In “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” Director Matthew Vaughn (“X-Men: First Class,” “Kickass”) plants us in the high tech world of a historical, stylish British spy organization dedicated to defending society from disastrous threats, while once again proving that he’s a formidable force to be reckoned with in the genre of comic book films.
Adapted from the comic series, “The Secret Service,” by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, “Kingsman” follows the tale of Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton), a young, delinquent troublemaker with exceptional talent and promise.
After landing himself in a sticky situation with the British police, the suave and lethal Kingsman agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) bails him out of the mess as a favor to Eggsy’s deceased father, another Kingsman agent who was killed in a botched mission when Eggsy was a young boy.
Making the decision to leave his working-class life, Eggsy joins up with Hart.
He must prove himself in the world’s deadliest training program to become a true Kingsman, competing in a sort of class warfare against other extremely capable and stuck up boarding school contenders.
Only one will join the agency and claim the codename “Lancelot.”
Tech wizard Merlin (Mark Strong) and agency head Arthur (Michael Caine) give the competitors a run for their money through various tasks, and Hart does his best to aid Eggsy in taking on the physical and mental feats of the Kingsman program while also teaching him the ways of the gentleman spy, fitting him in dashing suits and instructing him on how to make the perfect martini.
At the same time, Hart is on the hunt for the calculating, Steve Jobs-like villain Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), who is hellbent on using his technological advancements to turn the human race against itself to stop the damage to the Earth’s environment.
He’s an old school villain (the kind who likes to use badass lairs and give monologues) but with a modern day twist, and his assistant Gazelle (Sofia Boutella) kills and dazzles with her razor sharp sword legs.
The film is smart, humorous and somewhat refreshing.
It’s a comic book film, but there are no superheroes here, just stylish characters with snappy one liners and really cool action sequences, very reminiscent of the intense but fun “Kickass” fights.
At one point, we see Hart expertly take on an entire congregation of hateful churchgoers based on the Westboro Baptist Church while the solo from “Freebird” blares in the background.
There are constant references to other spy movies, namely 007, but make no mistake, “Kingsman” is its own movie, and doesn’t try too hard to stick to stereotypical spy movie archetypes.
The result is an over-the-top, slick, spy action extravaganza that delivers laughs, charm and impressive action, through great characters and sensational gadgets.
It’s a spy movie made by people who know how spy movies are made, but with innovative and risky choices (decisions that might offend some people, this is the same guy who directed “Kickass,” after all).
An 8 out of 10.