Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service ★★


"It's not that kind of a movie."

OK, thanks for telling me.

Kingsman: The Secret Service, above all else, is a rambunctious journey into the mechanics of surface-style. Its action, characterizations, plotting, and searing explosions of violence all feel uniquely birthed from the mind of Matthew Vaughn, and in that sense, Kingsman is slightly successful in its technical aspects. However, the glaring flaw with this ultra-aware tragedy is not found within those attributes, but in its self-congratulating hatefulness of sincerity.

I assume that I don't need to remind you all that the film is a spy homage, particularly of Moore-era Bond, because if you've seen Kingsman, then you've already received a concussion because of its endless meta head-bashing. Tackling satire and sliding it into the shiny sheen of the main stylistic focus of a story is nothing new (Borat and Starship Troopers are two excellent examples), but nothing in Vaughn's film calls for such an approach.

"It's not that kind of a movie."

I heard you the first time.

Sadly, It's an integral part of the film's foundation, and if it was removed, a shell of an experience would be left. From the first frame to the last, Vaughn fills every corner with ear-splitting energy, as if he's desperately trying to distract the audience from its total reliance on jokey Brooooooo humor and a severe detachment from the confines of a subtle homage. Even its smaller, more detailed references are completely overshadowed and mishandled because of Vaughn's approach, with kewl soundtrack choices and location use crumbling under shaky camerawork and wonky CGI.

In essence, Its "Manners maketh man" design is deliberately thwarted by the head-exploding, butt-ogling execution, but then again, the film doesn't need to consciously remind me every 5 minutes. Trusting your audience is essential, and when I'm watching Kingsman, I feel like I'm in the company of a preteen who is anxiously trying to explain his home movie, one that is so deeply personal to him that he can't wait to tell me about all his idols and the differences between his creation and his inspirations.

I deeply, deeply hate this movie, and honestly, it feels like the appropriate response to a film that is overflowing with a mindful sense of contempt. The story of Eggsy, seemingly found in a garbage bin, is as overwritten and as plainly performed as a typical Mom-drama revolving around Teenagers. Characters have dinner over a meal of McDonalds, and being spies of course, the topic of discussion is mainly focused around Bond films and their supposed seriousness. A distressed baby is in imminent danger because of her psychopathic mother, and it's all because of a "world-dominating" SIM card plan. A spy, after saving the world, runs back to a woman who is awaiting to receive anal pleasure, and keeping with the film's excess, the camera gets up close and personal as it gazes onto the bare butt of the woman.

It is these examples, and many more unfortunately, that lay the foundations for a film that doesn't care about its audience. It's too busy caring about itself, and in the process, Vaughn hopes that because the film seems to be having fun, the audience will join in. Curiously enough, as the film goes on, the in-your-face meta tones shift the entire experience into a strange vision of mediocrity.

Kingsman begs and begs and begs and begs for your attention, and if you, even for one minute, hold back any connection aimed towards its deafening shouts of desperation, the film as a whole seems to collapse into an avalanche of backwards baseball caps and high-five displays of rotten smugness. It's weirdly pathetic to witness, but that doesn't lower my ever-present urge to take my rental copy and shove right up Matthew Vaughn's ass.

"It's not that kind of a movie."

Fuck off.

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