Kingsman: The Secret Service is a 2014 R-rated comedy film directed and written — alongside Jane Goldman — by Matthew Vaughn based on the comic books The Secret Service. It stars a wide known cast, but the main actors in this story are Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Samuel L. Jackson and Taron Egerton. To get an idea of Vaughn’s directing, think of films Layer Cake (2004), Kick-Ass (2010) and X-men: First Class (2011). If you haven’t seen Layer Cake or Kick-Ass you cannot appreciate this movie for what it is. Kingsman is its own film genre. It’s satirical, bloody, ridiculously funny, foul mouthed and action filled. It’s almost like watching a Tarantino film. I mean, Samuel L. Jackson is even in it!
!!! SPOILERS AHEAD !!!
It’s no surprise it’s an R rated one and if you didn’t know that before going in, then you should have checked that. I heard people complain about it, that it was too much, and they were right but I’ll tell you why. The first time I watched it, I had the expectation of a James Bond film. So naturally, with the exaggerated fighting scenes and blood, I was slightly disappointed. But I liked the film. So I watched it a second time, this time with all the ridiculousness and entertainment in mind, that this brilliance of a movie has to offer and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment, often laughing out loud at all the “What the f*ck is this thing?” and “How deep does this f*cking thing go?” My favorite scene is when Valentine activates the sim cards world wide and everybody starts fighting each other to KC & The Sunshine Band’s “Give It Up” I laughed so hard at the degree of ironic music usage, and that’s why Matthew Vaughn is a master.
This is the first time we see Taron Egerton (Eggsy) on screen and what an excellent job he did! He’s a versatile and funny young man who’s going to be big and soon in many other films. Look out for him in the upcoming film Legend starring Tom Hardy.
It was a surprise to see Colin Firth be such a badass. When I think of him, I think of Love Actually even though I know he’s been in many others. From Bridget Jones and The King’s Speech to being a badass classy spy in Kingsman. He did good and was strange to see him get killed, since that’s not usual for him in his roles.
Now let’s talk about megalomaniac tech genius, Richmond Valentine, aka Samuel L. Jackson. Take an iconic tough guy and give him a lisp! I laughed as soon as I heard it. The real genius here is Matthew Vaughn for doing that. And Valentine’s fear of blood! It just doesn’t get better. Now as twisted as his actions and his ideas were, if you pay attention to what he says and how he reasons, it does make sense. We are the virus to the host we call our planet Earth, at least how we as a species treat nature. Samuel did a great job playing a role he’s usually not familiar with. He seemed almost harmless with that lisp.
What about Michael Caine? Have you ever seen him become a bad guy? I haven’t. His presence added more seriousness to the whole secret spy organisation.
I admire Mark Strong. He’s in many films and is always an interesting character. He has that confident voice and can easily do a serious role. To have him in this one adds more to the professionalism of the cast level.
The film’s score reminded me a lot of X-men: First Class. It wasn’t until after I watched Kingsman that I read Matthew Vaughn as the director. Then I knew and it made more sense. The soundtrack is very similar. But the other soundtracks, the songs from other artists, were skillfully used in the funny scenes they were put in. The excellent choice of music for an intro using Dire Strait’s “Money for Nothing,” the church fight with “Free Bird,” worldwide fights with “Give it Up,” Eggsy stealing that guy’s car with “Bonkers,” and all the heads exploding in beautiful colored mushroom clouds to Sir Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” show what an excellent job they did in editing.
Even in the moments where it’s not funny and it’s serious, it’s also very good. As if the previous funny things have been forgotten and now we are watching a serious James Bond film.
A masterpiece by Matthew Vaughn and I’m happy to hear that he’s currently writing the screenplay for the sequel!
Thanks for reading my review!
– Nick Andersen