Matthew Vaughn’s violent, humorous, and loving ode to the Bond films of years’ past is the most enjoyable time I’ve had at the movies in 2015, so far. Kingsman takes a routine idea and infuses the concept with wit, fine attention to craftsmanship in all the art and technical departments, and by selecting a capable cast to deliver the goods. I walked into this picture with a certain dread, spy spoofs/homages peaked with Austin Powers, or If Looks Could Kill (depending on your age), but I was almost immediately won over by the selection of music for the title sequence and the mischievous tone established from the start.
Adapted from the highly successful comic book, Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a secret sect of spies that attempt to foil the nefarious plot of billionaire madman Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson). Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton), whose late father was secretly employed as a spy, lives in a seedy section of London and is in trouble with both, the law and the local hoods. However, undercover agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) recognizes potential in the younger Unwin and recruits him to be a trainee in a specialized course that could lead to the title of secret service. Meanwhile, villainous Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) is plotting a diabolical mission that could solve the climate issues by killing millions of people across the globe.
Early on Kingsman establishes a violent and irreverent tone, it plays that strong hand all the way to the finish line. A raunchy last scene had some critics in arms, but the humor of the moment makes it work. Taron Egerton is immensely likable as the boy who becomes a suave spy before our eyes. Colin Firth is absolute perfection as the seemingly dainty, well coiffed mentor who is capable of administering vicious beat downs. The story is set for sequels and judging by the overwhelming success this film experienced at the worldwide box-office, I’m sure we have a new franchise in front of us. If director Matthew Vaughn stays with the series, then the follow-ups should be just as rousing as this top-notch action/comedy.
Stars: Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Taron Egerton