Kingsman: The Secret Service Review
By Adrea Scheidler
Okay, I know this is going to sound like too much – but seriously – moviemakers of the world? Please pay attention to The Kingsman. I loved this movie despite the fact that I’m not a big fan of gore or hero character death (there is a healthy dose of both). It was just that well done.
In what ways was it well done? Let me count the ways:
EDITING: Wow. Every beat of this film was in the right place. From music to emotion to action they had me from the beginning to the end. Which, in and of itself, is an inside joke which I won’t ruin for you.
FIGHTING STYLE: The over the top perfect fighting might not be new, but the way it was filmed and put together felt fresh and innovative. I know we saw some of this kind of high frame speed stuff in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Requiem for a Dream – but in Kingsman it’s used throughout the movie in all the most effective ways. And edited beautifully together. Not to knock the Matrix team, but this is the sort of sequel-to-Matrix-fighting I would have expected from Jupiter Ascending. I felt a similar way watching The Kingsman fighting as I did The Matrix – just – enjoying the dance or art of the fighting rather than horrified by the sounds of bones snapping or something.
STORY: Simple, but not exactly normal. There are complicated stories that I do like, I swear. But generally simple and well done trumps most things most of the time. It felt… this is going to sound ridiculous considering how campy the film was – but it felt very real. I think that is when campy pays off; When somehow the exaggeration plays more like real life than a gritty drama. I don’t have any experience with the source material for The Kingsman – but the world and the story certainly felt rich enough that I knew there must be a comic out there. I don’t think you need to be familiar with that to enjoy the movie.
ACTING/CHARACTERS: Despite the fact that any number of these characters or actors could have stolen the whole show – none of them did. They were all on equal footing – hero and villain… now how often does that happen? It was awesome to see both Colin Firth (Harry) and Jack Davenport (Lancelot) be genuinely, gorgeously, impressively bad ass in their fight scenes. I’m a fan of both actors and generally I imagine the worst when actors I like stretch out of their norms… so I was happy to see both of them shine, even if only for a scene. Samuel L. Jackson was perfect as a totally stereotypical, non-stereotypical bad guy (no, don’t edit that out, it really is what I mean to say). Jackson’s henchwoman Sofia Boutella (Gazelle) was fabulous. She added spark not just to the fighting with her super cool blade legs but she totally held up as an interpersonal foil to Jackson as well. Heroes – Egsy, Roxy, Merlin – seriously I don’t have a complaint. I loved them all. Really. Egsy played by Taron Egerton matched exactly the tone of the entire movie in that the good in him: the caring teammate, the good big brother and the concerned son in him worked just as seamlessly as the circus gymnastics of his fighting. Roxy (Sophie Cookson) was a strong female character without having to punch everyone in the face with the fact that she was a strong female character – she clearly had her own mind and if they do sequels with her in it, I’d love to see her and Egsy’s relationship grow closer (*wink*wink*nudge*nudge*), but I loved it as JUST a friendship and partnership here. Merlin (Mark Strong) – I just love that guy – he could carry his own movie. This is a movie where there were no bit parts because there were no bit actors.
Now for the warnings. In my opinion, the trailer gives the impression that this is a little bit more of a family action film than it is (like Ironman or Avengers). While I hesitate to say it is reminiscent of Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill because it’s not nearly as dark… it is reminiscent of that type of violence. It’s much less serious, much more fun, but not exactly without discomfort. Kingsman has some of the same gore juxtaposed with campiness but the whole tone is more inspirational and heart-warming, less crack your chest open and stab you with stuff. I read the spoiler for this movie before I watched it, so I went in understanding what to expect. I’m concerned that if i had gone in just with the trailer in mind, I would have been too taken aback to love it as much as I ended up loving it.
So, take that people that hate people that spoil movies for themselves. I am so glad I was in the right frame of mind to enjoy this movie. Because I really thought it was great.
Verdict: 5 out of 5