“Sorry, Love. Gotta save the world,” said Eggsy.
It’s not that kind of movie… Kingsman makes some on-screen commentary about its existence as an espionage movie by referring to some spy classics (especially James Bond series). This line refers to the same ol’ formula used in the heyday of spy movie; it nudges the classic battle between the suave, gentleman spy armed with all the queer gadgets, against the arch-nemesis, some geniuses or billionaire with wicked mind trying to control the world. To some extent, what director Matthew Vaughn attempts to convey through that line is correct, but not absolute.
Vaughn puts a bold underline—also through some on-screen line—that this is not a ‘JB-esque’ spy movie; not the style of James Bond, not Jason Bourne, and not Jack Bauer. Fortunately, he’s consistent about that. Kingsman never gets too serious and too dark (a requirement of modern franchise), but it never gets too dull; it’s a fresh R-rated comic book action depicted in a way it should be depicted—the synchronization of Vaughn’s and the creators, Millar & Gibbons’ visions to the core of Kingsman.
What happens in Kingsman is actually a good model of straightforward narratives adorned with good pace and roller-coaster action set-piece. There’s nothing quite new within the plot; just some aged, suave spy (portrayed by Colin Firth) attempts to find a protege to replace a deceased Kingsman spy. His choice comes to a secretly-talented scallywag (portrayed by Taron Egerton) whose past saved the spy’s life. What comes next is a slick combination of a master-protege relationship and a zero-to-hero storyline with abundant use of some exhilarating action pieces and some comedy. However, there’s a moment where the movie falls into the genre-cliche it tries to avoid—not to be ‘that kind of movie’—when Samuel L. Jackson’s villainy swagger reveals his true nature on the screen.
Thanks to Vaughn, it doesn’t fall to deep to the genre-cliche, ’cause it’s still not some repetition of the same genre from the 70s or 90s. While some modern espionage movies falls to the pit of trying to resurrect the glory of those ol’ days; Kingsman tries to modernize the genre with the ‘correct’ issue. It’s never been a homage to classic spy movie; all I can see is it tries to gain new fans in a geeky style of spy movie.
To watch Kingsman might remind audiences to the sensation on watching Kickass for the first time. The approach is quite similar—bending some usual genre franchise into a fresh R-rated genre rampage, which being consistent to their comic book origins. In Kickass, it was about superhero—the immortal genre that has become worn-off that time, now it’s spy genre—which has become too serious and too vintage to enjoy. The same thing recurs to the ensemble of casts—while Kickass succesfully introduces the world to the persona of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz while effectively cast Nick Cage for an effective role; Kingsman brings some actors we never know, let’s pick Taron Egerton, which I think doesn’t drop the ball, and effectively casts Colin Firth to a gentleman journey from King’s Speech to Kingsman. For whatever reason, Firth is still the magnet of the movie; he’s the star.
To be honest, Kingsman is exactly in the same league as Kick-Ass years ago, but that’s not a bad thing. All in all, Vaughn has made it with visceral style and reciprocal visions to the comic book it adapts. There’s some flaws here and there, but as long as it’s enjoyable, it’s still a master-class directing from Vaughn.
VERDICT: Kingsman bend the spy genre with visceral style and reciprocal visions to the comic book; it might follow Kick-Ass over-the-top approach in composing a vivid R-rated action, but that’s a good thing—with Colin Firth as the slickest suave spy ever.
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
Action, Adventure, Comedy, Adaptation Directed by: Matthew Vaughn Written by: Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman based on comic books by Mark Millar & Dave Gibbons Starred by: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, Mark Strong Running Time: 129 mins Rated R for sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content