Buckle up and enjoy one of the greatest spy movies of all time! Kingsman: The Secret Service has all the elements of a great spy story. A villain with an evil plot, an expert sky to take on the evil plot, spy gadgets, highly trained assassins, mystery, intrigue and more. The film tells the story of Eggsy, a young man from a poor London home, who lost his father when he just a child. The film starts with his father on his first mission as a Kingsman wherein he sacrifices himself to save his comrades. From this point on, one of the Kingsman, Harry Hart (Colin Firth), takes an interest in Eggsy even going as far as to grant him a favor when he needs one.
Eggsy isn’t the most refined young man. Having grown up with just he and his mother, and struggling to get by, he isn’t a refined gentleman like the film likes to explain. Eggsy is extremely talented and full of potential but he never fully realizes that potential. Instead he allows himself to be a victim of his circumstance and be a bit of a ruffian and common criminal. Early in the film he lands himself in trouble with the police. This is where he calls in his favor and Harry Hart comes in to save him from years in prison. Eggsy is then picked as a recruit to replace a Kingsman who recently fell in battle on a mission.
The film tells a riveting tale of the spy world and what it takes to be a skilled assassin and spy. The trainees undergo many tests both physical and mental in nature. I don’t want to dive into spoilers even though it is several years old now, but there are many great moments through the training that are both exciting action and hilarious. This is what the film masters so beautifully. Director Matthew Vaughn takes the awesome action and intrigue you would see in a Bond or Bourne movie and combines it with exceptional humor! Interestingly for an R rated action comedy, the humor is actually tasteful and objectively funny unlike the irreverent humor you can expect from a Will Ferrell or Melissa McCarthy comedy these days.
The film is distinctly british in its feel and it is what makes it so great to me. The casual attire that Eggsy and others wear are completely foreign to those of us here in the United States. I see Eggsy and Roxy dressed in jumpsuits that would never pass as acceptable attire here and yet I love it.
As with any great spy film, it needs a tremendous villain and Samuel L. Jackson does a stellar job. Jackson’s character Valentine is a tech mogul Billionaire obsessed with saving the world. While his end goal is noble, his means for achieving that goal are as insane as they go. The character is an american which counters well against the British protagonists. Add the fact that Valentine has a lisp and it makes him both funnier and more creepy. It also made the line, “Ya’ll take so funny” that much funnier when Valentine says that to Harry Hart.
Action, story, intrigue, gadgets, humor, fun, guns, planes and more abide in Kingsman: The Secret Service. It’s marketing wasn’t great as myself and many of my friends all thought it looked like a dud based on its marketing. Luckily it came out at a dry time for films meaning most of us went to see it anyway. I am so glad I did as it has become my favorite spy film ever. I anxiously await the release of the sequel later this week and hope it can achieve the same level of praise as the first. Eggsy’s transformation from street punk to gentleman hero was one of the greatest parts of the film. When we finally see him in full Kingsman attire taking down Valentine’s operation, it is extremely satisfying. The payoff for the viewer was excellent and I applaud Matthew Vaughn on a job well done! I entered the theater expecting to hate Kingsman: The Secret Service and left a super fan as well as with a changed mentality on what makes a good spy film.
5 out of 5 Couch Cushion
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