Movie Review – Kingsman: The Secret Service

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Immersive, entertaining, funny, well-acted but forgettable. Words I use to describe my experience with Kingsman.

A spy movie that acknowledges the various tropes and clichés often associated with the spy genre and then proceeds to break them with minimal effort and often a frenzy of laughter. As Samuel L. Jackson’s character Richmond Valentine and Taron Egerton’s Eggsy state, “It’s not that kind of a movie”. Which means no convoluted plots, impossibly smart heroes, wooden and expendable supporting characters or illogical situations (except a few).

The latest directorial/scriptwriting/production venture of Matthew Vaughn of X Men First Class and Days of Future Past fame. Sadly, unlike the aforementioned movies as well as Kick-Ass, Kingsman is not as memorable. It fails to find its footing and identity and at every step aspire to illicit the same laughter James Bond does and fails miserably.

Kingsman’s overarching plot is one of its weaknesses. It’s not particularly original and not well thought out either. So are many if the action sequences, but we’ll get there later.

Valentine drives a hard bargain with a sensible speech. He compares human to a virus on the host, the nature. With the current trend of population growth, it can only lead to two outcomes. Either the host kills the virus or the virus kills the host. But in either case, humans die. Unless someone does something to change that. So, after earning billions, Valentine takes it upon himself to save the human species from extinction. To do so, Valentine proposes a biological weapon. Neurological waves emitted from the SIM card his company will give away for free that trigger the aggression centre of the brain in a bid for humans to kill one another and martyr themselves for the greater good. All the while keeping the influential and powerful safe to be a part of the new world.

On the surface it seems A-grade but on going deeper the logic starts to crumble.

The true strength lies in the interactions and relations of the characters. The on screen chemistry and the dialogues. They never failed to charm the audience and keep them drawn into the tale of Harry (Colin Firth), Eggsy and the Kingsman’s race to save the world.

The movie does a fantastic job in being fresh. It outright breaks the various tropes and clichés associated to it. The duration of the movie, I kept on applying the various tropes and clichés to see where the movie would slip up. But sadly, when I walked out, I had a hateful respect towards the movie for being original and insulting my intelligence again and again. No obvious double crossers. The villain not missing the clue that Harry Hart is not a billionaire and instead somebody with a much bigger agenda than that of a billionaire.

The lead character, Harry Hart (Colin Firth) having a plot armor giving him a get out of situations free card. The movie outsmarts you at every step.

Expanding more on the characters, the movie does an amazing job of handling its characters the movie took its time to build up the characters. While the movie focuses on Harry and Eggsy’s relationship for the first half, it sets up other characters, another Kingsman Merlin (Mark Strong) as the cold test taker and Roxy (Sophie Cookson) the eventual latest initiate to the Kingsman so they can take control of the movie in the second half without it becoming too rushed, messy, unfamiliar or awkward.

In the opening scene of the movie, Harry Hart a.k.a. Galahad and the rest of the Kingsman are interrogating a Middle Eastern terrorist in a fort in the Middle East. Obviously. The terrorist pulls the pin on the grenade Galahad missed and it costs Lancelot’s (another Kingsman) life to save everyone. That Lancelot was Eggsy’s father, thus the on screen time and relationship of Harry and Eggsy which led Eggsy to the test to replace the recently fallen Lancelot in a botched rescue mission in the mountains.

It would be a crime to not give a special mention to Samuel L.Jackson’s performance as Valentine. He acts as the movie’s primary villain as well as comic relief. He has a lisp, thinks big, and is a scaredy cat and a joy to watch, all the way till his last scene.

Just like the movie does so many good things, it also has its flaws that sadly cannot be overlooked.

The action sequences were too long and illogical. The movie always tried to be something else, a sci-fi movie (a woman dodging bullets), too James Bond-sy, a martial arts/karate or Matrix style jumping around. They served no purpose other than ‘oooohs’ and ‘aahhs’ from the audience.

Another gripe that will detract from the experience is its heavy dependence on stereotypes. Eggsy, single child with abusive stepfather and no aim in life His mother, a victim of low self-esteem. People from Oxford and Cambridge being snobs. Boys being snobby and unfriendly.

All in all, though, Kingsman is one of the most well-paced spy films that has its moments and deserves a watch, well because it is fun and forgettable.

Rating: 3/4

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