Kingsman: The Secret Service is the latest comic book adaptation by director Matthew Vaughn and the second time he has worked off of original material written by Mark Millar. The film features an all star cast including Colin Firth, Samuel L Jackson, Mark Strong, and Michael Caine as well as newcomer Taron Egerton.
In a world where evil lurks around every corner, there is a top secret organization called Kingsman who are there to stop the bad guys before they can do crazy things like conquer the world. After a member of this highly trained and capable team is lost, the agent known as Galahad (Firth) looks to replace him in the ranks with a young man (Egerton) who is currently more likely to steal a car than save the world. Still, there is a bit of history behind this boy and his talents quickly become evident in the Kingsman training program. Meanwhile, a business tycoon named Mr. Valentine (Jackson) has just released a piece of technology to the world free of charge although his plans for it are a little more devious than he is letting on.
After being the man behind both Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class, I had high hopes that Matthew Vaughn would be able to continue his run at successfully adapting comic book stories to the silver screen and he did not disappoint in any way. What I like most about Kingsman is how it is equal parts of those two previous films and continues to push the envelope of how cool and fun a comic book movie can be. There is an awesome self awareness and tongue in cheek flair that he brings to this movie that is very reminiscent of Kick-Ass and the epic scale and slick style is definitely pulled from the retro, super hero vibe of First Class. I can't recall any moment in the film where I felt it was moving too slow or getting bogged down by too much dialog. The pacing is perfectly in tune with the style and attitude this movie is trying to convey and there is also just enough silliness thrown in so you don't forget that, even though no one has super powers, this is definitely a comic book movie.
The casting of this film was absolutely perfect with Colin Firth brilliantly portraying a James Bond style panache that is the foundation of the entire movie. If his character doesn't work, the rest of the cast isn't as believable in this world and the story would just sort of fall apart. Mark Strong is also very good as a sort of technical assistant and jack of all trades within the Kingsman organization and he makes you quickly realize just how important his character is. Throw in a performance by Mr. Samuel L Jackson that is unexpected and hilariously well executed and you have the perfect bad guy to oppose an elite organization of English gentlemen.
Not to be outdone is newcomer Taron Egerton who may have just cemented a very fine career for himself as he does more than just hold his own among some of the most respected actors in the business. Seeing him next to guys like Firth, Caine, Strong, and Jackson and not melting away into the background is an achievement in itself, but he takes it a few steps farther and actually outdoes them in several key scenes. He has a charm and likability that should keep him on marquees for years to come and hopefully in more than a few Kingsman sequels.
When it comes to spy thrillers, there better be lots of big chase scenes, even bigger explosions, cool gadgets, expensive bottles of alcohol, well tailored suits, and a doomsday device that could be set off at any minute by the main bad guy. Kingsman has all of these and so much more. The whole thing is just jam packet with everything and anything you could ever want in this type of movie. There's even a super cool and seriously bad ass lady on the evil side of the ledger (played by Sofia Boutella) who you just have to see in action to believe. One really nice surprise is how, even though we've seen countless movies like this before, Vaughn and company still manage to keep it fresh with some truly original ideas, most of which I'm sure came straight off the pages of Mark Millar's comic book stories. Major kudos to everyone involved for not letting this be just another spy movie.
I am very comfortable in saying that Kingsman: The Secret Service is a truly great movie and should bring in some major piles of cash at the box office. This is definitely more of a summer blockbuster type movie than an off season space filler and is hopefully the beginning of a franchise we will be able to enjoy for some time. When you go watch this movie, bring all your friends, kick back with a big bucket of popcorn, and prepare yourself to have a really good time.