Ever since Attack The Block, I’ve been fascinated with the UK’s hoodlum culture. Every time I’d finish watching the movie, I’d unconsciously try to incorporate their dialect into my everyday life. It doesn’t work.
So when I caught wind that Kingsman’s main lead was a bad boy from the ends, I was even more excited than I already was when I heard Colin Firth and Mark Strong were going to be involved. BRING ON THE ENGLISHNESS.
The Kingsmen are a super secret service of spies descended from a line of snazzily-dressed tailors who outfitted some of the world’s most powerful people. As if wearing suits isn’t cavalier enough, each Kingsmen’s code name is taken from the Knights of the Round Table. They honour fallen comrades by drinking a 200 year-old brandy, and they never take credit for their good deeds.
Eggsy (played by handsome Taron Egerton), a young man from the bad part of town, is the son of a fallen Kingsman. Galahad (Colin Firth) sees his potential to be a great Kingsman, recruits him, even though he stands out like a sore thumb compared to all the other highly educated, well-dressed recruits. And despite his shortcomings, Eggsy quickly proves himself to be a worthy candidate under the guidance and mentorship of Merlin (Mark Strong) and Galahad.
Of course, you can’t have a spy movie without a bad guy! Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) is the eccentric billionaire philanthropist that has the world eating out of his hand. He gifts the entire world SIM cards that will give everybody free calls, free Internet forever. Like that’s not suspicious and ominous at all. What’s the catch? Well, you’ll see.
I won’t even sugarcoat it – this movie is crazy violent. You’ve got exploding heads, people getting sliced in half, and shotguns to the face, all to the lovely soundtrack of people shouting curse words in delightful British accents. While the level of violence and rubbery people getting tossed around may be off-putting at first, it’s something that you eventually get used to… and eventually start craving. Trust me, the less seriously you take it, the more you’ll enjoy it. You may call a 10-minute long sequence of Colin Firth kicking some hardcore ass excessive, but I call it awesome. Besides, you have to admit, watching the Bible-banging douchebags from the
Westboro Baptist Church South Glade Mission Church die some pretty nasty deaths is immensely satisfying for the psychopath inside.
The writing was a lot smarter than expected. Every little detail is paid off and the plot, for the most part, was cohesive and moved quickly along. Stagnation, what stagnation? It was thrilling, intense, and made the audience laugh out loud with its smarmy wit and clever quips. Despite the film’s large focus on action and spy stuff, there’s also surprisingly tender character moments for Eggsy and Galahad. We get to see Eggsy grow into his potential, and develop a father-son like bond with Galahad.
The characters were wonderfully done, mostly due to the perfect casting choices. Colin Firth is incredible as always, Mark Strong is quietly badass as always, Michael Caine is… Michael Caine, but the standout character had to be SLJ’s Richmond Valentine, the morally ambiguous, fiendishly funny villain who projectile vomits at sight of blood. Oh, and don’t even get me started on that lisp.
Kingsmen is a satirical take on the eponymous British spy flick. And while it isn’t exactly breaking new ground, it’s still a surprisingly fun and solid action-comedy with just the right amount of wit and cheekiness. It’s anybody’s spy fantasy, really. You’d be lying if you have never thought of dressing up in a fancy suit, putting on a pair of vintage shades, and beating the shit out of people with a weaponized umbrella. I mean, come on.
Oh, and puppies.