After much confusion regarding the release date, action-comedy “Kingsman: The Secret Service” finally premiered in North America this weekend.
The Kingsmen is a British private intelligence agency guised as tailors. They are the ultimate gentleman-spies. Kingsmen wear fitted suits and sip fine scotch while effortlessly dispatching villains with their silenced pistols.
The movie starts in the Middle East in the late 90s. During an interrogation lead by agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth), an enemy pulls a grenade in an attempt to kill himself and the secret agents. One agent dives on the suicide bomber, giving his own life to save his fellow agents. This man was main character Eggsy’s father. Upon returning to England, Agent Hart visits his colleague’s grieving widow and young son. He offers his condolences and gives the young Eggsy a medal with a number on the back. The number, if called, is good for one free favor.
Fast forward to present day. Eggsy (Taron Egerton), now a young adult, has fallen on tough times. After his father’s tragic death, his mother remarried. Eggsy’s stepdad is an abusive alcoholic. When he isn’t hitting his family, he’s at the local pub drinking their money away. This tough home environment has driven Eggsy to a life of petty crime. Eggsy dropped out of school and has criminal rap sheet longer than Adrian Brody’s nose. After an arrest for stealing a car, Eggsy calls the number on the back of the medal he received over a decade ago.
Eggsy is released from the police station and thrust into something much bigger. Due to the recent and mysterious death of an agent codenamed Lancelot, the Kingsmen need a new agent. Harry sees potential in his late partner’s son and enters Eggsy into the rigorous and deadly training program with the other hopefuls. Only one will pass.
Elsewhere in the world, celebrities and leaders are disappearing and brilliant internet businessman and philanthropist Valentine (Samuel L Jackson) is at the center of it all. Distressed by humanity’s negative impact on the environment, and his inability to reverse the damage through conventional means, Valentine has decided that culling the human population is the only workable solution left. As he attempts to destroy society in an attempt to save Earth, it falls to the Kingsmen to stop him.
What makes “Kingsman” such an excellent movie is how seamlessly it blends action and humor.
Everything about the film is over-the-top, and this is where a lot of its humor is derived from. Combat scenes are delightfully violent, without crossing into the realm of sickening gore. People get stabbed, cut in half, shot in the head and more, but never once does it become distasteful. “Kingsman” is over the top, but self-aware.
The comedic writing is spot on, too. Dialogue between characters is witty and dry, and dramatic irony is relied on in the most excellent way. One scene has rapscallions in a bar mistake a Kingsman agent as a “dandy.” He’s well dressed, well spoken and in their territory. They soon realize what the audience already knows, in this universe a man in a suit and oxford loafers is a very dangerous man indeed.
“Kingsman” isn’t just hilarious writing and awesome action scenes, the plot line is intriguing and well done too. All of the characters are incredibly relatable and likeable, even Jackson’s sinister and lisping Valentine. You truly get behind these people and become incredibly invested in where they end up.
The plot line moves forward without becoming too fast or getting bogged down. It maintains a comfortable pace the whole time. This is due to its blend of humor and seriousness. Just as the plot gets super serious, someone cracks a well timed joke to relieve a little bit of the pressure. The result is a movie that keeps viewers hooked without ever becoming tiring. Not once did I wish it would hurry up and reach its conclusion.
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is an excellent movie. In fact, it may be the best movie I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s funny, action packed and well written. It keeps you entertained completely, the whole way through. I highly recommend everyone go to see this film.