James Bond wishes he was this cool.
Loosely based on the graphic novel The Secret Service, Kingsman is a secret agent action comedy directed by Matthew Vaughn. A mashup of Vaughn’s Kick-Ass and every James Bond type spy thriller ever, this film juggles all the genre tropes until you’re dizzy and asking for more.
A talented, yet directionless young man, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) can’t help but find himself in trouble with the law. Fulfilling a debt he feels he owes to the young man’s father, Harry Hart (Colin Firth) takes Eggsy under his wing and introduces him the world of undercover super secret agents who operate outside the influence of any government organization – The Kingsmen. And guess what. They’re recruiting.
Kingsman also stars Michael Caine, Mark Strong, and Samuel L. Jackson. Mark Hamill and Jack Davenport appear as well.
Like any good spy thriller, there is a lunatic villain (Jackson) with an insane plan that will put the world in jeopardy. As Eggsy works his way through the ridiculously hard Kingsman job application, he doesn’t realize that his skills will soon be put to the test in a very real way. Heavily borrowing from, and then satirizing, every well known plot device in the genre, Kingsman doesn’t keep very many cards hidden. We know where this is going from the very beginning, but it’s the journey that matters.
Never resorting to straight up parody, Kingsman plays with the expected in the best ways possible. Sometimes by delivering just the opposite, and other times by jumping in head first and going all in. Yes it goofs around with familiar ground, but it also beats it’s own path and comes together as a cohesive story all it’s own. The stylized action is incredibly violent and incredibly satisfying in that crazy comicbook sort of way that Vaughn captured so well in Kick-Ass. The characters are as quick with their quips as they are with their guns, and just about nearly as devastating. Sure to offend some, this is a highly irreverent film, managing to jab just about everyone along the way.
As a larger than life eccentric villain, Jackson is perfectly ridiculous. As a lisping nerd afraid of blood, he plots out mass destruction with a smile. Firth is so suave and skilled at his job that you will forget he ever portrayed a man with a stutter. Newcomer Egerton is exceedingly British (as is everything about this film) and slips into this role like it was a nicely tailored suit.
There are a few points where I felt the film toed the line of decency a bit, but that’s the type of film it is. Its brand of satire and comedy isn’t going to pull back from landing any punches, and as long as you can roll with that, it is a wild ride. It’s loud, cartoonish, and brash. It’s clever, slick, and smart. This is the fun movie that the spy genre needed. It takes itself just seriously enough, building a believable, if exaggerated world. With action sequences just as wickedly choreographed as the jokes, it’s thrilling fun all around.
Mrs. Hamster says:
“It’s just great.”
My rating: Five out of five hats