I have to be honest, I originally didn't plan to watch this film because I thought it was going to fail. However my work boss recommended it as a fun brainless film, and given how much franchise films is coming up, I decided to check out this standalone flick over the weekend. (P.S. don't worry I am still planning to watch and write about Fifty Shades...soon!)
Kingsman is a comedy that borders on satire of the spy action genre. The premise is simple; uncouth teenager is nominated by an old friend of his dead father to train to become a member of a super-secret spy agency while a wealthy, brilliant but crazy philanthropist is executing a scheme that could threaten the entire planet.
As a general rule, these types of films are very, VERY hard to do right. Even worse, the gentlemen spy concept is by no means fresh, and to be fair they really didn't bring anything new to the table. To be absolutely clear, there is nothing original in this film; every spy cliche is in there. But to my surprise, as the fairly predictable plot unravelled, how it plays out is what gets progressively sillier with a big serving of self-indulgence, and I found myself enthusiastically soaking up every scene and every line of dialogue.
One of the strongest points with this film was the performances. Kingsman has a stellar cast of big name Hollywood stars playing ridiculous, over-the-top characters, and a script that is equally goofy, but Colin Firth really pulled off the serious, mentor role, and every accented word he utters, no matter how silly the surroundings were, made me feel like my ears were being wiped with silk; I can only dream to be so eloquent, cultured and controlled as he!
But as good as Firth was in this film, Samuel L. Jackson is the one who stole the show for me as this film's main villain. Samuel's other films this decade, especially the ones with Marvel, have been lethargic at best. He looked aged and without energy, and didn't leave much impression in every film since Snakes on a Plane. Here however, he seems rejuvenated and back with a vengeance. There are so many brilliant touches in his performance but even more in the writing, which constantly treads on the edge of comedy death. I won't spoil it for you, but both his personality and his diabolical plan is so nonsensical that it's a real guilty pleasure for me to even keep watching the film.
Without spoilers, I can't say much more because the fun of this story is in the set up as well as the pay off. It is derivative, but a very high quality one. Everything is predictable but it is still unexpected and really engaging. The music leaves some in want, and like I said, it really is a dumb story with no shortage of plot holes, but with flawless distraction techniques I really didn't find myself thinking about the details or technicalities.
With that said, Kingsman may very well be the new Men in Black for me, and if they make a franchise out of it, I'll probably check them out too when they are released. It is a well scripted, well acted, and generally well executed film that will launch a glass of awesomely insane fun and wipe that serious face off you for a couple of hours.