When a movie starts with an opening shot of a Helicopter battle with Dire Straight’s “Money of Nothing” playing over the opening credits, you know you are in for something a little different. One of my favorite Directors, Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Stardust) brings his unique sensibilities and a breath of fresh air to the stagnate Spy Genre, a genre that has been overly serious lately and in need of a kick-start. Yes, I hate the Daniel Craig Bond films. Kingsman: The Secret Service brought the fun and puns back, mixed with Vaughn’s trademarked over the top violence.
The Kingsmen are an Independent British spy organization that got their start hundreds of years ago when a bunch of rich British Tailors decided that they wanted to use their money to do some good in the world. So they formed a secret Spy agency that is not affiliated with any other Spy organization or government.
After one of their agents dies in the field, each agent is required to submit a candidate for training. Harry selects Eggsy (Taron Egerton) a kid whose going nowhere in life because his dad once saved Harry’s life. The film gets bogged down a bit in the middle with an overly long, stereotypical training sequence where ultimately I didn’t care about any of the other trainees.
We all know Harry and the lone female recruit Gazelle (Samantha Womack) would be the last ones standing. There were other more economical ways to utilize the 2-hour screen time than spending 40 minutes training the recruits. I wanted them to get on with it. I wanted more Samuel and his ever-changing lisp.
There’s a moment in the film where the hero, Harry Hart / Galahad (Colin Firth) literally kills an entire church full of racist neo nazi’s (is saying racist neo nazi’s redundant?), while Free Bird is playing in the background. This entire sequence is brutal, kind of disgusting, yet hysterically funny and fills you with mixed emotions.
Here’s a secret agent slaughtering an entire church of “innocent” people in the most violent way possible. Are we supposed to think it’s Ok because he’s killing racist assholes and everyone in the church has gone crazy? This Church was used as a test site for our billionaire villain Valentine (Samuel Jackson) to see if his mind-altering cell phones would drive people crazy.
There were a couple of moments where it was painfully self-aware that it was a movie, when, towards the middle, Jackson tells Harry “this ain’t that type of movie.” This line and other “wink, wink” movie references always feels like it’s just one step away from the character turning to the camera and asking the audience “Can we rap for a few minutes?” It takes me out of the film.
While Kingsman: The Secret isn’t as good as Kick-Ass or Stardust, two of my all time favorite films, this is another solid entry onto his resume. Maybe there’s hope for The Fantastic Four? Naaa…
Final Grade B