By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B+ (3 stars)
20TH CENTURY FOX
Director, Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class) strikes back with a film adaptation of Kingsman: The Secret Service, based on the Marvel Icon comic book series by Kick-Ass writer, Mark Miller and Watchmen co-writer, Dave Gibbons. Apparently Vaughn made the decision to direct this after he dropped out of directing 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, and thankfully, despite the fact I enjoyed Vaughn’s direction for X-Men: First Class, Kingsman is a smart, stylish, and edgy spy comedy and it’s his second film adaptation of a Mark Miller comic book, the first being Kick-Ass back in 2010.
The film plays like a combination of James Bond, Pulp Fiction, and The Avengers (Not the Marvel comic book movie, the British spy TV show that was adapted into a cinematic mess in 1998), while still throwing in some original concepts and spy gadgets that we haven’t seen before. It’s no Bourne Ultimatum, but it’s certainly exciting and fun enough to come out of the theater satisfied.
The film is about a young man named Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton-Inspector Lewis, The Smoke) who is a troublemaking teenager who loves stealing cars and causing trouble. He is shortly caught by the police and taken to jail, where he eventually meets a mysterious man known as Harry “Galahad” Hart (Colin Firth-The King’s Speech, Nanny McPhee, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) who works for a secret organization known as the Kingsman.
Galahad recruits Eggsy to become a Kingsman agent and save the world from the evil Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson-Pulp Fiction, The Avengers, Django Unchained) and his blade-footed assistant, Gazelle (Sofia Boutella-Dancing with the Stars) who plan to hypnotize all the people in the world and have them all fight each other to the death.
Galahad, Eggsy, second Kingsman student, Roxy (Sophie Cookson-Moonfleet), and Kingsman teaching instructor, Merlin (Mark Strong-Sherlock Holmes, Kick-Ass, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) must find Richmond Valentine’s hideout, assassinate him, and save the world before V-Day (Oh, the irony!).
Overall, Kingsman: The Secret Service is a very fun film and one of my favorite films of this year so far, behind Selma, American Sniper, and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. It’s nice to see something fun, goofy, and a movie that doesn’t take itself seriously, especially after watching a large cluster of Oscar gold (Selma, American Sniper, The Imitation Game, etc.).
The cast is extremely engaging, much like the cast in films like Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers (The Marvel movie!). Colin Firth is a perfect choice as a Kingsman leader, Michael Caine is great in pretty much anything almost everything he touches is gold for me, Samuel L. Jackson is hilarious as the villain, who is eerily similar to Jules from Pulp Fiction, Nick Fury from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a little bit of the bad guy from Jumper.
I haven’t read any of the comic books, but from what I got out of this movie, it certainly made me want to read them. A similar response I made when Kick-Ass came out in 2010.
If you’re a fan of spy films like James Bond, Bourne, or even the spy spoof comedy, Get Smart, you’ll probably find something to enjoy in Kingsman: The Secret Service. It’s a stylized, humorous, and entirely fun spy adventure with strong characters, witty writing, and decent direction by the Man of MARV.