Image via 20th Century Fox
Wow! The totally unexpected joy of Matthew Vaughn’s latest offering is simply unmissable.
First, however, it must be warned that his film can get surprisingly violent, even graphic, at times. It may seem odd to say that a violent, graphic film is joyful but that is exactly what ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ is.
Trailers have suggested its candy-coated, tongue-in-cheek spoofing of the British spy genre but it also has an edge to it that is much more ‘Kick-Ass’ than it is ‘X-Men: First Class’.
Vaughn’s obsession with comic book properties continues in this adaptation of Mark Millar’s ‘The Secret Service’, which tells the story of teen troublemaker Eggsy who is selected by Harry Hart a.k.a Galahad, played by Colin Firth, to become a Kingsman secret agent. Lessons are to be learnt beneath its colourful coating but most apparent is the over-the-top cartoonishness of the whole film.
Everything from soundtrack and cinematography to characterisation and set design feels pulled from a comic book. Vaughn is a master of his self-invented genre by now and ‘Kingsman’ feels like a comic book movie in the most literal sense, as in it looks and sounds like a comic book as much as it is based off one.
The casting is great fun too. Colin Firth takes a surprising turn as gentleman action hero in a kind of role we’ve never seen him in before. More excitingly, Samuel L. Jackson’s Richmond Valentine is the kind of bonkers megalomaniac villain that you could never see as the same guy who plays the badass Nick Fury or Mace Windu.
Many films have tried and failed at the teen spy angle but ‘Kingsman’ pulls it off all because it doesn’t really care about its own success, its so busy enjoying itself. Too many spy movies are taken too seriously and flop as a result, whereas ‘Kingsman’ is the polar opposite of them all with its flamboyant, childish tone in what is undeniably a movie for adults.
It’s hard to find a negative thing to say about ‘Kingsman’. Perhaps it goes a little too over-the-top ridiculous towards the end. Perhaps. Seriously it’s ‘Kingsman’s over-the-top ridiculousness that make it unique and a film I can see myself watching over and over again in the years to come.