We live in a world that is slowly being taken over by comic book adaptations, as whether it’s the big screen or small screen, studios can’t seem to get enough of these tales. As awesome as that is itself, it doesn’t stop us as fans from being more excited for certain projects, with different tastes leading to an interest in different films. Having been a huge fan of the original comic by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, as well as Millar’s previous collaboration with director Matthew Vaughn on Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service has been a film I’ve been eagerly awaiting, with the delays in release only heightening my enthusiasm.
Growing up in a South London housing estate, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin is an unrefined hooligan, who seems destined for a life behind bars. He is however saved by Kingsman agent, Harry Hart, who sees potential in Eggsy. Embarking on the “most dangerous job interview in the world,” Eggsy looks to make Harry proud, as he tries to become the next Kingsman agent. Meanwhile, villainous billionaire, Richmond Valentine, plots a diabolical plan, having a horrific solution to the worlds climate change.
To quote the films main character, Eggsy, this film was “sick.” Paying homage to the spy films of yesteryear, Kingsman: The Secret Service is easily one of the most entertaining espionage films to have been released in recent years. Yes, the likes of Skyfall and the Bourne films may out trump it in plot and over quality, but as Harry Hart would say, “give me a far-fetched, theatrical plot any day.” The way that the film balances the fast paced action, witty humor, and above all else emotional character development, is to be truly commended, as never at one point does it feel ruled by one or the other. The script that Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman produce, as well as the direction of Vaughn himself, is also to be praised, as it takes the key elements of the comic, whilst fashioning it’s own unique tale, that is all the better for it.
Teaching us that being a gentleman isn’t about being better than others, rather about bettering oneself, the cast do a wonderful job of bringing this comic book tale to life, with it being hard to distinguish one actor above another. Nevertheless, it’s the film’s three main characters that shine the most, with the student and mentor relationship between Taron Egerton (Eggsy) and Colin Firth (Harry Hart), and the diabolic villainy of Samuel L. Jackson (Richmond Valentine) being mesmerizing. We also get some wonderful performances from the other cast members, with Mark Strong doing a fabulous job as training instructor, Merlin, and Michael Caine adding class as Arthur, the head of Kingsman. Sofia Boutella also adds great screen presence as henchwoman, Gazelle, reminding us of the villainous Rosa Klebb from the James Bond film, From Russia with Love.
The film does however suffer from some pacing issues, with it’s middle section feeling a little laggy, focusing too much on plot development. Despite this, it still manages to entertain from start to finish, with it’s cool gadgets, mountain lairs, and extravagant action sequences reminding us of the classic spy films it pays homage to. The musical score also manages to add depth and atmosphere, with the mixture of lively and suspenseful tones within Henry Jackman and Matt Margeson‘s music complimenting the plot wonderfully. The use of mainstream music in the background also adds yet more atmosphere, as though it’s not necessarily the kind of music I’d sit and listen to at home, it works brilliantly alongside the wonderful score and plot.
Much like Matthew Vaughn‘s prior collaboration with Mark Millar on Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service manages to stay true to the source material, whilst at the same time being an unique tale in itself. It also pays great homage to the spy films of old, with the over the top action, and theatrical plot being both exciting and entertaining.