Kingsman: The Secret Service

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, Mark Hamill, Taron Egerton, Sofia Boutella

Rated: R (sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content)

A spy organization recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program, just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service

By Matt Greene

Kingsman deserves better than listing comparisons of it to other films. So let me get it out of the way: Imagine a cartoonier Bond film, influenced by Edgar Wright’s brainy editing, with Wanted’s unabashed silliness, Kill Bill’s oddly gorgeous violence, and Guardians of the Galaxy-style comic book humor and you begin to get the picture. Above all, it’s an absolute blast of pure movie fun. Boasting a great cast of perfectly matched characters and actors, kinetic scifi action choreography, and tons of slyly intentional silliness, Kingsman is funny, ultra-violent, and bursting with vibrant color.

The Kingsman is a secret British organization that combats against the biggest of Earth’s threats currently looking to replace one of its most recent lost members. Its structure has the skin of the ubiquitous YA-novel-turned-film genre, only much rougher. With director Vaughn at the helm, my fear was that Kingsman would be similar to many of his recent efforts: an interesting but ultimately sad miss. Blatant product placement and a couple too-clever-for-its-own-good jokes aside, this is happily not the case. Led by the classy and surprisingly action-inclined Firth as the elder statesmen of the group, the movie chugs along with inspired verve.

It’s also really smart. Themes like the presumptuous danger of playing God and personal honor vs. public persona bring just enough moral complexity to put it above films of its type. However, the boldly big goofiness that propels the film is never far from sight. Kingsman is a super smart action thriller that won’t disappoint anyone wise enough to skip 50 Shades of Grey.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service

By Cole Schneider

“Kingsman” is a blast. With “Avengers 2”, “Star Wars 7” and a host of other giant blockbusters set to be released later this year, there’s a great chance that this will be my favorite of the year. The combination of constant action, offbeat humor, inventive storytelling, sleek style, and surprising substance pummels the audience into a stunned awe. It’s rare for a movie to be this much fun, and especially rare to be this smart at the same time.

Think of “Kingsman” as Tarantino’s “Bond” film or Wes Craven’s popcorn spy flick. It’s hyper-violent and oozes cool, but it knows exactly what it is doing and comments on its own excess in the midst of fulfilling its own genre tropes and delivering big meta-movie lines. One minute there’s a brilliant action set piece inside a church and the next minute there’s the most frank, poignant discussion of remote military ethics that’s I’ve seen in film.

The tendencies of this kind of movie allow for us to easily let our guard down such that when a cartoon character like the one played by Samuel L. Jackson delivers a quick quip about something intensely serious we don’t bat an eye. It becomes so effective because of the tone presented before and after. There are many of these moments throughout “Kingsman”

I’d rather it would have ended a couple seconds before it did and would have liked to see some of the visual language match up with the subtext a little more; “Kingsman” isn’t perfect, but most of its flaws become endearing and the whole of the film is downright entertaining.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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