After finally kicking my hacking cough I managed to get to see this at the cinema without having to worry about ruining the film for everyone.
‘Kingsman’ follows Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin, a council estate lad played by Taron Egerton, recruited into a secret service organisation, and his training and struggle to be accepted within their elitist ranks while a global threat unfolds around them.
A homage to the 60s ‘James Bond’ films and ‘The Avengers’ series with it’s gentleman spy action armed with lethal gadgets, cut through with the humour and fantasy action styling of ‘Kick-Ass’. What’s not to like about that?! Well, I’ll tell you…
Nothing. It was great.
Eggsy is the main characters and his background is sympathetic, the prejudice he faces from the other recruits keeps you rooting for him, and the dilemma his qualification as a Kingsman hinges on was rough to realise. His relationship with his Kingsman sponsor and mentor, Harry Hart, had lots of feeling–even if he predictably has to be sidelined so that Eggsy can transition from underdog to hero.
It’s a violent film, so not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s often fantasy violence when in the context of some of the over-the-top action scenes–where real world abilities or physics just don’t apply. Some of the action is just, well, mental. There’s one scene where a whole room of a 100+ people fight–it was breathtaking. The choreography was so slick it actually made mass violence beautiful to watch. Either that, or I was in a dark mood that day… The choices of music turned up the fun in a lot of scenes. Exploding heads to the sound of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ anyone? Near the close of the film Eggsy’s run and fight through the villain’s lair is delivered to us as though we’re on rails on a rollercoaster through the film. These do make Eggsy seem untouchable, and there’s always the risk of action fatigue, but thankfully the end is interspersed with plenty of high stake moments to keep the excitement ramped up.
Highlights were Colin Firth’s largely unflappable Harry Hart and his gentlemanly approach to fighting. I never thought I would put ‘Colin Firth’ and ‘bad ass’ together in one sentence, but he was, so here it is: COLIN FIRTH WAS BAD ASS. Samuel L. Jackson’s villainous, yet squeamish, Valentine was played with the right balance of humour and menace as he pursued a plot right out of ‘Utopia’. One that has compelling reasoning, but an unavoidably horrible execution when you get through the logic. I also need to mention his Odd Job hench-woman–Gazelle, who has blade and spike mounted prosthetics in place of her legs providing for some uniquely AWESOME fights.
I loved this movie. It was fun, intense, and well paced. I know want to be trained in how to fight with an umbrella and want me some gadgets, please. I’d give it four exploding heads out of five. Go see it if you haven’t already!