This show is Matthew's best. It contains over the top violence (that church scene), language and kick ass scenes. While that ending scene is unnecessary, the rest of the film is captivating, entertaining, attractive and very likeable.
You come away from "Kingsman: The Secret Service" a little breathless, but more-so down to its bounding energy and sheer brashness than because you feel you have just seen a great film. For sure, the film is a colourful, kinetic experience; a series of brutal body blows which pulls you left; right and centre - across genres and through homages, but that did not stop me from feeling pleased that it was all over when it was. In spite of whatever "Kingsman" does well - the good choreography; the want to see the characters make it through their odds; the amusing villain - there is an annoying feeling of puerility to the film, or of immaturity. When Matthew Vaughn released "Kick-Ass" in 2010, the cover of a popular British film magazine depicted one of the characters in full superhero garb and the headline 'Say Hello to Your New Favourite Film', and there is that same aggravating, even adolescent, sense with "Kingsman". It is difficult to put into words, but I am sure you know what I mean - the film is far from being your typical brain-dead blockbuster, and one cannot fault its ambition, but it lacks a certain nuance or sense of subtlety. The film tells the double-stranded tale of a young London lad getting out of one world and into another alongside a suave veteran of espionage who senses his time is coming to an end as comrades die around him and world threats seem to intensify. Colin Firth plays said veteran: a secret agent by the name of Harry Hart, who operates as Galahad in an all-action British governmental group running in covert operations - try to imagine James Bond's 'Double O' section on steroids. Parallel to him is the story of Taron Egerton's character Gary, colloquially referred to as 'Eggsy', whose father was part of the same eponymous secret service group Galahad is in until he was killed in action some twenty years ago. Raised fatherless, both he and his mother have since fallen on harder times and Gary, now in his early twenties, finds himself occupying a flat in a seedy part of London whilst periodically falling out with his mother's sociopathic new boyfriend and dodging potentially fatal gang warfare. Gary and Galahad's worlds collide when the latter loses yet another agent during a mission in snowy Argentina, wherein a scientist specialising in global warming has been kidnapped and a rescue attempt is botched. Galahad's boss, played by Michael Caine, is losing patience: this particular agent, discovered and groomed by Galahad himself, did not live up to expectations. Gary, meanwhile, is living on even less borrowed time and comes into contact with Firth's character through some relatively convoluted means in order to begin, in true "Men in Black" style, his inception into the universe of this elite secret agency.Providing energy to the piece is Samuel L. Jackson's wonderful villain Richmond Valentine; a politician hating eco-terrorist with a speech impediment who has made his name operating in the technology industry and flinches at the sight of blood. He has his henchwoman, Gazelle (Sofia Boutella), take care of the more murderous side of being a super villain - think a more nubile version of Richard Kiel's Jaws character, but with legs and feet replacing teeth... We have seen films like "Kingsman" before, and we have previously enjoyed narratives similar to what is depicted therein, but Vaughn is canny enough to construct the experience in such a way that has us feel like this is our first time. The film is not manipulative in this respect, but it is brash. As was the case with "Kick-Ass", it takes absolutely no interest in whether or not it is offending you or even wearing you down - like it or not, this is the route it's taking. Through whatever means, the film manages to balance both revisionism and convention into a congealed, post-modernist package. The way the film eventually comes to fuse the execution of a dastardly plan Valentine is hatching; Gary undergoing his training and the Kingsman agency uncovering a series of strange occurrences around the world of army militias conspicuously turning on themselves is satisfying. Midway through, Vaughn plummets us headfirst into a steadycam sequence of one of these militias fighting one another in what is a quite striking scene outlining in equal measure both precisely what is at stake should our heroes fail and that the makers of the film have an eye for raw flair and constructive carnage. Despite being an incredibly striking film, this sequence to one side, I am unsure as to whether "Kingsman: The Secret Service" amounts to much more than a well-made actioner with a familiar tale of a farmhand leaving behind his domestic set-up for world-saving greatness. It deals, mostly, in stereotypes: the fascist American southerners; the suave Westminster Londoner; the Scandinavian blonde and the Millwall Football Club yobs. Meanwhile, you get the feeling there was meant to be a message embedded in the film somewhere to do with the danger of phone/tablet technology, and what it is turning people into, but it gets a little lost. Irrespective, there is enough in "Kingsman" to recommend it - it executes what it wants to do with a certain unbridled brazenness and does what it wants with a level of enthusiasm where many other action films too often feel like they are going through the motions. This is not the case here.
I thought the movie was below average from the beginning, but the cliches and especially the sexist ending resulted in me even regretting watching it. Seriously, it's the 21st century and people still think it's ok to put a woman in a cell, have her bargain with a kiss to be set free by the so called "hero" and promising him, a complete stranger, anal sex if he saves the world (and actually giving it to him when he succeeds). I also resent the cliche with the woman being from Scandinavia, which reinforces the false image of women from these countries being "easy". Save yourself the agony of this crap movie and watch something else!