Check out Josh and Violet’s spoiler-free male vs. female perspective reviews of Kingsman: The Secret Service, directed by Matthew Vaughn, and starring Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, and newcomer Taron Egerton!
His Movie Review of Kingsman: The Secret Service:
Kingsman: The Secret Service released last weekend, and I have been on a roller coaster, full of ups and downs on whether I was excited about it. I first heard of the film at WonderCon, where I saw the first trailer. At that point I wasn’t very excited about the film. But knowing that Matthew Vaughn was directing the film, I wanted to hold final judgment on the film. Then the second trailer came out, and I became very excited about it.
It was finally time to see it, and the film, which stars Colin Firth and Taron Egerton, plus Samuel L. Jackson as the villain, and I have to say, I was not disappointed in the least. I was nearly turned off in the beginning, as it felt pretty British at first. I seem to be hit and miss with a lot of British film, not being very fond of Shaun of the Dead, nor Attack at the Block, as the British humor doesn’t resonate with me. I quickly adjusted to this film though, as it is not overbearing as it is in the previsouly mentioned films.
A quick synopsis of the film, Colin Firth’s character, code-named Galahad (any King Arthur fans?) brings in a young man named Eggsy (Taron Egerton) to try out for the Kingsman, after a fellow agent, Lancelot, has died. The Kingsman is an elite group of spies, independent of the government, who try to maintain world order, and are a bit like the Illuminati, where no one really knows of their existence. Eggsy comes from a rough life, and is a bit of a screw up, but seems intelligent. He is a bit of a wild card for Kingsman, as King Arthur (Michael Caine) and Merlin (Mark Strong) are not sure Eggsy will fit in.
As Eggsy’s tryouts begin, Merlin, King Arthur, and Galahad are trying to determine the motives of a kidnapping of a famous scientist, that mysteriously reappears. Now, I don’t want to spoil the movie, but suffice it to say, there are trials and tribulations for both the tryouts for Eggsy, and the mission of the Kingsman, trying to foil whatever plan Valentine is cooking up (Samuel L. Jackson).
So, just from the opening credits, the audience knows it is going to be a lot of fun. The way the opening credits just bounce out of the rubble of the scenery just screams silliness. Kingsman and Matthew Vaughn know the identity of their film. What is even better about the film is it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The film nearly breaks the fourth wall several times with both heroes and villains saying that this movie is not one of, “those movies,” referring older, more serious toned spy films. It oddly pays an homage to films like James Bond or other spy thrillers, but in my opinion is a whole lot more fun. Since the film is clearly setting itself up for a good time, the story is as expected, pretty silly, and mediocre at best. But the payoff for this film isn’t the story.
What is fun about this movie are the action scenes. Colin Firth has some amazing fight scenes. Matthew Vaughn directed Kick-Ass, and the scenes with Big Daddy and Hit Girl were very reminiscent of the scenes in Kingsman, and at least as fun, if not more. If you haven’t seen the movie, when Colin Firth heads to a certain church, be prepared to be amazed. The action in this film reminds me a lot of the action in John Wick, but I am prepared to say that this is a lot more fun in terms of the action, and even more well done. It is great having action scenes in which you can tell exactly what is going on, rather than dealing with shaky camera, quick cuts and only catching glimpses of what is happening. The tension ratcheted up during the action scenes really brought me to the edge of my seat. In the end, there are two missions happening simultaneously and it is so hard to just sit till and watch the movie because of how intense both scenes are.
The Journey of Eggsy through his tryouts for Kingsman is pretty interesting too. He is certainly the underdog, as the rest of his competition comes from elite, aristocratic society, and it is pretty easy to root for Eggsy.
The acting in the film was all around really good. All the way down to Taron Egerton, who played Eggsy, I felt all of the actors were spot on. Samuel L. Jackson’s character had an irritating lisp, but it fit his character perfectly.
Naysayers of the movie will say that the movie is politically charged, and probably hate the ending of the film, and I can see where these people are coming from. Personally, I feel the film was made just to have a lot of fun, and it is no different than a plethora of other satirical films out there. One thing about this film though: The trailers almost make it seem like it should be rated PG-13. It is definitely an R though, and not advisable for young kids to view due to some pretty crude violence and brief nudity.
Kingsman is a movie screaming for a sequel, and is not doing so intentionally. The movie could remain where it ended, and not need another story. But the fun had in the movie, and the ending certainly could create a very fun story to get into. It is disappointing that certain characters will probably not be back in the sequel, but I think that Taron Egerton could be a budding star, and look forward to seeing him in this, or whatever else he shows up in. Rating this film, I would give it an 8 out 10. You will have a lot of laughs watching it, some really amazing action scenes, and a decent story that has some pretty good twists and turns. Then add in the great cast, it is a good time had by me.
Her Movie Review of Kingsman: The Secret Service:
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a comedy/action spy film based on the comic book The Secret Service, written by Mark Millar. The film is directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class), and stars British newcomer Taron Egerton, as well as Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, and Michael Caine.
The film centers around a secret service agency known as Kingsman, which uses the names of Knights of the Round Table as their code names. Colin Firth’s character, Harry Hart, aka “Galahad,” makes a mistake on a mission, resulting in the death of another agent. He visits the agent’s wife and son, promising them a favor in their time of need, and giving them a phone number to call. Seventeen years later, the son, “Eggsy,” cashes that favor in to get out of going to jail.
Meanwhile, a Kingsman agent, “Lancelot,” gets killed in the line of duty, and the remaining Kingsman agents are tasked to choose a candidate to go through the recruitment process, after which one of the recruits will be selected to become the new Lancelot. Harry recruits Eggsy, who must then go through the rigorous recruitment “boot camp” to compete for the spot. Eventually, the Kingsmen uncover an evil plot by billionaire philanthropist Richmond Valentine (played by Samuel L. Jackson), which they must thwart in order to save the world.
The first time I heard about Kingsman: The Secret Service was at WonderCon back in April last year, where we were shown a clip from the film, and a trailer for it. At that point, I was not excited about the film at all. For some reason, it looked a little too cheesy to me, and that on top of not having any knowledge of the comic book upon which it was based, I had no interest in seeing it. Then at San Diego Comic-Con in July, there was a panel for the film, at which we were shown a couple of clips. It looked a bit more interesting than I originally found it, but I was still on the fence. Fast forward to its release date here in the U.S., and Josh was very excited to see it, despite not having been interested in it at WonderCon, like me. So when we went to see it opening weekend, I went in with an ambivalent attitude.
During the opening credits, I had already started to get turned off by the film, the way that debris from explosions was turned into letters, and how fake it looked. I started to think that my initial reaction to the film at WonderCon was correct. However, the film quickly won me over.
There are quite a lot of action sequences in Kingsman, and the way that they are shot is very stylistic and fun to watch. They’re also shot in such a way that you can actually see and appreciate what is going on. Sometimes in action films, there’s just a whir of motion that’s hard to follow, but that is not the case in Kingsman. It was interesting to see how certain types of gadgets were used while fighting, as well.
That initial cheesy, over the top feeling that I had toward the movie soon went away as the movie progressed. Seeing scenes in context that I had seen before out of context made those scenes feel more organic and natural to the movie as a whole. Sure, there were some cheesy and over the top aspects to the film, but that’s not all there was to the film, although these aspects were what made the film more fun and enjoyable.
I must also say how impressed I was with Taron Egerton’s performance. Although he had a couple of British television series and one British film under his belt prior to filming Kingsman, he is a relative newcomer to acting. I remember at Comic-Con, when he entered the stage, it was merely to polite applause, as no one yet knew who he was. Meanwhile, Colin Firth kept trying to talk him up, saying how good he was, and that the big applause should to go Taron, rather than himself. While I must also give credit to Colin Firth for an amazing performance in Kingsman, I must also agree that Taron Egerton deserves major props as well. I’m calling it now that this kid is going to be the next big thing.
Last, but definitely not least, I would like to praise the film for its use of strong female characters, both on the sides of good and bad. Sofia Boutella portrays Gazelle, who is the villain’s partner in crime, and does all his dirty work for him – meaning that she is the one who fights, not him. She is really awesome and tough, and as an added bonus, she has blades for legs, which she uses to her advantage when fighting. On the Kingsman side, the members are not strictly limited to men, despite the code names being all male names. Sophie Cookson plays Roxy, who is also in the running for Lancelot’s spot, and is very smart, strong-willed, and cunning.
I’m glad that I took a chance on this film, because it definitely paid off, as I ended up enjoying it quite a lot. My reaction to this film reminded me of my reaction to Kick-Ass, which didn’t look all that interesting to me at first, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised and liking a lot. Coincidentally, that film was also directed by Matthew Vaughan and based on a comic book by Mark Millar. I guess the moral of the story is that if there’s a film based on a comic book by Mark Millar and directed by Matthew Vaughan, then I’ll like it.
Overall, this was a fun movie that never takes itself too seriously, and keeps you guessing about what is going to happen next. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out which way the story is going to go, the film promptly reminds you that this is not that kind of movie.
My rating: 8/10