At one point in Kingsman, a covered dish is brought out for a meal where so far the two participants have solely exchanged pleasantries on the vintage of the wine present. Instead of a classy osso bucco, or a shocking severed head, the platter instead contains a bunch of McDonald’s burgers and fries. Product placement aside, this moment more-or-less ties into the appeal of Kingsman; it was made by people who clearly enjoy gentleman spy movie, but what they’ve done is make a tasty and cheap burger. Thankfully, its really tasty.
Kingsman plays very much like a sister piece to Matthew Vaughn’s previous Mark Millar adaptation, Kick-Ass (and thankfully not its dire sequel), violent and aloof but only rarely grim. Instead of superhero movies, the inspiration here is the cheeziest of the ’70s Bond films, and this take on it pays more dividends than Spectre did. Superhero Colin Firth is a delight, and Samuel L Jackson harkens back to the somewhat-underrated The Spirit as a laid-back megalomaniac. Taron Egerton’s main character Eggsy never quite works as a thug, but blossoms in the final act of the movie. In fact, the middle third is really the weak point, where Firth is off on mission and Egerton is in training. The mission is great, but the need for an origin story slows it down a fair amount. Thankfully its relatively minor, and the opening and ending are engaging, original, and memorable entertainment.
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
Dir. Matthew Vaughn
Starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Sophie Cookson, and Samuel L. Jackson
Rotten Tomatoes (75%)