‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ Review: Manners Maketh Man

Posted in The Screening Room by - February 14, 2015

Matthew Vaughn’s newest film Kingsman: The Secret Service, based on the comic book of the same name, is an absolute blast. Kingsman: The Secret Service follows the exploits of an MI6-type clandestine agency as they work to foil the deluded vision of billionaire, Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson, in top lispy form). One of Vaughn’s greatest strengths is his versatility. Sure, his last four films have been comic book adaptations, but they each have such a unique and singular vision that he executes perfectly. Despite the emphasis on being a gentleman, this film is anything but nice. 

Colin Firth plays Harry Hart AKA Galahad (all the agents are named after the Knights of the Round Table), who was saved by Eggsy’s (Taron Egerton) father years ago, so he decides to repay the debt by recruiting him into the Kingsman, which involves a rigorous initiation process that pushes the recruits, both physically and mentally. While some films would focus solely on the recruitment process, this is merely one plot line through the film. Egerton is a relative newcomer, but his performance is earnest and believable, and despite his character’s numerous flaws, he is easily the most relatable member of the cast. Firth’s turn as Galahad has me yearning for him as 007, except I’d argue his agent is far more impressive. Not only dapper but also an excellent hand to hand fighter, Galahad gives one of the most incredible fight sequences in recent memory that is arguably the highlight of a movie filled with highlights. 

The lack of restraint in how bombastic and over the top the action is much needed, and the supporting cast of Mark Strong, Sofia Boutella, and Michael Caine all turn in interesting performances that you wouldn’t necessarily expect of them, with Sophie Cookson’s competing Kingsman recruit being a nice foil to Eggsy’s less refined approach. Boutella, especially, has a memorable role as Valentine’s personal muscle is the first amputee assassin I can remember seeing on screen. Her movements are sleek to the point of absurdity, but it works in the context of the film. There’s even a cool cameo from Mark Hamill that made me completely geek out as I immediately thought it was Mace Windu meets Luke Skywalker.

There are definitely some thinly veiled one percenter jabs, as Valentine epitomizes the vision of someone who values themselves above society. A lot of celebrities and politicians are lampooned briefly in the film, including a slightly controversial take on our own Commander-in-Chief. My only real issue with the film was the final act is split into two missions, and one is clearly more of a focal point than the other, and the tension never felt particularly believable. Other than that, the final act is a ridiculously hilarious and riveting action set piece with one of the most hilarious endings I have ever seen. Let’s just say Eggsy gets a much superior twist on the typical princess trapped in the dungeon scenario we’ve seen numerous times. 

The incredible action, lack of pulled punches, and over the top nature make Kingsman my favorite film of 2015 so far (I know it’s February). Combined with some jaw dropping narrative twists and memorable characters, Kingsman continues the streak of impressive films from Matthew Vaughn as well as the continued success of comic book to film adaptations. 

Final Say: Watch It

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He's a native Texan (YEE-HAW) who loves everything Michael Bay has ever touched. When he's not blogging, he's working on his mobile app, BoxHopp, or tinkering with his fantasy football lineups.
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