'Kingsman' is a suprisingly enjoyable spy flick
March 4, 2015
In the vein of James Bond and Jason Bourne comes "Kingsman: The Secret Service," which manages to be a highly enjoyable spy flick and a welcome treat to the genre itself.
Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) is about to be saved from his horrible life. When he was young, he was given a medallion with a number on its back, told to call it when he needed help. In his life, his mother has an abusive boyfriend and he is constantly harassed by hoodlums, so he calls the number.
Eggsy soon comes into contact with a gentleman in a dapper suit who says he knew his father, and Eggsy is following his path into the Kingsmen, a secret society of independent secret agents that protect the world. This will be just in time as a technological millionaire is plotting to change the world for the worst. Eggsy is going to need help from this organization and his spy mentor if he’s going to stop this plot and become the next great Kingsman.
Entering into this journey, and the film itself, I didn’t think much of the plot, because it seemed like just any other generic spy film that will grace our screens and be forgotten about, like the last Bourne movies. Thankfully, I didn’t feel that way one bit when I saw this, as "Kingsman" managed to surpass my expectations.
I’ll flat out say it: it’s a fun film. This film fully acknowledges that it’s a spy film and takes every chance it can to make itself entertaining and new to its genre. There are good lines from the actors, twists and shocks for the audience, and action that tickles in all the right places. The film feels almost chaotic and with its violence, which would make it quite befitting of its source material.
The film was based off of a comic by writer Mark Miller and carries most of the premise, and the author's tone. Miller’s work tends to be darkly, comically cynical in their outlook, tone, premise, and violence, and this has served him well or betrayed him in the past (see the movie "Wanted," another adaptation of his work that failed in that regard).
"Kingsman," however, singles out all the good bits of Miller’s tone and violence and adapts it well to the screen. There’s an action scene later with a congregation of Westboro Baptist Church-type folks that revels in its own premise that you can’t help but feel gleefully bloodthirsty.
The main actors carry all this insanity out gloriously with Colin Firth ("The King's Speech") stealing the show as Harry Hart, the mentor of Eggsy, who had me second guessing on all of the action scenes to see if it was really him. He also brings a gentlemanly air to whatever words he expresses that make him a joy to just listen to. Even Egerton, as our hero Eggsy, makes for a believable main protagonist as he changes from street rat to spy extraordinaire.
And of course, praise should at least be given to Samuel L. Jackson ("Pulp Fiction") as the villain for this movie, who, while not being focused on in the trailers, is given a funny and unique role.
I admit, there are some problems with this film though. A lot of scenes don’t flow well together with the editing and pace of the story, some characters are not given nearly enough focus as they should, and even the ending could have been handled better. But, that all felt considerably small compared to the fun that the audience and I were having.
"Kingsman" knows what it is and doesn’t dwell long on what problems it has, nor does it care for its problems. This film takes pride in its genre and gives you a fun time, even if that fun might not be to everyone’s taste. It’s a rollicking, funny spy flick that delivers all of its fights and fakery with the precision of a sniper rifle.
Ryan Funes is a lover of all things movie, TV, video games and stories and wants to become a television writer someday. In his spare time he enjoys hanging with friends, tapping into his imagination, and watching cartoons of all kinds.