"Manners maketh man. Do you know what that means? Then let me teach you a lesson."
After the death of one their members, a secret organization of British spies set out to find his replacement with each current member tasked with selecting a possible candidate. Harry Hart aka. Galahad (Colin Firth) puts forth a young street-smart punk, Eggsy (Taron Egerton), who must join him in thwarting the evil plans of lisping telecommunications billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson).
Director Matthew Vaughn turned down the opportunity to direct “X-Men: Days of Future Past” to make this film and boy am I glad he did. Not only did this mean we got to see Bryan Singer return to the franchise he kicked off but it also meant we get to experience the pure exhilarating cinematic joy that is “Kingsman: The Secret Service”. That being said this film is definitely not for everybody, however if you’re willing to go with it’s insane plot lines, amazing music cues and ridiculously grotesque violence you’re going to have a blast!
Working almost as a companion piece to Vaughn’s previous film “Kick-Ass” (adapted from a comic book series written by Mark Millar, similar to “Kingsman”), here the super-hero genre has been transposed for the world of espionage and intrigue, a world that Vaughn seems to be much more at home in. While paying homage to all the classic genre tropes (femme fatales, gadgetry, martini’s) Vaughn and company have managed to not only incorporate all these classic elements but also expand and in some cases embellish them to create something wholly original and unique and unlike anything else you’ll see at the cinema this year.
Colin Firth provides a brilliantly reserved and often warm performance as Harry Hart, letting his hair down only when the story demands for it in brilliant moments of feverish characterization (it’s interesting to note that when in pre-production Vaughn’s one note for Firth was to act more like David Niven’s James Bond than Connery’s). Relative newcomer Taron Egerton’s down-and-dirty portrayal of Eggsy works as a perfect counter against not only Firth’s prim and proper nature but the world of the film itself, helping generate a character that you truly believe in and want to see succeed.
“Kingsman” manages to do something previous espionage films haven’t quite gotten right, it perfectly blends the classic cinematic style of the old 60s and 70s Bond films with the frenetic and chaotic action we as an audiences have become accustomed to in our current spate of filmic outings. This is due in large part to the brilliant cinematography of George Richmond who here proves himself as one of the great new emerging talents in the medium. Combining this with the wonderful score composed by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson (no strangers to the action genre or Vaughn’s film himself) who evoke the traditional notes of John Barry and seamlessly blend them with the over the top musical moments placed throughout (the scene using “Free Bird” by Lynryd Skynyrd is something that needs to be seen to be believed).
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” will no doubtable be the most fun you have at the movies this year, well at least until “Spectre” comes out in November (fingers crossed). Vaughn and company have produced a film that is hilarious, shocking, charming, violent, heartfelt and most importantly entertaining. They produced a film that had me leaving the cinema demanding something I never do, bring on the sequels!
8 out of 10.
Reviewed by Chris Swan.