Every good spy film should be full of British accents, guns and Samuel Jackson.
At least, that’s how Kingsman: The Secret Service is, and it fits the classic mold with a modern twist that works.
The story tells of Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (played by Taron Egerton), an underdog whose dad died while on a mission for the Kingsman secret service. Flash forward a decade or so later, and the now-adult protagonist finds himself in the same situation that his father had been in before, training to be an agent for the secret spy organization.
A large majority of the film is spent showing the intense training that Unwin and the other potential candidates must go through in order to gain a spot on the Kingsman team. These trials are extreme in order to ensure the candidates are ready for whatever they might face in the field.
But while all this is happening, Samuel L. Jackson, who plays the incredibly rich and incredibly evil Valentine, is trying to take over the world by creating an airborne virus that causes the effected individuals to become violent to the point of murderous.
Throughout the entire film, Harry Hart, (played by Colin Firth), takes the troubled, angst-filled Eggsy under his wing and fills the void of a father figure that had been missing in his life. This relationship proves to be one of the main appeals of the film.
The two have a dynamic relationship, sometimes seeming like father-son, sometimes like best friends, and other times almost like enemies. This causes you to want to keep watching, to see how it will evolve next and what the resolution will be.
Despite this emotional appeal, the movie does not seem to take itself too seriously, often seeming like a parody. For example, Samuel L. Jackson’s character, the evil and incredibly rich Valentine, is terrified of blood and gore. During one particular scene, his assistant Gazelle, (played by Sofia Boutella), has to cover up all the bodies of the men she killed with blankets after she slices and dices them with her incredibly sharp prosthetics.
Kingsman: The Secret Service also had a Quentin Tarantino feel to it. The fight scenes are intense and bloody in the most literal way possible, giving them an almost surreal quality. You don’t feel like you had to turn away because you don’t believe that this is something that could happen in real life.
I mean, how often do you see someone get stabbed through the stomach with broken wooden post in the midst of a gruesome and intense church fight where only Hart comes out as the lone victor?
Maybe I just don’t get out that much.
That being said, the graphics are incredibly well done. The opening credits are what stick out the most — with rockets being shot at an old stone structure, the falling debris forms the words. It’s a unique spin that really set this film apart.
The acting isn’t always overdone either. The audience is able to connect with the smug, witty characters like Eggsy and Hart in ways that they are not with the ridiculous Valentine. You feel for Eggsy as he goes through the intense training to join the service. You become anxious for the other Kingsman candidate Roxy, (played by Sophie Cookson), as she competes against Eggsy for the spot on the team while also trying to overcome her intense fear of heights. You understand Hart’s fatherly frustration when Eggsy goes against what he wants.
These characters may appear to be superhuman in their skills and agility, but the movie adequately and effectively portrays aspects of their personality to let you know that they really are just human
The only problem with the film was one small little detail: Samuel Jackon’s lisp. As the villain in the entire film, I want to assume that it was designed to take down some of his credibility and make him appear to be a fool. But even with this alleged purpose, it detracted from the film and did not fit with the entire theme.
Yes, the film was satirical and not meant to be taken seriously, but this seemed to be taking it one step too far.
Overall, the film was some of the best entertainment I’ve had in a while. It kept me smiling at the wit rather than cringing at the gore. The well developed characters kept the movie going along smoothly and did not make me feel like checking my phone to see how much longer was left. In all, if you’re a fan of a good spy film or a movie with a touchingly human twist, you’ll be able to find what you want in this movie.