By Matthew Soall
Going into Kingsman: The Secret Service, I had a vague idea of what to expect. Something along the lines of Kick Ass, but for the James Bond genre.
Well, I got it, alright, and damn did I enjoy it!
Kingsman was the first film of 2015 for me, not counting 50 Shades of Grey (which wasn’t really a film), and it was great to see that not all movies were sent to the February release dates to die.
The film starts off in very typical James Bond fashion. Two guys, hanging off the side of a helicopter, go guns blazing into an enemy stronghold in the Middle East. At this early point in the film, I thought I had the narrative pegged. This was going to be two hours of Super Spy badassery. But a few minutes is all the “action junkies” will get, as we are introduced to Colin Firth’s character Galahad.
Galahad is in the progress of training his apprentice to take on the role of Lancelot when tragedy strikes and his apprentice is killed in the line of duty.
The next time we see Firth’s Galahad, he is breaking the news of the soldier’s death to his wife and her son Gary “Eggsy” Unwin. Galahad leaves them both with the promise that he will assist them if ever the need arises.
The film then takes us to a grown up Eggsy, who, after an altercation with local thugs resulting in a police chase, calls in the favour owed to him by Galahad. He begins his journey to become a Super Spy known only as a Kingsman.
As I mentioned earlier, this film shares a lot with the 2010 film Kick-Ass. Kingsman is based on a graphic novel by Mark Millar and directed by Matthew Vaughn, the same as Kick-Ass, which means that both films share a certain tone.
Kingsmen is a violent film in a very cartoony way, and the filmmakers have taken great care to fit the film into the comic movie genre without being overtly beholden to it. The film owes more to classic James Bond films than classic superhero tropes.
When I describe the violence as cartoony, I mean in the way violent acts are portrayed on screen. Heads explode like fireworks with very little blood, the action sequences focus more on the actions of the participants and less on the results of the damage they inflict, except for one notable scene towards the end of the film. Should your kids see it? No! Will you be bombarded with blood and gore? Not really.
The choice of cast for the film was most fitting. Colin Firth’s Galahad is the truest embodiment of the gentlemen spy, right down to the suit and shoes. Firth’s performance is a rather enjoyable one, you can’t help but like him.
Taron Egerton’s apprentice spy “Eggsy” Unwin offers an easy vehicle for the audience to travel along the story with. He gets most of the laughs in the film, and deservedly so. He also manages many interesting moments with supporting cast.
Speaking of which, with the likes of Samuel L. Jackson as a villain with a messiah complex, Tom Strong as the guiding hand Merlin, and Michael Cain as the asshole at the head of the round table, you get a very talented and eager to please supporting cast.
So, what didn’t I enjoy about Kingsman? Well, for starters, the supporting character of Roxy (Sophie Cookson) seemed underdeveloped. I kept getting the impression that she was important, but I don’t know why.
My other little gripe was with the fight scenes. The scenes were truly epic, but due to severe stylisations, they became hard to follow at times, which decreased my enjoyment.
I love walking into a film with no expectations and to walk out with a new personal favourite. Kingsman is a great way to start the 2015 movie year. With an awesome blend of action and comedy, it is defiantly with worth the price of admission.