Kingsman: The Secret Service ★★★½

This film is, quite frankly, better than it has any right to be. Most of that is due to its unique voice: a proposterous marriage of Edgar Wright’s British wit, Tarantino’s pull-no-punches approach to action, and all of the charm and cheese of every Bond film ever made. What Kingmans delivers feels new and fresh, an undeniably fun romp that consistently defies expectations and doesn’t leave much on the table.

It doesn’t all work, however. There’s a lot of clumsiness in the delivery - from camera moves that feel un-smooth and visual effects that feel unpolished, small moments of completely unnecessary exposition, and a couple of ham-fisted gags that just don’t work - but while these issues can be painfully obvious, none of them really detract from the overall experience in any major way. In two instances, however (one involves the introduction to a cast of hyper-religious characters and the other involves anal sex), there’s some really poor decisions made for the sake of punctuation that just fall too far on the side of uncouth. The film’s closing scene, although calling back to earlier material, also feels a little on the lazy side.

The film opens with an absurd set of typographic titles interwoven into a spy-mission-in-a-nutshell prologue. It’s the first taste of the (seemingly) intentionally-imperfect approach to delivery that eventually allows us as an audience to roll with how ridiculous some parts of this movie get. And it does get ridiculous. Much of the action set pieces are breathtakingly well-correographed and expertly captured on camera, but these are often the moments where reality is suspended and the ideas of the film run wild.

The cast is generally fantastic, with standout performances by Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson - the latter of whom plays the role of "evil billionaire tech mogul" rather effortlessly, infusing a wonderful new spin on a tired archetype. And that’s kind of what resonates the most with this entire film - it’s riffing on the archetypes we’ve become bored with, in explosively fun new ways.

While I’m not entirely sure who this film was made for - my guess is any male aged 16 through 30 - I don’t feel any shame in lauding this film as an extremely fun detour from convention.