Since the trailers for Kingsman: The Golden Circle have been circulating and one of my friends had never seen the original, there didn’t seem like a better time than now to rewatch Kingsman: The Secret Service. I don’t have any witty comments about the movie leading up to it, during, or after … so without further ado:
I would give Kingsman: The Secret Service 8 “megalomaniacal villains” out of 10.
FOR THE UNITIATED
Kingsman follows Eggsy (Taryn Edgerton), a troubled son of a former secret agent, that is brought into a recruiting program by Harry / Galahad (Colin Firth). Eggsy is the clear underdog of the group since he wasn’t classically trained and comes from a lower class family, but Harry sees something in him. Not to mention he owes it to Eggsy since Eggsy’s father saved Harry.
This all happens to coincide with a plot to have the majority of the world’s population kill each other by tech billionaire Valentine (Sam Jackson). The plan is to distribute sim cards to most everyone that causes extreme violence and lack of control that would end up resulting in a catastrophic murder rate.
The tone is the best part of the movie. There is just enough realism mixed in with the fantastic, that you shouldn’t give though to pause to believing Valentine’s plan, that his henchwoman functions with sword legs, or Eggsy could better everyone’s superior training based on determination alone. It also helps a movie with satire blend into a the very movie it is satirizing with little to no transitional issues. Sure there is no fear for the main characters due to all of this, but it also leads to fantastic shootouts like the church or mountain hideout.
The worst aspect of the movie is the tone as well, so it ends up being a double edged sword. The tone detracts from moments that need seriousness such as Harry’s death, getting to Arthur being a traitor, or the mom trying to kill the baby sister. Most of those scenes were dealt with a little too heavy-handed. This ended up with them being followed up too quickly by a comedic moment or having no real consequence. Kingsman doesn’t necessarily suffer because of this, it just doesn’t get elevated to another level.
Kingsman is a phenomenal movie that came out of nowhere and surprised everyone. It was a great nod to Bond movies of the past while still standing on its own. It is definitely worth watching before the sequel comes out. Which if you haven’t seen it yet and you made it this far, now you know Harry dies but is coming back … ? Should be interesting how they revive him.
My recommendation is another spy movie: Casino Royale. It is not the 60s parody, but Daniel Craig’s soft reboot of the James Bond franchise. It stripped away the outlandish nature that Pierce Brosnan’s run became and made Bond into a force of nature. He was far from perfect and wasn’t immune to losing … but at the same time you know he will win the day. In a time when everything is getting gritty reboots, this is a perfect example of how to do it right.