Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!
Something that is becoming (and is still growing) increasingly popular in terms of movies is taking a film in a genre and putting a twist of some sort on it to help it appeal to a wider audience. I took the two earliest and most notorious examples of this, a spy movie and a buddy cop movie and pitted them against each other in a poll on Instagram (@ryans.movie.reviews, give us a follow please). Kingsman: The Secret Service beat 21 Jump Street with 56% of the vote, making it this weeks review.
From director Matthew Vaughn (also known for X-Men: First Class and Kickass) and with a fantastic cast including Taron Egerton and Samuel L Jackson is the story of the Kingsmen, a British secret service group. The Kingsmen are a group of elite gentlemanly spies who are looking for a new recruit. Among the applicants is Eggsy, a young man from a tough background, who is up against privately educated for the job spot. Eggsy has to battle it out against the other applicants to secure his spot at the best secret agency in the world. At the same time, a new threat in the form of an eco-terrorist who wants to kill half the world rises (sounds like Thanos) and it’s down to the Kingsmen to bring him down.
Let me start by saying how enormously fun and awesome this movie was. It came out of nowhere and was instantly loved by people all over the world, and it’s rare that something like this happens. The most recent example that I can think of for this is Baby Driver. Our protagonist is Gary Unwin, nicknamed and referred to as Eggsy (for some reason) throughout the film. Played by Taron Egerton, Eggsy is your average London tough guy, who has a less than decent home life. The way that Egerton combines a rough gangster-like attitude with a softer and more delicate side was highly commendable. Supposing that Egerton was only 23 when he did this, it was quite a terrific performance. Egerton makes Eggsy a relatable and awesome character, and is part of the reason why myself and audiences aroun the world loved this film so much. The villain in this film is Richmond Valentine, played by Samuel L Jackson. And it’s fair to say that he was one of the best parts of Kingsman. Valentine in an internet billionaire who wants to cure the world by eradicating as many people as possible to stop the destruction of mother Earth. He gives out free SIM cards (or cellphone chips) to the world, but programs them so that he can trigger a series of neurological brain waves that make people go on a murderous rampage. It was fun to see Jackson play a villain, but also evident to tell that he had a blast playing Valentine. His lisp was spot on and he had reasoning, and he was a good villain that made the film really good. Assisting Valentine is his sidekick, Gazelle, played by Sofia Boutella. She was a great character and her action scenes were fantastic, but I would have liked to have seen more from her. In his fight against Valentine and Gazelle, Eggsy is not alone. He is supported by Merlin, Harry Hart and Roxy. Merlin was played by Mark Strong, who was one of my favourite characters in this film. He provided a fair amount of humour that made this film more enjoyable. Colin Firth played Harry Hart, Eggsy’s mentor and a Kingsman spy. He was an amazing character, and his action scenes were stunning. Lastly, we had Roxy who was played by Sophie Cookson. Again, she was a good character and I liked her, but she too could have been used more in the film. I feel like we were kind of just forced to like her. With Eggsy, that love came somewhat more naturally. I felt that some of the characters were a little wasted, particularly Gazelle. I’d have honestly liked to have seen more about the history of Kingsmen, but if Matthew Vaughn is going to/might make a sequel-prequel about it, then that’d be much better.
The music in Kingsman had mixed reactions from me. The songs were smartly selected so that they fit the scenes perfectly. From Bonkers by Dizzee Rascal to Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the songs where something that I wouldn’t change. However, the music soundtrack composed by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson could have been better. It was good but honestly overused and reached a point of irritation. It was just the same dramatic Kingsman theme repeated over and over again with maybe a change in pitch or tone to suit the mood.
The plot idea of Kingsman was smart. It took a classic spy cliché of all spies being gentlemen and put a nice little twist on it, by showing that the common man is just as capable of being a spy, as well as a woman being able to do it as well. There were a few potholes, like if Valentine was trying to use someone elses satellite to make the connection for his V-Day plan, it would surely be a longer process then something that took like 30 seconds in the film.
There were admittedly a lot of scenes that I loved from Kingsman, despite it being a little dull in places. The opening to Dire Strait’s ‘Money for Nothing’ was a perfect introduction to the film and set the tone immediately. I loved the scene with Eggsy stealing Dean’s car and driving backwards with it as it was just so much fun to watch but also served as a secret character development scene for us to learn about Eggsy’s skills. The next best scene easily goes to the famous ‘manners maketh man’ scene, where Colin Firth shines in a fantastic (yet shakey cam) fight that makes audiences even more excited for what’s to come. Then we had the underwater escape room, which was pretty cool to watch. The next few things were bit boring, but I love the sky-diving scene. We had a cool scene with Gazelle fighting some guards but she should have been used more in the film. After that, the next best scene was a scene that is one of my all-time favourite scenes in cinema history. The iconic church scene to Free Bird’s epic rock guitar was gory, bloody, adrenaline pumping, awesome and just so incredible that you have to rewatch that scene again and again and again to fully appreciate its awesomeness. Rewatch it again here to fully appreciate truly how amazing the scene is. I guess the ending fight between Eggsy and Gazelle was pretty good, but I would have liked it to have had a bit more action to it. The fights between the people on the streets were really cool and fun to watch, especially with ‘Give It Up’ as the background music, but I would have loved to have seen more of it. The music kept getting cut off with some of the same dramatic music and the scene kept being cut to Valentine getting angry about his tech not working. Vaughn, you got something great here and I loved it, but you kept ruining it!
I think it’s worth mentioning my thoughts on the sequel too, seeing as it’s part of the Kingsman-verse. The Golden Circle ripped off its predecessor and was worse than the original. The original was good, I loved it, but the Golden Circle was just copying and pasting what the first film did but a new villain, a higher budget and more stars.
Overall, Kingsman: The Secret Service gets an 8.1/10. Though it lacked in some areas, it had a great villain, the right amount of humour and incredible action, putting a twist on a classic movie genre.
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Once again, thanks for reading this weeks review, and I’ll see you next week when I review a new drama/crime film that’s actually based on a true story. See you then!