Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) Directed by Matthew Vaughn. With Colin Firth, Taron Edgerton, Samuel L. Jackson and Mark Strong. 

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The dream-team writer-director pairing of Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman with graphic novelist Mark Millar strikes again. In 2010, everyone loved Kick-Ass; those who didn’t were simply wrong. Kick-Ass was the first real example of a colourful comic book for adults, brought to life with exactly the right amount of vigour and kink. It was upbeat and light of heart, creating a cult following that made it far cooler than Batman and Superman combined. For Kingsman: The Secret Service, the band are back together for a dip into a world overstuffed with Bournes, Bauers and Bonds.

Tonally, the film feels like a contorted world of James Bond Vs Austin Powers, refereed by Guy Ritchie. There’s an audacity to the work that makes it resonate with that same distinctive tinge of rebellion that made Kick-Ass such a joyously riotous experience. Colin Firth plays Harry ‘Galahad’ Hart, a gentleman spy with good taste in suits, spectacles and violence. It is, at once, curious casting, but it also shows us how brilliant Firth would be as an alt-universe 007. Although Firth carries the film initially, the film’s focus turns to Taron Edgerton’s ‘Eggsy’, an unrefined young street kid caught between gang violence and an abusive stepfather. Through a past bond, an otherwise unlikely relationship forms, and Galahad takes it upon himself to invite Eggsy into the world of the Kingsman.

Once again, the Vaughn’s film is like a cartoon for grown-ups, with copious amounts of swearing, colour, violence and an eclectic soundtrack of familiar tunes.  As he has previously shown, Vaughn is able to sprinkle magic on, what many would consider to be worn material. His film X-Men: First Class, is arguably the most entertaining of the series, mostly thanks to Vaughn’s ability to make fun happen.

As a kid, I spent a lot of time in church and witnessed many a strange occurrence, but nothing that dropped my jaw like the sequence midway through Kingsman, when Colin Firth’s ‘Galahad’ visits an extreme right-wing gathering, and all hell breaks loose. It’s a perfect example of what makes Matthew Vaughn such an exciting director. His films have a throwaway quality akin to the likes of Quentin Tarantino…but you could never actually throw them away. You sit there thinking – ‘I can imagine people hating this’, realising that the dividing line between you and them is there for a good reason.

With Samuel L. Jackson on winning form, and cheeky script that isn’t afraid to mock its own conventions, Kingsman: The Secret Service is home to a good time. It didn’t ought to work as well as it does, especially considering how well-trodden the turf it covers has become, but the elements are balanced in a rejuvinating way that encourages us to want to play along for the hell of it. 4.5/5

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About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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18 Responses to Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. brettmkane says:

    I completely agree with your review, Gareth. I was surprised by how much I loved this film. A total blast from start to finish!

    • garethrhodes says:

      Hi Brett, it’s good to meet another Kingsman appreciator. Even though I’ve been a fan of Vaughn’s work to date, I had some reservations about this, which were completely blown away after about 5-mins.

  2. vinnieh says:

    This film was a real blast and very cheeky.

  3. really liked your review, Kingsman was such a surprise hit for me and one of the best films of that year.

    • garethrhodes says:

      Thank you James, I know some have trouble with some of the content, but I just found lots of fun and mischief. Vaughn is a breath of fresh air in a world that is terrified to death of not ticking ALL the PC boxes.

  4. I was surprised by how much I loved this movie but had a total blast watching it. I think you’re absolutely right–this is definitely well-trodden territory, but the film makers somehow make it seem fresh and new. There were some pretty wacky moments, but this is an undeniably fun film. 🙂

    • garethrhodes says:

      I’m surprised how many critics had a beef with this. I know the church sequence is very ‘out there’, but the film was a whole bag of tricks and fun. I love the way Vaughn stages action in his films.

  5. I only recently had my chance to see the movie and loved it. That church fight was such an amazing scene to watch… I’d really like to know how they did that. 🙂

  6. I absolutely love this film. I love the way that anyone who has seen it immediately has the same expression on their face when you say, “The church scene.” I also was very pleased with Colin Firth as Galahad. Such an unexpected casting choice and yet it worked so well.

    Even if the sequel ends up having the Curse of Sequels, this film will always be a winner on its own.

  7. I loved that this film walked the line between being a spoof and an actual serious spy movie. It never takes itself too seriously and because of this is a ton of fun. Can’t wait for the sequel.

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