kingsman, it is much the opposite.
The story is focused on Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton), an adolescent who has an obvious problem with authority. Yet, he also possesses a sense of loyalty about him, a quality that just might help him land a job with the Kingsmen, a top-secret spy agency equipped with all of the latest in advanced weapons, including a rather useful gun/umbrella. The agency is co-led by Harry Hart (Colin Firth), who in addition to his mentorship of Eggsy, is also investigating a terrorist plot by Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), a billionaire that is currently handing out free SIM phone chips to everyone in the world, which would grant them instant cellular and Internet access. Why? Because he is just that generous.
A riot of a good time
As I mentioned, though, the plot is not that important. You have all the basic building blocks of a spy action movie, so the only thing left now is to throw in some incredibly over-the-top, gratuitous violence. For those who have seen Matthew Vaughn‘s films in the past, you know just how little he holds back. In Kick-Ass, for example, we see a 12-year-old girl violently massacre an entire room of gangsters, and in the goriest, most brutal fashion possible. It is a quality that Vaughn is often criticized for, yet here he uses just the right amount.
Don’t get me wrong, the action scenes don’t hold back on the blood, but they are also so excessive that you are likely to laugh rather than be tempted to look away. In a rather memorable scene, a character attacks and kills an entire church-load of people, while the guitar solo from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” rocks in the background. Fast-paced guitar riffs time along with flying limbs, gushing blood, and people impaled on the sharp ends of broken church pews. It’s about as necessary as a broken finger. But just try not to get caught up in its exuberant energy.
Slick and suave
The often-stylishly cool special effects of the film combine with the suave and calm mannerisms of the Kingsmen themselves. As Colin Firth‘s character says at one point: “Manners maketh man.” And there is no one out there with better manners than the Kingsmen, who could easily pass as the most gentlemanly person in the room (at least until you piss them off). The character is by far one of the better roles that Firth has done in recent years. His composed, collected manner somehow smoothly mixes with his other personality, wherein he becomes a twisting, blurred tornado of violence. And that’s even without the very advanced and efficient weaponry that the group uses, which includes a bulletproof suit, lighter hand grenades, and an extendable boot-knife that emits a lethal neurotoxin upon attack. This is one agency you don’t want to mess with.
Relative newcomer Taron Egerton plays Eggsy, the main protégé under the guidance of Harry Hart, who also worked alongside his father. Eggsy couldn’t be any different from him, though, and does not appear to possess even a smidgen of that insatiable British charm. But he’s got a few tricks up his own sleeve and, as you may guess, it is really up to him to save the day by the end of the film, when Valentine’s evil plans are finally revealed and the world is in dire straits. Egerton, who has basically just started out in the industry with only a few movies under his belt, is surprisingly able to hold his own, even against such veteran actors as Colin Firth, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, and Samuel L. Jackson. He is young, but talented, and I could easily see this franchise moving forward with him in the future.
So, let’s be honest here, is Kingsman a must-see masterpiece that people will rave about for years to come? Maybe not. But is it a no-holds-barred escapade of thrills and fun? You can bet it is. Basically, it’s exactly what you want it to be. No more, no less.
Did you see Kingsman yet? What did you think? Share your thoughts below!