Galahad: “Did you see the film Trading Places?”
Galahad: “How about Nikita? Pretty Woman? All right, my point is, that the lack of a silver spoon has set you on a certain path but you needn’t stay on it. If you’re prepared to adapt and learn, you can transform.”
Eggsy: “Oh, like in My Fair Lady.”
Galahad: “You’re all full of surprises. Yes, like My Fair Lady, only in this case I’m offering you the opportunity to become a Kingsman.”
Eggsy: “A tailor?”
Galahad: “A Kingsmen agent”
Eggsy: “Like a spy?”
Galahad: “Of sorts”
Galahad: “You think I’ve got anything to lose?”
A hyper-violent Our Man Flint. A British love letter to America. An R-rated send up of the spy genre. Kingsman is all of these things.
Now if most of us sane people were planning to go see a movie this weekend it was probably going to be this one anyway because who in their right mind is going to go see 50 shades of WTF am I watching?…but this movie proved to be much more than simply the default choice.
While the more mature Bond of the Daniel Craig years is one of the best things to happen to the franchise, there is certainly something to say for the old cartoonish nature of 007. And this movie welcomes back the ridiculous megalomaniacs bent on world destruction, henchmen with preposterous weapons, exploding cigarette lighters, and spies in nice suits. However while this is a ridiculous spoof of spy films of old with wacky fun and banter it does not make the dumbest mistakes of the old movies, like villains monologing their plans to the hero.
The story follows the Kingsman, a semi-private intelligence agency that works outside the restraints of government power to ensure that lives are saved, as they work to replace a recently dead agent. Colin Firth’s character (codenamed Galahad) selected the son of a former associate, Gary “Eggys” Urwin, who has his own chequered past. While Eggys makes his way through a series of rather extreme tests, Kingsman agents Galahad, Arthur (Michael Caine), and Merlin (Mark Strong) track down the nefarious actions of Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), a lisping internet billionaire who seems to be an amalgamation of the founders of Google, Facebook and Al Gore. Valentine, cribbing notes from Moonraker and possibly internal DNC documents, has decided that the only way to solve global warming is to eliminate all of humanity (except for the chosen few…you may recognize one of them).
That’s right the villains are global warming nut jobs. But if you thought that was the only place that liberals take a hit in this film…well you know the registered Democrats over in Westboro (yes, the media doesn’t like hyping that, but they vote blue) also take their hits…a lot of hits…with guns…and axes…and broken pieces of wood impaled through the Fred Phelps stand in…it’s just a feel good movie in a lot of ways.
As with any Bond-esque the film ends with Eggys in an action packed shoot out to save the world and get a girl. All the while clever banter and some actual tension dot the field in between the well-shot, albeit over the top, actions sequences.
This film seems to have completed Colin Firth’s desire to be an action hero as he expertly kicks ass several times in this film with a lethalness that would frighten Jack Bauer and any of Liam Neeson’s recent roles. And relative new-comer Taron Egerton proves quick the capable actions star and comedy star as Eggys. I’d praise Jackson’s work, but do I really need to? Like Gary Oldman you can just hand him a script and he becomes whatever character you need no matter how different it is from any previous role he’s played.
And lest you think this is just a puff piece of action and humor, the film does actually make some decent comments about true egalitarianism (while not falling into trite liberal class warfare). The writer/director Matthew Vaughn even goes far enough to point out that while some of the more corrupt politicians in the world would back Valentine’s genocidal plan (again you may recognize someone) there would also be a huge number of the rich and powerful who would not. It’s refreshing to see liberal ideas and icons shown to be the villains they are and conservative principles come out on top. Oh and to top it all off the world is saved because of technology developed by Reagan’s Star Wars plan.
The movie is clever, well paced, invigorating and truly enjoyable. I will certainly be seeing it again in the theaters and buying it immediately when it comes to DVD…and while it might get old if rushed or overdone, I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel.
4 out of 5.