Movie Review: Kingsman - The Secret Service
by Carly Booth | published Mar. 12th, 2015
Last month, the highly-anticipated "Fifty Shades of Grey" film adaptation heated up the movie doldrums of February and earned over $400 million worldwide, despite a severe … err, spanking from critics — the film currently has a 24 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes (RT).
Another movie, British spy comedy "Kingsman: The Secret Service," had its American debut that same weekend. It came in second to "Fifty Shades" at the box office, but had a significantly warmer reception (RT rating: 73 percent).
Understandably, it wasn’t as heavily marketed or hyped as its erotic-drama competitor, but with the "Fifty Shades" frenzy finally cooled down, it’s time to give "Kingsman" the love (and money) it deserves.
"Kingsman," which is loosely based on the comic by Mark Millar, follows street kid Eggsy (Taron Egerton), who has a rough home life and abusive stepfather, and often breaks the law. One day, Eggsy is bailed out of jail by Harry Hart (Colin Firth), who is a member of the crime fighting organization Kingsman and his eventual mentor.
Eggsy is recruited by Hart to participate in Kingsman’s cutthroat training program, in which he must compete against five other trainees in extremely difficult tests to see who is most worthy of filling the seat left by a fallen member.
Meanwhile, tech genius Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) plans to take over the world with his promise of free Wi-Fi and phone calls “For everyone, forever.” The Kingsman’s mission throughout the second half of the movie is to take down Jackson’s maniacal plan.
Matthew Vaughn's (director of Kick-Ass) spy spectacle is probably what it would look like if Quentin Tarantino directed a James Bond movie: action-packed with plenty of sly humor to boot, but outrageously violent. Part of me wants to advise moviegoers to steer clear of this movie if they don’t like graphic violence, but another part of me doesn’t, because you’ll miss out on one of the most exciting movies of 2015.
If you can look past the blood and dismembered body parts flying around, "Kingsman" has at its core a nice story about the relationship between a master and his apprentice, and it plays with spy movie tropes in hilarious ways.
Oscar-winner Colin Firth is responsible for some of "Kingsman"’s funniest moments. For example, Hart takes Eggsy to a bar to talk with him about Kingsman when a bunch of thugs come in. After beating them up, Hart nonchalantly finishes his pint as if nothing happened.
Later, he infiltrates a church meeting in Kentucky led by a Fred Phelps-like figure, and when a churchgoer takes notice, he says to her:
"I'm a Catholic whore, currently enjoying congress out of wedlock with my black Jewish boyfriend who works at a military abortion clinic. Hail Satan, and have a lovely afternoon, madam."
I’d like to petition to add that gem to AFI’s Greatest Movie Quotes of All Time.
One of the most vicious church brawls ever committed to celluloid (and set to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird”) quickly ensues, and it’s truly glorious to witness.
As someone who has seen both "Kingsman" and "Fifty Shades of Grey," I can confidently say that "Kingsman" is the superior movie and way more deserving of your money than "Fifty Shades." There are dozens of sexy romance movies that do a million times better what "Fifty Shades" does, while "Kingsman" is a unique gem that's as good as modern-day spoof films get.
I really have only one thing left to say: when does the sequel come out?