Kingsman: A Better Bond?

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service is a movie that was released in early 2015. It was directed by Matthew Vaughn, who had previously directed comic book movies like Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class. Like those two films, Kingsman: The Secret Service was adapted from a graphic novel, simply called Kingsman.

The movie mostly centers around Eggsy, a young man who lives with his financially struggling mother and her abusive boyfriend. After getting in some trouble with the police, Eggsy is bailed out of prison by Harry Hart, an older man who confirms to Eggsy that he once knew his late father. Eggsy meets Harry later at a tailor shop (which turns out to be a cover), where the latter invites Eggsy to possibly join an undercover spy organization known as Kingsman.

Soon after, Eggsy begins his training alongside several other candidates, where they’re given numerous tests that include landing on a specific designation from a plane, as well as vowing secrecy about Kingsman even under fire. While all of this is going on, a tech-billionaire named Valentine is coming up with an elaborate plan to control climate change and stop global warming. This plan includes eliminating the great majority of the world’s population and only securing those he deems worthy of saving. It’s up to Kingsman (specifically Eggsy and Harry) to make sure Valentine’s plans never go to fruition.

This movie ended up being a major pleasant surprise for audiences around the world, me being one of them. I was lucky enough to catch an advanced screening for Kingsman, just a little over a month before it was set to be released in the States. Going in, I didn’t have the highest of hopes. It looked like it just going to be a rehash of Kick-Ass, but with spies instead of superheroes.

Some of my favorite parts of the movie are as follows:

  • The overall style and tone. There’s tons of ridiculous fun in Kingsman, but it has enough of an emotional heft to have you invested in the story and its characters. You genuinely care about Eggsy as a person.
  • Plenty of references to James Bond movies, namely the Roger Moore era. I’m a casual 007 fan, so I appreciate how well-thought out they were without being too overbearing or inside baseball.
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Valentine, the villain of the movie. Everything about his performance, from the lisp he uses, to his aversion to blood, to his reasoning for a worldwide cull, makes for a real treat to watch
  • The chemistry between Taron Egerton and Colin Firth, who play Eggsy and Harry respectively. It’s refreshing to see a popcorn movie elevated by a relative newcomer holding his own against a more seasoned actor who’s also holding it down.
  • All of the action scenes are good, but the one everybody talks about is the church scene. It’s crazy exciting, and completely out of nowhere. Possibly one of the greatest action sequences in recent memory.

 

It’s been close to three years since I first saw Kingsman, and it still holds up. It’s become one of those movies that I’ll stop everything to watch whenever it’s on TV. Kingsman is everything you could want in an R-rated, modern spy film. It’s stylish, ridiculous, serious when it needs to be, and above all fun. If you’re still on the fence, check out this review for Kingsman for a more eloquent take on what makes it so great (though there are a couple spoilers.) I think there’s potential for Kingsman to be seen as one of the best spy movies of its time. With how perfectly everything came together in this film, it’ll likely be a while before Bond himself can top it again.

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