What made Kingsman: The Secret Service a good movie?
All right now. Let’s get serious. Matthew Vaughn’s latest film Kingsman: The Golden Circle is coming to theaters next month. The long awaited and highly anticipated sequel to 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service is set for release next month, and it contains 4 Academy Award winners in the cast (well 5 if you count Elton John).
But while we wait for The Golden Circle to arrive, let’s reflect on its predecessor. Kingsman: The Secret Service. The movie was the 3rd adaptation of a graphic novel in Vaughn’s career and it came after the surprise hit X-Men: First Class… just 3 years before. But what made The Secret Service good and actually a surprise hit on his own right?
Well… I’m going to state the obvious and start from there. The movie proved that good movies are not bound by genres. Sometimes it’s OK to bend the rules and especially bend the genres in order to make a fantastic movie. Similar to for instance what Edgar Wright has been doing in his entire career. The Secret Service showed a different kind of spin on a spy movie to the point that you can say that it re-invented the genre. But did it really?
NO. NO it did not.
It did however gave us an ultraviolent, foul mouthed, crazy, funny R-rated spy movie filled with fantastic action scenes, amazing British humor and great actors in the roles. It was stylish and brutal at the same time. It was funny and heartfelt at the same time. It was amusing, energetic and rarely overdone. But most importantly it never ever took itself too seriously.
If you recall Paul Feig’s Spy (which came out one year after Kingsman) had very similar qualities to Kingsman and that ultimately paid of big time. Like Kingsman, Spy was also a fantastic and comedic throwback to the good old spy movies that we love. But back to the topic at hand.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is noted for having the perfect balance of humor and violence. And trust me there is plenty of both in there. On that subject who can forget the infamous church scene where we actually saw a very different Collin Firth? Very different to what we were accustomed to see until then? We saw a new type of role that was so fit for him and so action packed that he immediately deviated from being a typecast posh/boring dandy to being a bad ass action hero. Well you know what I mean…
Gorgeous set pieces, poignant and stylish POV shots and beautify directed action scenes dominated the movie, but if you recall, the movie had a heart, brain and soul too… even when it stopped making sense. Which it did. Multiple times throughout the movie. And why is that? It had great, developed characters to carry big part from the weight of the movie. Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) was a great lead character. And I loved his progression form unemployed aimless young adult to a determined, brave and smart spy (trainee). He was of course guided by a great role model- the stoic, posh and brilliant Harry Hart / Galahad (Colin Firth) but on the other side of the spectrum, let’s take a brief look at the villains too.
Even the villains were memorable and brilliant here, not just the spy heroes. Samuel L. Jackson as the lisp-y/ bat shit crazy/ determined for world domination/ Richmond Valentine was out of this would and pretty much the same can be said for his henchman (or henchwoman) the titanium legged Gazelle (played by Sofia Boutella).
But in conclusion… Kingsman: The Secret Service looked like James Bond and Quentin Tarantino had their illegitimate violent, foul mouthed and crazy baby. Bloody, crazy and brilliant. And I can hardly wait for The Golden Circle to be honest.
I can hardly wait.