February tends to be known as a slow month cinematically, so it’s always a pleasant surprise when something bursts onto the screens and really resonates with audiences. Very soon, Deadpool will be released in cinemas attempting to break 2016’s February slump of cinema, but this time last year that position was taken by Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service. The trailers for Kingsman created simple expectations- a relatively funny, self-aware, action spy movie. What we got was all that and so much more.
Vaughn seems to have a knack for knowing when a genre needs a good re-inventing. In 2010, he gave us a fresh take on the super-hero genre with Kick-Ass; in 2011 he made X-Men: First Class, a movie that saved the sinking ship that was the X-Men movie franchise. His take on the spy genre with Kingsman continues this legacy. Spy movies in recent years had become bogged down with trying to be as dark and gritty as possible. It was a competition between Bond and Bourne to see who could have the darkest story, darkest tone and even the darkest lighting. It seemed they’d forgotten that one of most uniquely appealing parts of the spy movie genre was the far-fetched theatrical plots complete with fantastical gadgets and cheesy one-liners. But that’s just the genre.
The soundtrack is impeccable and the action sequences are insane, (in the best way possible)…
Every single aspect of this film is crafted to perfection. Not only is Vaughn’s directorial style as fun and mesmerising as always, but the cinematography is stunning, the soundtrack is impeccable and the action sequences are insane, (in the best way possible). There are many large-scale scenes in Kingsman: The Secret Service, the scenes that get the most recognition by critics and fans alike, one notable example being the so-called ‘Church Scene’. However, on top of this we find that the smaller scenes in-between, that focus more on emotion and character development, are equally engaging, if not more so. A high-stakes, tension fuelled skydiving sequence carries just as much weight as a scene where Eggsy, the main character, is taken to have a suit fitted. The way in which all of these aspects come together to construct the narrative is beautiful to behold and the way in which the world of Kingsman is delivered to the audience gives it an almost magical feel, not dissimilar to Chris Columbus’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, in which the young protagonist is introduced to an entire world he never knew existed.
Arguably though, where the true heart and merit of Kingsman lies is in its cast. Veteran actors and rising stars blend together remarkably to create a deeply immersive and amusing world of espionage. We see established talents such as Michael Caine as the head of the Kingsman agency ad Colin Firth as Harry Hart, the movie’s father figure. Mark Strong brilliantly portrays the instructor of the spy recruits and Samuel L. Jackson’s villain is just the right blend of psychotic and charming. These are just a few of the high-profile actors in this film, however they all pale in comparison to the breakout star Taron Egerton, who portrays Gary “Eggsy” Unwin, the movie’s hero. Eggsy is a young man who has never had a job, lives in a rough part of London with his troubled mother and her abusive boyfriend and is constantly getting into trouble, be it with the law or the locals. On the surface, this character had the potential to be very unlikeable, but Egerton went way beyond the surface and brought an emotional side to the character that really made his performance stand out. Sophie Cookson, another rising star, joins him as Roxy, who he competes against and befriends while training to join Kingsman.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a guaranteed good time and is a film you can watch over and over again.
Every scene, every moment, every second of this film is captivating, from the opening to the closing credits. It will make you laugh, it will put chills down your spine, it might even make you cry. Kingsman: The Secret Service is a guaranteed good time and is a film you can watch over and over again. A sequel has been announced for June 16th 2017 and that’s news well worth celebrating.
By Tom H. Jordan
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