I came perilously close to missing this one. The first couple of times I saw the trailer, I took for granted that this was going to be yet another "young adult" franchise... another series I didn't feel like following (DIVERGENT, MAZE RUNNER, etc. etc.) even if it did have a Bondian flavor to it.
Then I saw the "R" rating and was suddenly intrigued... was this one actually going to play for keeps?
Well, define "play for keeps" as you will--I still had the wrong attitude but at least I was interested in seeing the movie.
And I'm happy to report that KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE ranks as one of the most refreshing treats to grace the spy field in a long time.
We all know that the contemporary spy thriller has changed with the times. More grit, more realism, more pain and angst, more awareness of the cost of true-life terrorism... oh, there's still a degree of escapism when it comes to J.B. himself, but at least since Daniel Craig took the role, people pretty much stopped wanting to actually BE him. Oh, and KINGSMAN reminds you that J.B. also stands for Jack Bauer (among others).
KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE is an adaptation of a comic I've never read (like so many others), as put together by Matthew Vaughn of KICK ASS and X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, two of my favorite "superhero" films of recent years... yes, I finally would have gotten around to seeing it once I put the pieces together. And the message here (if we need to have one) is that the romanticized, fantastic, save-the-world pipe dreams as sparked in the days of Sean Connery are STILL OKAY.
I will resist summarizing the plot as much as possible--you've already probably got the idea. Essentially, it's a young man's fantasy... young "Eggsy" (Taron Egerton) gets to escape grim reality (his father died heroically in the MIdeast when he was just a tyke, he squandered his potential while trying to deal with a heartbroken mother and an abusive stepfather) with an opportunity to make something of himself and do good for mankind--all he has to do is pass a grueling training competition. (Oh, one of his rivals is that guy from THE LOFT who looks like James Franco's brother but isn't.) "Kingsman" is everybody's wet dream of the superagency from whence sprang all things Bond (with Michael Caine as the "M" figure) bursting with secret weapons, gadgets, vehicles...
...well, the emphasis may be on the training of Eggsy, but Colin Firth earns his top billing as the experienced Harry Hart... while his protege is learning the ropes, Harry's in the field sizing up a delightful, lisping Samuel L. Jackson, who claims to be the world's most generous philanthropist... the guy who really WILL save the planet when all the politicians do is talk...
Yes, there's even an Oddjob character... wait till you meet Sofia Boutella as "Gazelle." Why should I spoil it if you haven't seen it already?
The implications of the story are catastrophic, the violence is elegantly staged and completely cartoonish... oh, but there's that scene in a church... no, no, I mustn't!
KINGSMAN takes a formula I've been practically breathing for most of my life and makes it rich and new even as it acknowledges its own nostalgic value--if you've ever had any love at all for old-school 007, this is quite simply a wonderful time at the movies, guaranteed.
As in not off. If you want to post about mainstream flicks, this is the forum.
Moderator: Chris Slack
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Went to see this last night and was glad that I did. I wound up enjoying this much more than FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (which really fell short for me, but that's another review). There was a lot of fun stuff in KINGSMAN and like Remo I can't really say much about the movie either without giving away anything good. My favorite parts were the references to James Bond as well as more contemporary "classics" like TRADING PLACES. In fact there are so many subtle nods packed in here that most viewers may have to watch KINGSMAN more than once to catch all of them. Colin Firth was also fun to watch and I enjoyed the performances by Mark Strong, Michael Caine and Samuel L. Jackson (be sure to look out for the cameo by Mark Hamill). This was well worth my time and money and I would also strongly encourage everyone to check it out.