Review – Kingsman: The Secret Service
I’ll take one very stylistic spy movie. Insane, not deep.
Since the sequel comes out Friday, it’s the perfect time to take a look back at this film! This is for all of you out there wondering what on earth is going on in those commercials you keep seeing.
It takes a very specific kind of mind to enjoy Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Do you like crazy action?
I mean, like, crazy action?
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Want to see some of those crazy James Bond gadgets, hidden in everything from a pen to an umbrella?
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Now do you mind if all that craziness means what you’re watching isn’t really that deep or profound? Do you need a great story in your action films?
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Then congratulations! Kingsman is the movie for you!
Of course, it’s not quite THAT simple, but if you enjoy this movie, it’ll most likely be for all the ridiculous action, not for the story or how amazing the characters were.
When this movie goes for it, this movie really goes for it. A fight with a girl sporting blades for legs? A massive brawl involving an entire angry church? Par for the course for this film. Trust me, if your thing is over-the-top slam-bang craziness, you’re not going to be disappointed with Kingsman.
The problem is that the action and craziness is pretty much all there is. Besides that, there’s really not much else to talk about. For those of you who want a deep, memorable story:
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This is not the movie for you.
Kingsman is the story of a British teenager named Eggsy (yes, his name is really Eggsy) living in a bad situation, with an abusive stepdad and a doormat mother. When he gets himself into trouble, he learns that he is actually the son of a former spy working for the top-secret Kingsman organization, and he is offered the chance to become a Kingsman himself.
What follows is a pretty typical origin story, including the mentor, the Malfoy-esque rival that can’t seem to exist for two seconds without getting on Eggsy’s case, and the cackling villain.
So basically, there’s nothing too special here in terms of story. What helps keep you awake when there’s no action going on, though, are the performances. Just about everyone in this knows exactly what kind of movie they’re in and the fun is infectious. Everyone besides the villain has thick British accents, and there are open references to other spy flicks. The villain himself has an over-exaggerated lisp, and no one seems to mind that it goes in away every other scene. There’s even a part where, after what would be a sad moment, the villain and his sidekick stop to bicker about how it could possibly make sense that a mass murderer could be grossed out by killing people.
It’s not just the actors that play up the cartoonish qualities of the film either. Director Matthew Vaughn gets in on the fun too. Scenes that would be horrible and sad in other films have a playful tint to them here. Mass murders play out to bombastic music and colorful effects! The planned genocide of the human race happens with party music in the background! This film doesn’t take itself seriously in the slightest, and it helps make the ride that much easier to have fun with.
This film also has so much dang style in it. The movie never stops feeling slick, whether it’s in the editing, the pacing of the action scenes or the finale when the movie goes truly crazy. In fact, it might be a little too much for some. The first action scene in particular can be a bit confusing for those who haven’t seen a Bourne film or the like.
Also, for those of you who are squeamish, the action may get to you at some points. This movie features dismemberment, heads exploding and the like. In the first couple of minutes, a man is cleaved in half, and the audience gets to see both halves fall to the ground. That should be enough for you to know if you can stomach this film or not. It’s not exactly a gore-y film, but it bears mentioning.
But like I said before, those looking for a memorable story or emotional moments won’t find them here. Even when main characters die, it’s almost always followed by a joke of some kind, and the film makes turning into an international spy seem like the best job in the world, even in the boot camp stages of the movie. The characters aren’t especially memorable by themselves, and you’ll probably forget the small details of Kingsman’s world an hour after you’ve turned it off.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is action movie entertainment in its purest form. It’s cheeky, loud, bombastic, and full of awesome action with quirky characters. If you want more from your movie, you’re better off looking elsewhere, but if you’re ready to ride along with this film, you’re gonna have a great time.