Lots to like. So this is about a young man in suburban England named Eggsy (Taron Egerton). When he uses the equivalent to a mysterious ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card, he is soon recruited by a gentleman spy (Colin Firth) to be a Kingsman. I really don’t think director Matthew Vaughn gets enough credit for making quality films; looking at his library, he hasn’t made a great movie that will stand the test of time yet, but he has yet to take a misstep. X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass, Stardust and Layer Cake are all movies that are worthy of your time, and with Kingsman, he has made another sleek thriller to join that lot, and it has style for days.
From the look of this, I thought Firth was pulling a Liam Neeson, taking the plunge into action movies. While there is certainly plenty of shoot-’em-up action featured here, Kingsman is more than that, and I think that this is a departure and not a conversion for Firth. He plays the true gentleman spy, and while this does parody the spy genre, it does so without losing sight of the story and is clearly made by people who have an adoration of James Bond. It gets ridiculous, but never silly, and it doesn’t crossover into Austin Powers territory of easy jokes. This is also my first exposure to Taron Egerton, and I enjoyed his ability to lead a movie in his role of being the chosen one a la The Matrix.
This film is always fun, but because of some unconventional choices made in the script, there’s always a sense of danger which keeps you engaged throughout, being that nobody is ever safe. I will keep the following vague so as to avoid spoilers, but it did reach the point of an intense showdown where had the film made the proposed decision, I would have been done with the movie. It didn’t, so I’m still all about it. Also, this film features Samuel L. Jackson as an internet billionaire with a lisp, and he plays a large part of what makes this film as entertaining as it is; I’ve never seen him play a role quite like this one, and it is impossible to not laugh when he talks. There is a great amount of stylish flair at every turn, and the hate church scene is flooring with how innovative it is with crazy, over-the-top violence. I haven’t heard anybody have much more than a nitpick about this in the complaint department, and this is just one of those surprises that you so rarely get with a February release.
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) ****
– Critic for Hire