Kingsman: The Secret Service
Colin Firth can do action! Really well!
Kingsman is a rollicking good spy flick in the tradition of the early James Bond movies, with a bit of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. thrown in for good measure.
After the death of a long-time fellow-agent, Lancelot (Firth) takes on an apprentice, Eggsy (played by Taron Egerton), who tries to rise above his “common” birth and upbringing to enter the realm of “Gentleman Spy” in the face of his more aristocratic competition, born with “silver spoons up their asses.”
Michael Caine is excellent as Arthur, the head of the titular spy organization, but the real scene stealer is Samuel L. Jackson as the villain, Valentine, an ecologically-conscious tech billionaire who plans to save the planet in the only way he can. Kingsman also stars Mark Strong (Merlin), Sophie Cookson, Mark Hamill (in an extended–and fun–cameo), and Sofia Boutella as the most dreaded set of blades to hit the screen since Wolverine.
Taking pot-shots at the environmental movement, liberal Hollywood, President Obama, cultural and political elites, consumerism, dependence on technology, Westboro Baptist-types, and just those rich enough to consider themselves above the morass that they believe that man is bringing the planet down into, Kingsman is spot on in every aspect, from the training of the young spies-to-be, to the logic employed by both sides of the film’s equation (even if the villain’s logic is a bit heartless…or simply maniacal).
Good versus Evil.
Spy versus Villain.
Even some sexism thrown in during the training (though that ultimately proves to be misplaced: you go, Roxy!).
But here is why Kingsman is really so good:
Kingsman is that all-too-rare movie today in which there is something for everyone. Well, not everyone: it is rated R, after all. But it can appeal to the younger audience members with its depiction of pop-culture malaise, as well as the current economic difficulties in finding employment (despite being set in England as opposed to the US.). For the more seasoned viewer, Kingsman harkens back to a time, both cinematic and societal, when things seemed simpler. Black and white, right and wrong, good and bad.
And it never takes itself too seriously. Serious situations handled by serious people: but they’re still just people.
Rated R for violence and sexual suggestiveness/situations, Kingsman is packed with fight scenes and killing, but the sex doesn’t really show up until the third act, and even then it is so perfectly cheeky that it drew laughs from the audience, in the best possible way, because it simply fit what was happening.
As much as I would like to see a sequel to Kingsman, it would have to be extremely well done to live up to the high bar that this movie sets.