Kingsman: The Secret Service

Discussion in 'Movie Reviews' started by tuter, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. tuter

    tuter Member Member

    According to interviews, Matthew Vaughn chose to direct this movie instead of X-Men: Days of Future Past because he really wanted to do a fun spy movie. Well, I'm guessing this one won't make nearly as much money as the huge movie about mutants, but he sure succeeded in creating an over-the-top and incredibly fun spy movie -- one which I'd say absolutely deserves the kind of success Days of Future Past received!

    Kingsman: The Secret Service, which is loosely based on Mark Millar and Dave Gibbsons' comic (Vaughn is credited as a co-plotter), obviously doesn't follow the source material too closely. I mean, we're talking about a movie that's inspired by the comic, after all. While there are plenty of drastic changes, none of them -- aside from maybe material with the mother -- took away from the story. Gary (Taron Egerton) and Harry (Colin Firth) are brought together through completely different circumstances, yet it doesn't change the dynamic at all. Harry still feels a sense of responsibility and he wants to help the kid improve. Additionally, way more time is spent with the characters who are attempting to become a Kingsman. They aren't given that much depth, but it certainly keeps things interesting. One of the most amusing changes is how they handled the actor who made an appearance in the first issue. It's a great nod that fans of the comic will definitely appreciate and I love how it played out in a slightly different way. The only change that didn't seem to benefit the movie all that much was there wasn't as much of a focus on Gary's life back at home. They probably thought that was not as entertaining as the rest of the material, so it's an understandable decision.
    The movie absolutely earns its R rating. There's a ton of shocking violence -- we'll get to that in a bit -- but a fair amount of it is earned through the comedy. There's obviously some vulgar stuff in here, so if you're easily offended, I imagine there's a moment or two that won't sit well. Then again, I can't imagine why someone who's easily offended would be seeing this in the first place. Research a movie before you see it, people. For everyone else, odds are you'll enjoy plenty of laughs. It's not all vulgar jokes, either. They have everything from lighthearted and cute comedy (the directing in one scene with a dog was priceless) and they even addressed product placement in a way that was hilarious, not shameless. It turns out to be one of the best gags in there and the conversation which follows it is great.

    It seems like Vaughn went all-out directing these action sequences. They're frenetic and a total blast, often slowing down at just the right moment to let the hit or movement really sink in. The bar fight -- which you've probably seen by now -- is just a teaser of what the movie has to offer. There's one extended fight sequence that had me absolutely floored. I'm one of those snobby people who thinksThe Raid makes many other action scenes feel lackluster, but this big brawl was phenomenal and full of moments that made the crowd gasp and applaud. It's a brilliantly executed scene and I can confidently say it'll go down as one of 2015's best fight sequences. Sure, the year has just begun, but it's that good. There's brief moments where blurring makes things feel a bit choppy, but it's a minor criticism, especially since the rest is handled exceptionally well. The fight between Gazelle and Gary is thoroughly exciting as well. It's very different than what happens in the comic and it's an amazingly slick sequence. Your eyes are in for a good time.

    Samuel L. Jackson's a total delight in this. He's often seen as a strong, confident or assertive character, so to see him play as someone who can't stand the sight of blood was hilariously entertaining. The lisp just made it all even more amusing. He really landed the delivery with plenty of the levity yet still managed to come off as frightening when it was required. As fully expected, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, and Michael Caine also give solid performances and Firth does a superb job with the levity. But there's no way you expected anything less from those three, right? Taron Egerton's a fine lead. His character may not be the most compelling character around, but his transformation is handled well and he's able to sell the more emotional beats. There's one extended shot of him leaping around his neighborhood and I honestly can't tell if it was altered. If he really did that himself, wow. Impressive, dude.

    The score definitely brought me back to some of Vaughn's other movies (First Class, Kick-Ass) and it was really fitting for this over-the-top and fun spy mission. However, there were also moments that reminded me of some of Hans Zimmer's more powerful scores, so it was a nice blend and really boosted some of the more emotional scenes.

    Even though the movie often makes jokes about the genre its celebrating, it does pretty much follow a very familiar formula. In fact, there were points where I was thinking about how it was taking a similar path to another one of Vaughn's movies. To be completely honest, I never found myself having a strong emotional connection to most of the characters either, but obviously the script, directing and performances helped make up for that.

    Kingsman: The Secret Service is so much fun. It embraces the spy genre with open arms and then has a total blast with it. Sure, it follows plenty of familiar story beats, but it shows that popcorn entertainment doesn't have to be just dumb fun.

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