Review: “Kingsman: The Secret Service”

I can honestly say I haven’t had this much fun at the movies in a long time. And that includes a holiday season of Orcs, inflatable animated heroes, penguins and birdmen.  And it’s all thanks to Matthew Vaughn who has become the king of the imagination. He resurrected X-Men from spinoff hell, introduced us to murderous 11-year-olds and has now made Colin Firth the biggest badass of the year.

Turning the Bond series on its’ ear, “Kingsman” is the story of a young man, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) who finds himself introduced to the world of fancy spies with weaponized umbrellas and the codenames of all of King Arthur’s men. Eggsy, under the guidance of Galahad (Firth), begins training to become a training to become a Kingsman like his father. They are an organization so secret that secret has no idea it exists.

What ensues is a complete send-up of all the clichés of the spy-genre while reinvigorating them in the process. There is the gentleman spy who swaps the one-two punch for elegant kung-fu; the female bodyguard who swords for legs; the billionaire villain with a lisp and hip-hop flare (Samuel L. Jackson); and an ending that sees the hero get the girl, but not in the way you’d expect (in fact, its way better than you could possibly expect).

After the introduction of this wonderful band of characters, the movie spends a lot of time showing Eggsy in training. It may seem a little meandering at times, but the plot continues to develop while following Galahad (who I could watch Firth play in 100 movies), while still managing enough fun and laughs. Even when this movie could’ve been dull it’s more fun than any other movie this year, so far.

Then it all erupts in an epic final act fit with sexual innuendo appropriate for a modern audience, an elaborate space scene and a fireworks show of exploding heads (yes, that’s what I meant to type, because that’s exactly what happens). You can tell how much fun everyone had making a movie when they can literally do anything and have you buy into it 100%.

There is no better example than what Vaughn did for Firth’s Galahad as he did with Chloe Moretz’s Hit-Girl in “Kick-Ass”. He took a seemingly unassuming character of a certain age (Moretz’s 11 to Firth’s 54) and has them do things people of their type do things no could imagine. I won’t spoil anything, but once Firth walks out of a certain church you will again understand why his “King’s Speech” Oscar was well-deserved.

He also makes a star out Taron Egerton as he did Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who proves both range star power morphing from cockney street-tough into Bond’s replacement.  I can expect we will see a lot of him soon, hopefully in the next “Kingsman” movie, which I will personally sell myself to fund if Fox doesn’t

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is a superhero, spy movie for the tea drinkers of the world. It trades out spandex for three-piece dinner jackets and puts Colin Firth on the same level as Captain America.  Seems unbelievable, until you’re won over by the rapier wit, joyous violence and the giddy blend of homage and originality—after that you won’t be able to remove the grin from your face.

 Grade: A

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