Director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class) brings us an action-packed spy film that he supposedly turned down X-Men: Days of Future Past in order to do. It’s intended to launch a franchise and a lot is riding on this movie’s success. So when it’s surrounded by big time flops (Jupiter Ascending, 50 Shades of Grey, Seventh Son), can Kingsman make a splash?
The gist. There is a secret service protecting the world from hidden dangers, called modern-day knights (and even given old Arthurian code names). Colin Firth stars as Harry Hart, codenamed Galahad, who brings in a new recruit named Eggsy (Taron Egerton), whose father was a knight with the Kingsman. Eggsy is a rebel and doesn’t listen to orders, but that might be just what the order needs. They encounter the villainous Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), who has a plan to basically destroy the world, and the Kingsman will need all hands on deck to take him out. Valentine’s bodyguard Gazelle (Sofia Boutella) will give them a run for their money though, as she has two artificial legs with sharpened blades. Yes, really.
Where this movie absolutely succeeds is the action. There are quite a few big memorable action scenes and they’re jaw-dropping. We’ve got an interesting mix of styles here, as there’s a lot of gunplay, but there’s also a lot of up-close action, including the deadly Gazelle, whose legs offer a whole new type of action we’ve never seen before. Colin Firth is surprisingly awesome and he did 80% of his own stunts, which is really impressive. And while the action is sometimes absolutely ridiculous, it still looks fantastic. It’s also really visceral and kind of violent, which I didn’t expect, but it totally worked.
In terms of acting, relative newcomer Taron Egerton manages to carry the movie just fine. Colin Firth is absolutely wonderful though, kicking ass in a way I’ve never seen him do. As the villain, Samuel L. Jackson has a ton of fun and he becomes a legitimate threat as the movie progresses, which was something I was initially worried about.
What doesn’t work?
I really don’t have any faults. It’s not a fantastic movie but there’s no glaring red flags. It knows what it is and does it well.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a tribute to the fun spy movies of the 80s and 90s. They have ridiculous villains like in the old-school James Bond movies and it works perfectly here, resulting in some incredibly interesting fight scenes and fantastic effects. The story is fun, there’s plenty of humor, and this movie won’t disappoint you if you just want an action-packed and visually-stunning film. Kingsman has saved us from the horrid January and February we’ve been having and delivers a really great time.