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"Kingsman: The Secret Service" Review

Kalem Lalonde's picture

Matthew Vaughn is a director with a great reputation for strongly adapting comics to film. I haven’t seen Kick-Ass in a while, but I know that it has a strong fan base and great legacy. And of course, there’s X-Men First Class, the movie that saved the X-Men franchise. I think considering his track record it was a safe bet to have high expectations for this movie. I never knew what it was about and I didn’t need too. The fact that Vaughn dropped out of Days of Future Past to do this was guarantee enough. After having seen this movie, I’ve come to the conclusion that Matthew Vaughn made the right decision. Kingsman: The Secret Service is one of the best spy movies of this generation and may just be Vaughn’s best film yet.

Much like Guardians of the Galaxy, Kingsman opens with a scene that uses perfect music to set the tone for the movie to come. This technique is so great because it puts a huge smile on everyone’s face and just wraps you into to the world of the movie. And that was a major aspect of why this movie was so enjoyable to me. Matthew Vaughn knows exactly what a spy movie is and he understands how goofy and cheesy they can get. Though, he embraces these conventions in incredible fashion by making a movie that could be gloomy and solemn but jokes around about itself and provides viewers with a good time.

When it comes to Kingsman, tone is everything. And the tone is funny and extremely comic-booky. Sometimes, I felt as though I was reading a comic rather than watching a movie. The action sequences were extremely over-the-top and our villain (played by the one and only Sam Jackson) being an obvious combination of cheesy comic book and Bond villains. In any other movies this character would have felt asinine but here he was a boosting factor. With his weird quirks, funny dialogue and interesting chemistry with Colin Firth’s character, Sam Jackson’s Valentine really was the perfect antagonist for this movie. If anything, he truly bolstered the mood Matthew Vaughn was trying to achieve.

And boy does he nail it. Matthew Vaughn is a movie-making superstar and that is perfectly on display throughout the entirety of this movie. His script is extremely clever, hilarious and even heart-felt. I felt myself attempting to predict where the story was headed but then being proved wrong time and time again. Vaughn attained an appreciating level of unpredictability that had me on the edge of my seat throughout a good amount of this film’s scenes. He took every spy movie convention, acknowledged it and made a 180. I found this to be extremely original and inventive. Vaughn is paying respect to the old way of making spy movies while presenting a chance for a new era.

And on top of all of that, Matthew Vaughn films extremely dazzling and engaging action sequences. I was impressed with his original and clever shot-composition but his action completely stole the show. In the middle of the movie, there is a sequence that may offend some with its brutality but completely amazed me. There is one shot throughout this fight that lasted over 20 seconds. A fast-paced moving and hectic shot that blew me away. I found myself gaping at the screen from the sheer ruthlessness displayed on camera and that says something about how well shot and written this film actually is.

And starring in said scene is one of the best cast members of Kingsman, Colin Firth. Firths plays his character flawlessly with the right amount of aloofness and sentiment. Though, I particularly enjoyed his action scenes as Firth seemed extremely committed to making them look realistic. He’s a standout among the great cast

As for other members of the cast, our protagonist Eggsy, is played by up-and-comer Taron Edgerton who gave a solid lead performance in the movie. His character is a boy with immense amount of potential but seemed to come up short due to his sentimental bond with others. Throughout his childhood, he kept giving up on hobbies and sports to take care of his mom and that aspect of his character is played on quite well in this film. Eggsy was a lead with great presence, but most importantly a strong emotional anchor.

The only weak point of this movie for me was a supporting character who played the romantic-interested for Eggsy. She was okay in her scenes but her character was never taken anywhere interesting. There were endless opportunities to take her character in interesting directions but unfortunately she didn’t really go anywhere. That could also be said about a rivalry that Eggsy had with a colleague who just ended up leaving and popping back up at the end for a lackluster and futile final appearance. So unfortunately, some characters were introduced with potential and never ended up raising to it.

Kingsman: The Secret Service has set the bar high for comic book adaptations and spy films in 2015. Matthew Vaughn continue to prove that he is one of the best directors in Holywood with a movie that is a veritable blast. It’s shocking and over-the-top but if you know that going in, there’s no way you won’t have a great time.