Kingsman: The Secret Service – Review – 82/100

When I saw the trailer for this film I did immediately think this would just be a James Bond/chav crossover and to be fair it’s not a million miles away but I’d throw the tonal action of Vin Diesels Triple X in there too. Matthew Vaughan (who’s stellar CV only gets stronger) brings the son of a fallen agent (chav Taron Egerton) into an independent elite spy agency when an agent gets killed to trial for the vacant position. Colin Firth is his mentor/veteran agent and when investigating the death of his colleague discovers  a plan to cleanse the world of its overpopulation by eccentrically dressed billionaire Samuel L Jackson.

Thumbs UP

  • All the action is incredibly entertaining and if you are willing to suspend your disbelief for unrealistic action that’s silly at times, you’ll have a great time with it.
  • Plenty of funny moments.
  • It’s good to see a film not worrying about holding back in the brutality department. Surprising given the 15 rating but I’m not complaining.
  • Soundtrack is 80’s-tastic and I loved it.
  • Firth totally owns it as a kick ass British spy & it’s nice to see Mark Strong play a more sympathetic role… even if all we want is the bald heartless badass that he is.
  • Lots of subtle subtext cleverly put in which I was surprised about given its status as a popcorn action movie.
  • A couple of scenes in particular were spectacular & effective in the way that they were shot. One I will call ‘Firth in a church’ and the other revolves around sky diving set up which really makes you take a step back to appreciate it.

Thumbs Down

  • They gave villain Sam L Jackson an unnecessary lisp that is not funny and it just does not work.
  • Given the film is one big homage to the cliché of secret agent action movies in the past 30 years it tries to be too self-aware and doesn’t pull it off in the same way 22 Jump Street did. It would have better if they hadn’t tried to have been so obvious.
  • Is very predictable, there was not one ‘twist’ that couldn’t be seen coming.
  • Right near the end there is a bit of editing that I just hated, some will like it and see the funny side, I on the other hand would much rather it have gone another way.

I think this will end up being the go to action film of the younger generation and over time there will be a realisation that it has more layers than appears on first viewing. Yes there’s loads of things we’ve seen before, young disenchanted youth wasting potential… blah blah, but there is plenty to make up for this. As mentioned there is a lot of subtext. The themes of how technology will be humanities undoing, global warming, division in the class system & domestic abuse are all present but without necessarily being thrust in your face. I find this a nice change and a testament to the skill of Vaughan’s directing. Some were worried that the ‘chav’ element would be a bit too unbearable but in all honesty its not an issue.

TL;DR

While perhaps aimed at youngers from the trailer this is a film that can be enjoyed by all. It’s intentionally clichéd, but it works, this is both a smart and entertaining film that looks good. It’s got a lot of what people love about action movies and with a lot of recognisable faces putting in entertaining performances there is barely a boring moment. I feel this movie that has raised the bar for the modern throw away action genre and while not perfect you should definitely check it out.

82/100

AJG

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