Daniel Craig’s era of James Bond has ushered a more serious, gritty version of the British spy. Brutal, efficient and not a trace of campiness in sight. However for those of you who yearn for a return to the witty one-liners, crazy gadgets and over-the-top villains, topped with a Martini shaken not stirred, then Kingsman might just be your cup of tea.
The film focuses on the titular group of agents called the Kingsmen, the modern day equivalent of the Knights of the Round Table, protecting the innocent from the evils of the world. The main story revolves around agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth), codenamed Galahad, who must train a young upstart named Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton). Unfortunately for Eggsy there is only room for one recruit in the super-spy team, and he must compete against a group of upper-class, snobby, spoilt stereotypes for the position. To complicate matters further, there is also a devilish plot masterminded by Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson in a hilarious turn), who plans to use technology to wipe out the dregs of humanity i.e. everyone except the rich and famous.
Eggsy, of course, is a surrogate for the audience. Helping us learn all about the ins and outs of the Kingsmen. Their rules, their origins and their wonderful toys. As he is put through his paces, we get an insight into what truly makes a Kingsman with action sequences that are fast paced, well-choreographed and are just fun to watch.
Colin Firth is totally at home playing the gentleman spy, but what is surprising is how adept he is in the action sequences as well. Two of the most memorable scenes in the movie feature Firth kicking ass against multiple baddies, and the fight choreography is just stunning and beautifully shot. A scene in the church is particularly breath-taking and I wouldn’t be surprised if Colin Firth doesn’t find more action roles coming his way.
And the same can be said of his co-star. Egerton has the cockiness and border line smarm to play the up and coming gentleman spy, and holds his own alongside a cast that includes Firth, Michael Caine, Mark Strong and Samuel L. Jackson. As well as being eye-candy for the ladies, he displays a likeability that will have you rooting for him as the movie progresses.
While there are quite a few clichés in the movie and a few sequences that will make you think “I can’t believe they did that”, on the whole the film is still a fun, fast-paced take on the spy genre that is hopefully the start of a new franchise. The final scene does pander to a very low brow type of humour, but it is one misstep that I am willing to forgive. Now if you will excuse me, I suddenly have the urge to go buy a double-breasted suit.
I give Kingsman: The Secret Service a 7.5 out of 10