Kingsman: The Secret Service is a British spy film directed by Matthew Vaughn, with a screenplay by Vaughn and Jane Goldman, which was adapted from The Secret Service, a comic book series by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. The film follows Harry Hart (Colin Firth), a veteran “Kingsman” spy agent, as he recruits “Eggsy” (Taron Egerton), a troubled youth from the poor streets of London. Eggsy takes part in a highly aggressive training program to become a Kingsman agent, just in time to pursue a global threat led by Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), a maniacal tech billionaire.
Director Matthew Vaughn is the filmmaking genius behind one of my favorite comic-inspired action films of all time, 2010’s Kick-Ass. That film was filled with non-stop action and hilarious banter, not to mention a superfluity of profanity-laced dialogue. Vaughn adapted Kick-Ass from a comic series of the same name by author Mark Millar. In addition to creating the Kick-Ass series, Millar has penned the comic series Wanted (which was adapted into a film starring Angelina Jolie) and The Secret Service, the latter of which served as the source material for Kingsman. In his latest film, Vaughn has delivered his greatest filmmaking achievement yet—in fact, Kingsman grossed over $414 million worldwide, which made it Vaughn’s most commercially successful film. This film is obviously not one that is contending for any major accolades, but I assure you, it is some of the most fun you will have watching a movie!
Kingsman always knows what it is as a movie, and it thrives off never taking itself too seriously. Much like 2015’s Spy (starring Melissa McCarthy)—but done so far more magnificently—Kingsman straddles the line between the James Bond film series and Austin Powers. The film is never so serious as to be a real Bond thriller, but it also never completely sells itself out as a full-blown parody—Kingsman strikes a happy medium between the two. In one scene, Eggsy is asked how he would like his martini prepared, and he replies, “With gin…stirred for ten seconds while glancing at an unopened bottle of vermouth.” The line is entertaining, as it puts a cheeky twist on Bond’s infamous “Vesper Lynd” drink. Aside from the film’s sidesplitting repartee and vintage spy reverences, the action is out of this world. As the film progresses, its action sequences get more and more over the top—yet, it works, simply because the film never takes itself too seriously. One of the biggest set pieces is one of the most epic brawls/massacres you will ever see in a movie, all triggered by the villain’s lethal SIM-card plot. The scene is bloody, filled with blockbuster combat, and takes place in a church, nonetheless. It is madly exaggerated, yet it is one of the best things I saw all year—pure entertainment at its finest.
Kingsman boasts a wildly impressive cast, which is one of its most noteworthy feats. Colin Firth stars as Harry Hart (codename Galahad; all the Kingsman agents have knights-of-the-round-table names), and at first glance, the character is as archetypal as it gets for Firth. He wears a nice suit, speaks in proper English, and does not appear to have a violent bone in his body—and then the action starts! I was quite impressed with Firth’s portrayal of his character as one of the biggest badasses in the film—in one scene, he defeats an entire gang of hooligan-like gentlemen in a bar…with only an umbrella! In addition, newcomer Taron Egerton (who will star in Eddie the Eagle in 2016) fills the role of the snot-nosed, temperamental young recruit quite well. He has a certain charisma about him, and he holds his own next to the Oscar-winning Firth. The film also features solid supporting performances from the legendary Oscar winner Michael Caine, Mark Strong, Sophie Cookson, and Sofia Boutella. However, the best supporting performance comes from Samuel L. Jackson. In his role as the film’s villain (Valentine), Jackson plays the character brilliantly. Valentine wears flat-billed hats cocked to the side, has a vicious thirst for blood, and hilariously speaks with a pronounced lisp—Samuel L. Jackson nails it! Kingsman: The Secret Service is rated R for sequences of strong violence, language, and some sexual content.
Kingsman: The Secret Service trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl8F-8tR8to
Academy Award nominations for Kingsman: The Secret Service:
Previous movies on the countdown of the Top 15 Films of 2015:
- Steve Jobs
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- Beasts of No Nation
- The Martian