Twitter Plot Summary: The Kingsmen are a secret spy organisation who protect the world from threats like Valentine. Eggsy is a youth introduced to their world.
Brought to you by the same creative team that gave us Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service is a refreshing take on the spy genre, splicing its classic DNA with a modern edge that sets it off along its own post-modern path. Not just content with almost breaking the fourth wall, this is a script which delights in subverting your genre expectations at every turn and providing laughs aplenty and provides a more than adequate adaptation of Mark Millar’s original comic book.
In brief, this is a world in which a secret group of well-dressed and well-spoken spies, known as the Kingsmen, protect the world from its biggest threats. Meanwhile Eggsy (Egerton), a hooded youth from a rundown estate, is recruited into their world by Galahad (Firth) and trained in the Kingsman ways.
Colin Firth is an inspired choice to play Harry Hart/Galahad, a dashing secret agent in the same mold as Roger Moore era Bond. But there is more to the formula than that as the character represents the best of British spy cinema rolled into one character.
Perhaps more surprising is Taron Egerton as Eggsy, the stereotypical hoodie youth who finds himself under Hart’s wing and training to join the Kingsmen. You wouldn’t expect to find out that this is his first film, but it is and it makes his performance all the more impressive.
The next major role is arguably Mark Strong’s Merlin, for want of a better term the tech support of the Kingsman service. He displays a dry wit and an able hand in the brief moments of action he’s given, and unsurprisingly remains a permanently engaging and entertaining presence no matter what role he takes.
In other areas, there is the surprising appearance of Mark Hamill as an English professor, although if you’ve ever seen the 90s animated Batman show or played Rocksteady’s Batman games, you will no doubt have a mental image of his interpretation of The Joker. We also have cameo and extended appearances from Michael Caine and Jack Davenport, although the latter is probably deserving of more than he was given to work with.
Providing villain duties is Samuel L Jackson as technology guru Valentine, complete with a lisp, a penchant for McDonalds fast food, and a fashion sense that looks slightly odd on a man in his sixties. He’s joined by Sofia Boutella as Gazelle, so called because she has Oscar Pistorious-style (and equally as deadly…) metal legs.
There are many highlights, but the one that has to be mentioned is a kinetic action sequence set inside a church, not only highlighting precisely how good Firth would have been had he been given the chance to play Bond, but also the sort of madcap energy and humour that a completely over the top action sequence can provide.
If there are any complaints to raise, it is the relatively minor role that women get to play in the story, and some potentially ill-judged lads humour that has the potential to offend a certain subset of the audience. But despite these relatively minor gripes it still proves to be a hugely entertaining venture and an idea worthy of a sequel – provided it can avoid the pitfalls that afflicted Kick-Ass 2.