Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service ★★★


I started the Kingsman franchise by watching the 2017 sequel in theaters first. I didn’t enjoy that one and was surprised by all the hype. After watching this for the first time, I understand it more. Kingsman: The Secret Service is an exciting blockbuster with a very notable cast. And even if the plot isn’t exactly revolutionary, the well choreographed and effectively shot action as well as a memorable score make for an undeniably fun experience.

Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is a troubled young man in south London, with a dead father who had worked in a spy organization known as the Kingsman. Harry Hart (Colin Firth), an agent of the organization recruits Eggsy into the secret service group in an effort to stop a wealthy criminal. Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) attempts to end climate change through the mass murder of a huge portion of the global population. 

Colin Firth worked perfectly as the suave Harry Hart. He brought all of the classiness you would expect from a James Bond type of spy. He’s the highlight of Kingsman and the scenes without him are much less interesting than those with. Egerton played Eggsy about as well as one could for a character with an underwritten emotional side. But the chemistry between Egerton and Firth is charming enough to make me somewhat forgive it. On the other hand, Sam Jackson acted as what’s basically a caricature. It’s not to say that he was bad but rather that he didn’t have much to go off of to be more interesting. 

The first two acts were infinitely thrilling, even with some nice subversions during the training of the agents. Where the movie struggles was in its villain and the execution of the third act. The origin story of Eggsy becoming an agent was all great. But everything felt like it fell apart after Eggsy finished his training. The character of Richmond Valentine is mostly why. He is very one dimensional. The idea to solve the world’s climate change issue with murder was rather uninspired, especially considering we aren’t ever given much of a reason as to why he cared so much. His character as a whole was very cliche. 

What seemed to work most for audiences of this film was the mesmerizing action, thanks to a proper mesh of cinematography, choreography and editing. The slow motion editing was very popular for movies around the time this movie came out and I think it worked better in this than it does in a lot of others. The first bar fight scene instantly dragged audiences into the action of the universe with the intense editing. And the fight scenes are effectively paired to an upbeat score from Henry Jackman. He has worked on many action blockbusters and it certainly shows. He knows exactly how to elevate fighting with song.  

Even if it’s not a narrative masterpiece, it’s one of those action movies that really sticks with you for how thrilling of an experience it is to watch it. 

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