A few months ago I was asked by a reader of this blog to review Kingsman: The Secret Service, but since it had only just finished at the cinema and I hadn’t gone to see it, I couldn’t oblige.
Why it didn’t catch my eye when it was on, I couldn’t tell you, but a quick google search shows that it had mixed reviews, with The Telegraph giving it one star (describing it as obnoxious) and Empire Magazine awarding it four stars, which by their standards means ‘excellent’. Perhaps I only caught the negative ones.
Anyway, since that request, I’ve seen nothing but praise for this movie; not from the press, but from punters who went along and loved it.
Someone even described it to me as one of the best films they’ve ever seen.
So this morning, I finally got a chance to sit down and watch it.
Movies – Kingsman: The Secret Service Review – What’s It About?
Not so much a parody but a comedic love-letter to spy films of old,Kingsman is about a young working class Londoner who is brought in to a top secret – and incredibly upper class – British spy agency, and must
help save the world from an evil billionaire who plans to use mobile technology to cull most of mankind in a bid to save the planet from ecological decline.
Movies – Kingsman: The Secret Service Review – Who’s In It?
Though I wasn’t familiar with lead actor Taron Egerton (which is unsurprising considering he only seems to have five acting credits to his name), Kingsman is loaded with well-known actors like Michael Caine, Jack Davenport, Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Firth, Mark Strong and even Mark Hamill.
Quite the collection.
Movies – Kingsman: The Secret Service Review – My Thoughts
There’s a scene halfway through the film where Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson discuss how spy films are so serious nowadays and that the old James Bond films with the over-the-top megalomaniac super villains were much more entertaining.
Now clearly this is a metatextual reference to what Kingsman is trying to achieve, and I think it sums it up perfectly.
As much as people like the Telegraph’s movie reviewer might think this is obnoxious, for my money it’s what spy films should be about.
Kingsman has the thrills, spills, action scenes and special effects that you would hope to get from any James Bond type movie and indeed it’s probably got quite a bit more violence, but it does it in a way that’s designed to entertain and make people chuckle; something which modern Bond has forgotten.
But Kingsman adapts it for a modern age and a modern viewer. There’s humour, there’s lots of swearing – and not for shock value, like when Judi Dench swore in Skyfall and Bond forums went into meltdown, but rather because it’s just how people talk – and there’s a certain appeal to it that should mean most people find something to enjoy.
The story itself has a good flow that not only builds up the main character to the point where he’s equipped for the final showdown with the villain at the end, but also allows for high points to keep you entertained until he gets there. I found the scene in the church quite a daring thing for any film to present.
And speaking of daring, the joke at the end where the Princess declares that if Eggsy manages to save the world, she’ll give him anal sex was controversial but hilarious. It’s a joke that’s designed to go one step further than the sort of cheeky ‘Bottoms Up’ style joke you’d find in some of these older films, but takes it that deliberate step over the edge. The zoom in on her bare arse just hammered that point home.
If I was to criticise it for anything, it would be that the way it’s directed – with each action sequence filled with slow shots – seems to weighted too greatly towards viewing it in 3D. That sort of gimmickry has long since past its sell by date.
To sum up though, I found Kingsman: The Secret Service to be thoroughly entertaining and would give it the thumbs up.
If you haven’t seen it yet, look it out.
Calls to Action
b) Read about my books – focussing on reviews of Doctor Who from the very beginning – here
c) If you appreciate my sense of humour, go ‘Stuart’s Exciting Anecdote of the Day’