DIRECTOR: Matthew Vaughan
May Contain Spoilers!
Matthew Vaughan’s career has exploded over the past few years, from the director of a cult success that was Kick-Ass (2009), to the mainstream blockbuster which was X-Men: First Class (2011). First Class was a brilliant X-Men movie and the best, in my opinion whilst Kick-Ass was a strange, bloody and über violent take on the well-worn comic book genre. He was even marked as a serious contended to direct the latest Star Wars film, but J.J. Abrams took the job.
Here, Vaughan takes on the spy genre, more in, the James Bond films, but as always, he uses his offbeat eye to turn this world which we know all so well on its head. Based in England, a streetwise yob, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is the son of a Kingsman agent who was killed in action when he was a young boy. He is recruited as an adult by Harry (Colin Firth) who sends him to be trained in a “winner takes all” knock out camp as it where.
Meanwhile, super-villain with a heart of gold Valentine (Samual L. Jackson) is planning to go all biblical on the world’s ass and create a Noah’s Ark, within which the rich and powerful will live, whilst the rest of the world is left to destroy itself as part of a diabolical yet highly logical plan.
The plot is sound, with a level of plausibility. Yes, it is way over the top but is self-aware and it playing its James Bond hand really well. There are plenty of twists and turns, characters arcs and clever moments but the part that I and most people will want to talk about long after seeing this movie is what happens in that church.
In the films most shocking, and I mean shocking turns, a blood-fest in what you could loosely refer to as a “house of god” in the U.S., even though it was filled with right-wing racists! The scene is bold, beautiful and horrific on so many levels, more so, since the slaughter is carried out by one of our heroes.
Overall, Kingsman: The Secret Service is a great watch, bold and ambitious, smart and cool but it is not perfect. It is not what you would call an inherently fun watch, as it contains a dark core, cold at times but its ambition takes it along way, along with its nods towards the genre which it is almost sending up. But what this film actually is, is a bit of a mystery to me. It is not a spoof a such, though it contains enough elements to be one, but it also is not an out-and-out action film either, even though the plot makes sense and the action is awesome at times.
It is a film which you will enjoy in your own way and it is not easily defined if I am honest. I liked it but I didn’t love it. Still, Matthew Vaughan is a man to watch…