Like Matthew Vaughn’s previous Mark Millar adaption (Kick Ass), Kingsman: The Secret Service promises to be a bold and irreverent take on it’s genre. Kick Ass poked fun at super-heroes through excessive violence and profanity. Kingsman follows through. It is irreverent, extremely violent at times and full of profanity.
And yet, it seems to be a bit more loving of it’s target. It is as much homage to the classic spy films of the past. Colin Firth’s Galahad is older, handsome and stylish. He seems proper and speaks of manners even in a fist fight. Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is a rough hooligan lacking a sense of manners.
But when we first meet Eggsy, his father has died, and the promising future is dashed. His father was a secret agent, a member of the Kingsman organization. Heartbroken, his mother appeared to have never recovered from that loss. Eggsy gets in trouble with the police, only to meet Galahad who invites him to join the Kingsman Organization.
Unsurprisingly the other recruits are high society kids. The film focuses heavily on Eggsy going through each test, and building his friendship with Galahad. The central villain is a flamboyant tech genius named Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson). His goal is to wipe out a massive number of the human population to save the world from global warning. One of his more interesting quirks is that he does not take pleasure or joy in the actual death, but he is certain that it is a worthy end.
The film is comically violent (there are at least two scenes of massive carnage) far more than any Bond film ever managed. But the film manages to be entertaining. There is good humor, and the cast has great chemistry together. I especially liked how the three women are characters, not love interests. One of his competitors, Roxy (Sophie Cookson) is his equal, and he supports her not because he wants to date her, but because they are friends.
Eggsy is a troubled guy, but he is decent, a supportive friend, cares deeply for his mother and baby sister…he has solid qualities that Galahad seeks to steer towards a greater good.
The film is, all in all, quite a bit of fun. The characters are likable, the cast is solid through and through. It is an effective action movie, even if some of the beats are somewhat predictable. The film embraces it’s super-spy inspirations and follows the conventions. It does it with fun style (Valentine’s henchwoman is pure old school Bond).
While there are moments that seem to relish the crass violence, overall this film is an effective adventure that left me smiling.