If you go to any movie websites or visit Facebook on the reg, you’ve probably been bombarded with ads for this one. Pop-ups, recommended links, trailers playing automatically, the whole shebang. Generally I don’t trust movies that get released with this much forced fan-fare, assuming the studios are trying to push out something that doesn’t stand on its own merit or that it’s the same quality as the Divergent/Hunger Games/Maze Runner series. Furthermore, the idea of pompous and middle-aged Colin Firth playing an unstoppable badass kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Bruce Willis? Sold. Liam Neeson? Sure, he’s proven himself. Sean Penn? Now I’m starting to be suspect. The guy from The Kings Speech, Mama Mia, and Bridget Jones Diary? Get out of town.
That being said, I remember Warrior was released with the same force, and that movie was surprisingly great. Could Kingsman surprise me in the same vein???
Released in the typical drought of post Oscars, Kingsman is a thoroughly enjoyable action fare. Matthew Vaughn shows that he has a great feel when it comes to a kinetic shoot-em up, and he really draws your attention to the actions on the screen. It can be a little jarring at first, but the fight and gun scenes convey the frantic pace and moves in a way that has you feel the inertia. The opening scene of two agents delivering headshots, from a helicopter, with “Money for Nothing” blasting in the background pretty much sets the tone. If you try to take this seriously, you will be disappointed, so turn off your brain, enjoy your popcorn, and invest in the insanity.
On the surface the movie is set up as an R-Rated James Bond, the two parts of the story work pretty well together. The A-plot of a lisping Samuel Jackson (who has gotten to the point of pretty much playing himself in every role) taking over the world (OF COURSE!) using cellular phones is fine if not a little bland, and the introduction of an independent spy agency works as well. Gadgets are cool, style is impeccable, and stuffy British tropes are in full effect. The B-plot of a street-smart recruit clashing with the high-society agency and classmates gives the film some sort of emotional core, with Taron Egerton stealing his scenes. He must have just missed the new Star Wars casting deadline, and I’m sure we are going to see a lot of him in the near future. Sure, it can be predictable and ham-fisted, but consider the source material these beats and twists are supposed to be telegraphed miles away…I think.
Colin Firth really shows off his 6 months of training, and I have to say he pulls off the sophisticated badass pretty well. While never strictly intimating, he carries himself with an air of authority and class which can be threatening. The rest of the acting is fine, with all the notable actors doing a passable if not memorable job.
From the other reviews I’ve read, there’s been a ton of controversy in regards to the Church scene. For those who are still reading, this is where Colin Firth gets “rage infected” and murders a building full of West Baptero-style goers. I could see why people could be offended at this “senseless” showing of violence, I took it in a way different light. Similar to some of the fight scenes from Kill Bill that where way over the top, it surpasses any semblance of reality and almost becomes comical in its violence. Maybe I’m just desensitized to this whole thing, but it’s not like Vaugh hasn’t done something like this in the past (Here’s looking at you, Kick-Ass) and he’s a capable enough director to make it something to behold.
Overall, Kingsman was a very enjoyable movie. As mentioned above, it is the kind of popcorn movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously and won’t exactly engross you in its tight-knit story lines or deep political messages. The longer fight scenes are awesome, there’s some snappy dialogue, and everything else falls in line. It’s not a must-see movie, but when it inevitably comes out on Netflix in a few months, grab a few friends and twelve pack if you got nothing else to do. Hell, make a drinking game out of every death by blade or spy-gadget and you’ll be in the bag by the halfway point.
Final Grade: B