Sunday, March 1, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service

By Sati. Sunday, March 1, 2015 , , , , , , ,
(spoilers)

If you would have told me before I went to see Kingsman that I'll enjoy a movie made by Matthew Vaughn, I would have never believed it. I find his X Men to be really mediocre, his Layer Cake to be excruciatingly boring and almost criminally overpraised and Kick Ass is one of the worst things I've seen in my entire life and I do not mean just movies - things. But perhaps every director I loathe must have at least one movie I enjoy. Terrence Malick - Thin Red Line. Lars Von Trier - Melancholia. And now Vaughn and his amazingly fun and entertaining Kingsman.

The film bears very strong resemblance to many spy comedies and X Men: First Class (the sky diving sequence especially) but at the same time it feels fresh and unique. While some things are stale - especially the tired Michael Caine is a villain plot twist - Kingsman brings several things that felt like a real breath of fresh air.
First of all, the protagonist. Young, vulgar, rebellious. In any other movie he would be annoying. But not here. While Eggsy is a loud teenager, he is also a good person. There are so many bits showing him being caring towards his sister and mom and then we see him love his dog so much and that's always a big winner for me.

Then there is the actor playing the part - Taron Egerton. I don't know where they found him but he is so charming and likable. Aaron Taylor Johnson in Kick Ass was just irritating and all of the kids in X Men - not just the eternally bugging the shit out of me Jennifer Lawrence - were all so bland and forgettable. This one you are actually rooting for and that's so rare. And he isn't some kind of perfect hero - he is willing to cheat, kill and yes, exploit. But it's all done in a very fun way.
Another thing that is so fresh is that the film casts Colin Firth in a role we have never seen him play before - he simply kicks ass. We saw Firth being suave, elegant and funny before but we never saw him in action scenes like that. The fact that the film combines that archetypal myth of the perfect, always dashing and well mannered British gentleman with the role of an action hero is absolutely brilliant. We get to see Firth choose a great suit and in another scene ruthlessly take down dozens of people. It doesn't get better than this.

The supporting cast is great - it was so much fun seeing Jack Davenport in a movie again, even if he didn't have that much to do. Sofia Boutella is awesome as the villain's sidekick Gazelle, she really created very fun and interesting character and Hanna Alstrom is great as feisty princess of Sweden. But my favorite was Mark Strong who was effortlessly charming and funny as Merlin.
Samuel L. Jackson is having a blast playing a cartoonish villain with a lisp - Valentine. Interesting thing is that his plan is based on the noble cause. Yes, the means are awful and he is insane but he is kinda right, isn't he? Here's the thing about Kingsman that makes it so much fun - it throws things at you, you completely don't expect - that a villain actually is right on some level, that the cute girl actually pulls the trigger, anal sex, killing of the co-lead, putting child in danger.

Many of those are over the line but unlike Kick Ass, the film never crosses to the reprehensible territory. The dogs really survive, nothing bad happens to Eggsy's sister and that anal sex? Are you kidding me with all the outrage? Eggsy didn't force her, she volunteered. Clearly she was joyful about it. So you are just operating on the assumption that a female can't enjoy anal sex. The outrage over the scene? That is what is sexist here.
The shot of frightened JB is the only thing that disturbed me. I'm also not surprised to read this trivia -  Writer/director Matthew Vaughn originally wanted the Kingsman agents to kill the dogs, but co-writer Jane Goldman felt it risked losing the audience. Of course Vaughn wanted to kill the dogs. Him and Wes Anderson would get along.
 
While Vaughn still appears to be a sadistic prick, I admire the level of details here. The code 2625 for the Princess' jail cell is, according to Urban Dictionary, the code for Anal Sex. Also it's worth noting that the concept of giving trainees a puppy at the beginning of their training and having them kill it as the last step also appears in the Song of Ice and Fire novels as a part of the training of the Unsullied. Goddammit, George.
What's also worthy of applause is that Vaughn didn't go the cliche route and pair up Eggsy with a fellow Kingsman candidate Roxy.
I'm glad. That bitch pulled the trigger.

The action scenes are just terrific, starting with a great sequence in a cabin through the insanely suspenseful sky diving sequence to the grand finale. But the most amazing sequence in the entire film is the scene where Colin Firth massacres 79 people in a church. The scene set to the legendary guitar solo from Free Bird is one of the finest action sequences you'll ever see. I guarantee you, your jaw will drop to the floor.
The soundtrack is also another thing that is top notch, both the choices of songs and the original score. The visual effects are great and often times very funny and creative - for example in the exploding heads sequence. And Gazelle's blades looked incredibly realistic.

In one of the scenes Valentine mentions how he would love to eat burgers from McDonald's and drink fine wine. And on a much grander scale a clash of mainstream and sophistication is mixed to perfection in the film - swearing, violence and not so subtle jokes on one side and British accent, fine suits and clever script on the other. It's surprisingly delicious.

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014, 129 min)
Plot: A spy organization recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program, just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Jane Goldman (screenplay), Matthew Vaughn (screenplay), Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons (comic book "The Secret Service")
Stars: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson

33 comments:

  1. Ha, yes-- you know I didn't like the anal sex scene. I think not liking something isn't necessarily outrage. I just thought it was too much, not b/c a woman can't enjoy sex, but b/c I didn't think the context made sense. But as you said, there's a woman with blades for legs, so I suppose everything should be taken with a grain of salt.

    I did love Firth. My favorite scene was the church scene of course. I'm actually still surprised Vaughn was able to produce a decent movie. The dog thing doesn't surprise me about Vaughn. I'm glad they let the dogs survive. You're right that Vaughn and Anderson would get along great. I think Anderson kills animals in every film.

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    1. I was referring to what is happening on social media and movie websites, eg. imdb where every other thread is outrage over this scene.

      Yes, he does, Anderson really is a psychopath.

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  2. Fantastic review! I wasn't sure if I was going to watch the movie at first, but I'm glad I did. Colin Firth was great, and he kicked ass in the church scene. The lead was quite likable too (some of my favorite parts of the movie were his scenes with his dog, they are adorable together), not to mention the rest of the supporting cast. This was a fun movie all around.

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    1. Thanks! Glad you liked it! It was so much fun seeing Firth in a role like that, I hope he gets to do something like this again hopefully without going all Neeson on us

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  3. I really enjoyed the movie and what a brilliant idea to hire Colin Firth to play the part. I also like the message of the movie: being a gentleman has nothing to do with your origin.

    I loved all the small details: the chav look of Eggsy, the terrible tartan jumpsuit he wears during his training, the fact Valentine cannot stand the sight of blood.

    Selfishly I hope for a number two because there are SO many british actors I want to see all dressed up and fighting. I mean, Tom Hiddleston would be just perfect.

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    1. Oh yes there are literally endless possibilities - they have the best men out there :) Oh yeah Hiddleston definitely would be perfect!

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  4. I've yet to write my review but I also liked it a lot! I mean, there's a lot to grab onto and that action scene, like you said, I've never seen something so sleek and beautiful in my life. And the puppy thing, I thought the same thing about Roxy, she's fcking awful for "killing" the dog.. for real or for not real, she is not for Eggsie.

    PS: I didn't know about the details.. that makes me want to see the movie again for more details.

    !! COLIN FIRTH IS EVERYTHING !!

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    1. Roxy died for me when she pulled that trigger, if she was send to outer space like in Gravity I wouldn't mind

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  5. Great review! I never would've expected this film to be fun either, the trailers look kind of terrible, but I'm glad you enjoyed it! I might have to give it a chance once it hits DVD.

    And your Harley fangirl heaven picture...LOL

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    1. Thank you! I rarely get to use this picture :)

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  6. LOL, I have yet to see this...but outrage over anal sex!?!?! I'm in!

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    1. Judging from the numbers of threads on imdb it's the most crucial scene in the movie :D

      It's not, people are just freaking out.

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  7. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I actually got dragged by my sister to go see it. I had low expectations but by god did I love it. The heads blowing up, the unusually dazzling visuals, the self-referential humour. YES. YES. YES.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it too! It was crazy fun!

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  8. Great review!

    I watched it and then the church scene - holy shit: I thought, having seen bits of it from the trailers, that he would try to save someone from bad people, but he ended up killing them all...in a brutally entertaining manner. And they were extremist Christians!!! :D

    The soundtrack felt a bit too much for me. It was good and I give the movie a 7/10.

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    1. Thank you! Glad you liked it! That scene will definitely end up in my end of the year list for 2015, it was just outstanding! I loved that they were Christians and that line he said to that psycho lady before all the craziness went down :)

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    2. That line was so good and the rest was the cherry on top of the cake! A big cherry.

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  9. Brilliant review Sati. It's nice to see Colin Firth taking on a different type of role! He threw himself into it and ended up being great. I do have a few issues with the way this one presents class and that final gag just seems out of place with the rest of the movie to me. But, at the end of the day, this one goes straight for entertainment and we shouldn't take it too seriously :-)

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    1. Thank you! I love that Firth did this movie, he is always so good!

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  10. I was going to skip this one, but your great review is going to make me check it out soon. Love the Harley fangirl heaven pic!!

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    1. Thanks, I love the rare moments I get to use it :) Hope you'll like the film!

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  11. This sounds amazing and exactly the type of movie I would see in the cinema. Too bad in my country (Pakistan), it's rated Adults Only (21 and over) and I've heard they cut the entire church scene :(

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    1. Oh damn :/ Then you should probably skip seeing it in the cinema, it's the best scene!

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  12. Glad you enjoyed this one too Sati. Yeah I thought Taron Egerton was pretty good here, never seen him before but he held his own against the more seasoned actors.

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    1. Yeah he was really good! Great casting all around

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  13. Excellent review, also really enjoyed this movie. Lots of great action, funny moments and unexpected events.

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    1. Thank you, glad you liked it too!

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  14. I really don't care for Vaughn either. Like you said though, even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. Still, I can't get excited about seeing this one either. Maybe on DVD.

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  15. Great review! I love that you enjoyed this so much. It really is a fun time, and it's very well-made. I'm not sure if I want a sequel, but I'd definitely see it if there is one.

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    1. I want a sequel even only because there are literally dozen of potential awesome British gentlemen they can cast :)

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  16. I'm skipping this post until I write my own, but all I can say is this: DO NOT WATCH KINGSMAN and then go see Man from U.N.C.L.E.

    Well, not if you want to enjoy UNCLE. I know they're totally different things, but f--k me. One was adult bookstore and the other was Sunday morning at the library.

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    1. Oh no ! I really want to see UNCLE for Henry!

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  17. Yeah i agree it's fantastic my favourite film of the year. I found this page looking up what significance of 2625 could mean and lol i found it, im not into rear anal but it didnt upset me in the slightest she asked and he was happy to lol. Anyway fantastic film i watch it at least once a month and i only have the latest Star Trek films i do that with not to mention The Chronicles of Narnia which are my favourite 3 films of all time so far and the books I was brought up with. Darren

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