Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
I clapped. At the end of the movie, I mean. I clapped. I’ve never clapped. Sure, others do it. It can be tempting at times. But this time I did it. I clapped. I couldn’t help myself. “Kingsman” was simply too entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely shocked. From the writing/directing team of “Kick Ass” and “X-Men: First Class” and originally conceived by the guys that brought us “Wanted,” “Kingsman” was bound to be pretty good. But in reality, it blew “pretty good” out of the f*cking water.
The Kingsmen are a top-secret, independent group of spies. Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton) is a teenager living in the ghetto of London, trying to protect his mum and sis from an abusive step-dad and stealing cars because why not? When Eggsy is recruited to be a Kingsman by veteran agent Galahad (Colin Firth), who knew his father, he’ll have to learn to be a gentleman. Billionaire Internet tycoon Winston Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) is planning on using his excess wealth to do some good in the world – namely, rid it of most of its population in an effort to help heal our ailing planet before we lose it completely. He has an ingenious way of controlling most of the world’s population, and he’ll use that control to…well, I’ll just let you watch it for yourself. Needless to say, the Kingsmen can’t let this go down without a fight. And a fight is exactly what they’ll get.
Commencing blubbering paragraph of praise in 3…2…1: “Kingsman” may be the single most consistently unpredictable movie I have ever seen. Right when I knew what was going to happen next, the opposite happened. When I made up my mind that the filmmakers wouldn’t do something as bold and original as…yep, they went ahead and did it. Even the minor details were nearly impossible to guess. And “Kingsman” is easily the most entertaining movie of the year…and maybe of last year, too. Let me remind you, I actually clapped. I giggled to myself, too. Not just at the humor, which the movie was full of, but of the sheer enjoyment it caused me. Fight scenes rarely come better-choreographed than in “Kingsman,” where one scene shows Colin Firth kicking ass with “Free Bird” wailing in the background. It’s applaudable in its own right. And I’m not one to bite my nails, but if that were a nasty habit of mine I wouldn’t have nails left. Hell, I wouldn’t have anything past of the knuckle. A plot so unpredictable means you actually fear that the screenwriters might do what you least expect. It’s anxiety-inducing. No character is safe from the wrath of an unpredictable script.
As Galahad, Oscar-winner Colin Firth is James Bond meets Maxwell Smart. He’s suave, gentlemanly, and badass. He’s the new knight. Plus, I just learned that the 54-year-old Brit did his own stunts. Un-f*cking-believable. Now, he says he’s itching for another action role. Well I’m itching to see it. In his first big American film, young star Taron Egerton is a stud. It always surprises me when younger actors (granted, he’s 25) have such an immediate charisma and on-screen presence. He has no problem at all being in the lead. Mark Strong was in director Matthew Vaughn’s “Kick Ass,” so he’s no stranger to this sort of violent fun. But here, he’s on our side…and you love him for it. He’s a total hoot. Samuel L. Jackson is a terrific villain, though his lisp is confusing to me. Sort of irritating. It does make you hate the man, I suppose…
“Kingsman” is unabashedly bold, intelligent, witty, and exhilarating. Just two weeks ago, I said how excited I was to see the 2015 release that would top “Black Sea” as the best of this young year. Well, I have most certainly found it.