Film Review: Kingsman; The Secret Service

Editor's Review

Summary

If you like spy movies, comedies or both, this is one for you.

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Many people are aware of the successful producer and director, Matthew Vaughn. This man has a lot going for him, including producing the crime comedy Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and directing the action-comedy comic book film Kick Ass. So, of course, his latest film Kingsman: The Secret Service was bound to have a lot of hype behind it, not too mention the star studded cast in addition.

Based on the comic book The Secret Service, the film follows young troublemaker Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton). After getting into trouble with the police, he is quickly released and confronted by Harry Hart (Colin Firth) who introduces him to the secret agency he works for, the Kingsmen. The kingsmen are currently investigating philanthropist and tycoon, Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) who they believe to be responsible for the sudden disappearances of VIPs all over the world. What they discover is a plot that threatens humanity itself, and it’s up to the kingsman and their latest recruit to stop them.

This whole film is an enjoyment to watch from start to finish. The movie follows the traditional James Bond formula. You got the suave hero, the dastardly villain, their equally evil (and cool) accomplice, a far fetched plot in which the hero saves the day and gets the girl. At first, it could be said that this is just begging audiences to think it is a parody, but this actually aids it in some very enjoyable scenes where the plot decides to rear its head and break the fourth wall. These scenes add to the humour of the film and lets audiences know what it is: a piss take. Granted, it is a very clever piss take but it is still in your face by how much of a satire it is.

The casting behind this is phenomenal, with actors such as Colin Firth, Mark Strong and even Michael Caine. Samuel L. Jackson gives a hilarious performance as the villain of the tale, and – even though it is hard to imagine him in such a role – Colin Firth pulls off a surprising performance as a suave secret agent and a wise mentor. Taron Egerton’s performance as the hero of the story is amazing, though at times he comes off cocky, and arrogant at a push. The other actors – though they have less screen time than Colin Firth and Taron Egerton – give brilliant and memorable performances. Mark Strong’s character of Merlin is enjoyable as the film’s equivalent of Q, though his Scottish accent does seem rather forced at times. Michael Caine does amazing as the agency’s chief. However, one of the characters that sold the film was Sofia Boutella, playing the side villain Gazelle. Beautiful and equipped with lethal blades for artificial legs, this character can be held on the same level as traditional Bond villains, like Jaws or Oddjob.

Though it isn’t a huge factor in the movie, the soundtrack is an enjoyable quality in the film. The composer Henry Jackman – who has worked with Matthew Vaughn in the past, as well as other hugely successful films – makes beautiful orchestra pieces which would fit perfectly in any spy flick. The few songs in this movie are well picked, especially a rather enjoyable fight scene with Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd playing in the background.

There is only one problem which is a bit annoying at times: the camera work. Throughout the majority of the film, it is fine…until the fight scenes, where a very annoying shaky cam takes over. This takes away some of the enjoyment in otherwise entertaining action sequences.

In conclusion, this is one of the best satires I have seen. Going into cinemas, audiences might be expecting something along the lines of Johnny English. However, with an army of big names in this film, clever writing, enjoyable humour, a plot which is far fetched but not to the point of cheesiness? If you like spy movies, comedies or both, this is one for you.

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