Ho-ly hell this movie is fun! Like “wheeeeee!” roller coaster fun. It’s been awhile since I’ve walked out of a movie seriously considering buying a ticket to walk straight back in, but it was hard to leave the theatre on this one. If I didn’t have obligations (damn you, kitty litter!), I would have been back in theatre 2 in a heartbeat.
On with the show.
General and Plot:
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a throwback to early Bond-style spy with modern comedy sewn in for flavor, rarely taking itself seriously, if at all. In some movies, it might suffer for that, but Kingsman doesn’t seem to.
Basically, this is an Origin Story of what – if this goes well – will likely be a franchise featuring our newest spy-in-training, Eggsy. It certainly feels like an origin story in that most of the film is taken with the training portion, but because Eggsy is not our only focus, it is not overwhelmed by this. Probably because they couldn’t be certain of the franchise bit.
So, while Eggsy is learning the ropes and being tested and such, Harry (aka Galahad – they all have Arthurian code names, which is adorably lame) is going around trying to work out and then take down a criminal doing … something bad. We don’t really know what, actually, until pretty far into the movie. We know he’s kidnapping Professors and Princesses, so we know he’s bad. And he’s got a lisp and an assistant with metal legs that she cuts folks in half with, so… that, too.
Eventually, things come to a head when the entire world is threatened, of course. Because that’s how shit goes in such movies. If the entire world isn’t threatened and a dude in a suit isn’t the answer to the problem, then what’s the point?
Lots and lots of absurdly beautiful action occurs. End of film.
I was in love the whole time. (I’ll be honest, “people are a virus” isn’t exactly original, but since that wasn’t the main driving point of the film, I didn’t care.)
Colin Firth did an amazing job. I never doubted he would, of course. I mean, anything he couldn’t do action-wise, stunt guys or CGI could, so that was no problem.
Plus, they were coming at it from a gentleman fighter standpoint anyway, so I saw no reason for him not to be as Mr. Darcy as he wanted, or as the director wanted. I loved him. I loved his posh hair being all wild in fight scenes. I loved his neutral face becoming slightly emotional when necessary. I’ve never appreciated him as much as I did in this film.
Also, if he did even a quarter of the action in this movie, Liam Neeson/Taken him the heck up. I want to see him kick more ass in more suits. It was sexy as all hell. I mean, I want to see Idris Elba as Bond as much as the next straight/bisexual/pansexual woman (homosexual/bisexual/pansexual man)
but holy tits, I didn’t even know I had a Colin Firth fighting in a suit fetish, and now I do but I don’t have enough material available to satisfy the itch.
(Please excuse this overlong rant brought to you by my genitalia.)
What else was there to talk about? Oh yeah. Other folks in the movie. Of note, there was Eggsy, our young male lead. Played by Taron Egerton (no clue if that’s purposeful), and played well enough. He’s a little pale, somewhat boring.
He’s got the omg, you’re super gifted shit down to a T, so that’s pretty annoying. He’s lower class in a high class world, but it’s not played on for much more than a small bit of a chip and a joke (that is a bit funny). I LIKED him, I’m not saying he was BAD, but he wasn’t all that engaging on his own. None of the trainees were.
Roxy, the other trainee we are given a good amount of screen time with is played by Sophie Cookson, who I thought was Fleur from HP:GoF at first. She does a great job, despite occasionally being patronized (“good girl, Roxy”? Ugh) in ways I know many people don’t see as patronizing/condescending. I’d like to see a Roxy movie. I’d like to see Sophie in a suit.
Gazelle is played by Sofia Boutella (what’s with the Sof(ph)ia/es?). She’s amazing.
Then we get to Mr. Bad Guy himself. Samuel L. Jackson as Valentine. A super rich, super smart dude with a plan to solve global warming. He plays it with a giant smile, color-coded clothing, and a lisp. Even becomes physically ill at the sight of blood. It’s just the best thing I’ve seen, ever. It’s hilariously, self-aware-iously, lame, and I adore it.
Fantastic. Not much to say beyond that. They’re really good. The violence is just way beyond the realm of believable, straight up into absolute fantastical BS, and the film worships at the alter of fantastical bullshit and serves up some sacrificial realism to bring upon the viewer the blessings of awesome.
The physical fights are all pretty standard stuff like you’d see in any modern hand-to-hand fight. Think Captain America: Winter Soldier. There’s some air work, parachutes and stuff, that looks good, too. It’s the absurd “Bond Gadget” effects that you have to let-go realism for, and just laugh. It’s amazing. It’s all amazing. And remember what I said earlier, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Several times these things are straight up sold as jokes.
We’re talking almost at Kung Fu Hustle levels here. Like that.
Interesting to Note:
Fountain pens! OMG! It’s a Conway Stewart, which I’ll likely never be able to afford, but hell. It was still fun to see. Yay, fountain pens!
Car chases! Umbrellas! Respectful treatment of rodents!
Oh. There’s a consensual-anal-sex joke at one point (self-aware-Bond, remember) as well as a visit to a suuuuuper racist/homophobic/generally-phobic church.
All in All:
There’s an interesting point to be made in the climax of the film. You’re going back and forth between three points of violence. Our hero, the general world, and someone separated from both of those things. With the first, the hero, it’s exciting. With the second, it’s exciting and sort of funny. With the third, it really comes home to how horrific the entire situation is. That’s what really stuck with me. It’s a bit of a parody, but at the same time, it holds its own. Ultra violent, revels in it, and then sort of reminds you to actually feel. I appreciated that.
I’m going to see it again. No question. Highly recommended.