I never made a top ten anticipated movie 2015 list, but if I did I can tell you that Kingsman The Secret Service would have definitely made it. For a start it’s based on a comic by Mark Miller the creator of Kick Ass. (In fact it’s revealed in the Kick Ass 3 graphic novel that this comic takes place in the same universe as Kick Ass). What’s more, the writing team of Jane Goldwin and Matthew Vaughn were back together, they have written the films like, X Men First Class. X Men Days of Future Past and the first Kick Ass film and they were back on board to write this film and Matthew Vaughn was back in directing duty as well, so essentially this was a return of the team behind Kick Ass, which is one of my favourite super hero movies and probably in my top 25 favourite movies list. It to me seemed like a winning formula, however, I did feel when I heard of the casting of the film when compared with the characters I had read in the comic that there was every possibility that this film could have become a mis-cast mess. But I also felt that if any one could work it, it would be Matthew Vaughan, after all he has managed to resurrect the X Men franchise. So I was pretty damn hyped to see this movie.
Now, for discussing the plot, I am going to draw parallels with the comic, because I did read that prior to going to see the film. To give my honest thoughts on the comic, I did enjoy it, but I felt, like a lot of Mark Millar’s work, it kind of lacked focus and the climax was a bit too rushed. The original comic was six issues long and I definitely felt it could have used two more issues to flesh out the story and give more focus towards the characters. Also Mark Millar has a real propensity for graphic violence, which obviously doesn’t translate that well to cinema screens, and as a result a lot of the scenes from Kick Ass were tamed slightly before going to the screen (Yes, the movies were the TAME version of those scenes). That being said, this plot definitely delivers the improvements I wanted to the comic and that is probably down to the fact that this is nearly a 2 hour long film. As a result the film had the extra time that the comic didn’t have to give it the focus that I wanted and it also helps that a couple of scenes from the comic that were pretty useless to the overall plot have been completely cut and it’s for the better.
The plot mainly centres around a young man from Peckham named Eggsy being recruited to an extra secretive service, working outside of MI5 that is not governed by politics, by a man named Harry Hart, played in this film by Colin Firth, believing that the service has become too snobbish and must be more inclusive and the film mainly covers the time that Eggsy is being trained to be a James Bond style spy whilst also investigating an internet millionaire named Valentine, played by Samuel L Jackson. That was the basic plot of the comic, but the film expands on this a lot better than the comic did and it makes for a much more satisfying experience. It draws a lot more into the idea of the class divide existing in England today than the original comic did, and it also gives a much more believable relationship between Harry and Eggsy, which was slightly missing from the comic, despite the fact that in the comic they were meant to be Uncle and Nephew. In this version Harry originally tried to recruit Eggsy’s father who was subsequently killed on a mission, saving Harry’s life and now he feels he owes it to him to give his son the oppotunity. This was one of the changes that I thought was going to backfire on the story, but it actually ends up working out very well so I am fairly happy with this change. I would say that about a lot of the changes from the comic, they really do improve on a lot of the aspects of the story. This film also gives us a great chance to get to know the characters a lot better as we are allowed a lot more of the time to be devoted to them. They are very likeable characters, especially Eggsy in this version who I think was definitely improved from the previous format of the comic. He is a lot more likeable protagonist. Also because of this films focus it also allows for the climax of the film to be a lot better, and it’s a lot flashier and has a lot more finality to it. Though there were other aspects that could have aided the climax, but I won’t go into spoilers!
The film definitely tackles James Bond style movies with a bit of tongue in cheek humour and it’s fairly evident from scenes towards the end of the movie as well as a few other scenes towards the beginning, but what is great about the humour regarding the James Bond formula and tropes is that the film definitely plays it with a bit of love rather than a bit of contempt towards the genre, again in a similar way to how Kick Ass had a bit of humour around the super hero genre, without displaying hatred towards it. I will say the humour really works in this film. There were some really good moments that made me laugh and I was still able to take the film seriously afterwards. The only downside to the changes that were made from the comic to the film is, I wasn’t quite sure why Valentine is a lot older in this version. I really think it was designed purely to get a more recognisable actor in the villain roles, but I still think there are a lot of young british actors, like many former Skins cast members and former cast members of Misfits as well as young American actors that could easily have fit the role of Valentine to be the young internet playboy like the original did. As a result it kind of makes Samuel L Jackson feel a bit miscast, but I will get more into that later. With that being said, if that’s the worst thing that can be said about a plot, then you definitely know you are on to a winner. This plot was really enjoyably well written and it is what Film Brain would call great popcorn fodder. It actually manages to do what not a lot of adaptations actually do, iron out the kinks from the original source material and improve upon it. The characters are very likeable and the plot is very engaging, even if, like me you have read the comic and seen most of them coming. There were a few minor hiccups here and there, but they weren’t enough to disdain my enjoyment of the film. It feels like a brilliant moulding of a James Bond movie with Kick Ass’s sensibility and a lot of characters from Attack the Block and is credit to Mathew Vaun’s directing.
The Acting. as I said, one of my biggest worries with this was its casting as I didn’t envisage these cast members in these particular roles from reading the comic, particularly I would say Colin Firth in the role of Harry Hart. I’ve never seen him do an action film before, but then again, Liam Neesom did manage to re-invent himself from doing a lot serious drama’s to a lot of action films by doing Taken. But Colin Firth is excellent in this role. He really brings his usual charm and likeability to it and he can adapt to the action very well. Some of the best scenes in the film revolve around him and he takes to action sequences really well and I wouldn’t mind seeing him in more roles like this in the future. Taron Egerton is excellent as Eggsy. he is a really great up and coming actor who I really think I’ll be following in the future after his brilliant performance and him and Colin Firth have excellent chemistry on screen. The cast seems to get better as the film goes on, even actors who you start out thinking, won’t do as good a job as you would like them to, will eventually come into their own. Mark Strong is excellent as usual, playing the role of the Drill Sergeant Merlin and Michael Caine does a brilliant role as the snobby head of Kingsman. Sophie Cookson is also brilliant in this role and I would definitely like to see her in more work after this. I also really enjoyed Sophia Bouttella in the role of Gizelle, she makes an excellent second in command style villain in the similar vein of Oddjob from Goldfinger. Even minor cast members, like Samantha Womack, known for her role in Eastenders, does well in this film. As I mentioned before, Samuel L Jackson does feel slightly mis-cast, but he does bring his usual charm and likeability to the role, he does have to do a constant lisp throughout half the film that just feels really weird, I have nothing against a character having a lisp but considering that Samuel L Jackson does have a pretty distinctive speaking style that is very recogniseable it seems a rather bizarre choice . Though I would say that I think Samuel L Jackson is much better at playing good guys than bad guys. I don’t know, he’s kind of a reverse Leonardo Di Caprio. There were no real bad performances throughout this one. It’s another excellent ensemble cast from the British Film Industry.
Presentation. Once again I went to see this film in IMAX because it was available in that format, to see if it was worth it. The short answer is, it’s not really necessary, but for certain scenes, it does have a slight improvement on it. I would recommend it, if you have a bit extra, to go and see it in IMAX for some of those scene, but if you don’t live in area that has an IMAX theatre or you don’t want to spend to spend the extra money, it’s not necessary to enjoy the film. These have got to be some of the best action sequences I have seen in a long time and the special effects to back them up are excellent and really immerse you in the experience and give you a rush. The fight scenes are excellently choreographed and shot allowing us to feel every movement on screen, particularly the scenes like the bar fight at the beginning, a stand off in the church and other scenes in the climax which I won’t go into too much detail around as I don’t want the spoil the end of the plot, but let’s just say, there is one fight scene at the end of the film that really sums up what I love about these sort of action films. The skydiving sequence is also brilliant and I was wondering how long it must have taken them to film it for it to turn out the way it did. The car chases are also well shot, although there is only really one of them in the entire film towards the beginning and it’s over a bit too quickly. What’s great about these scenes though is they really avoid shaky cam, which is something that I am really annoyed about in most action films. I’m looking at you Michael Bay!! What’s more, the slow down actually works in most of the scenes because it highlights the necessary movement that is meant to be highlighted to show off the sequence. It’s not just there because they are worried about the audience stopping paying attention, as used in Ninja Turtles! After watching Taken 3 it was great to see a film that can actually get its action sequences right, and that it’s definitely a breath of fresh air compared to a lot of action movies I have seen in recent memory.
There aren’t that many negatives I can bring up about this film. The only major gripe I had was the fact that the whole plot of Kidnapped Celebrities is brought up a lot, but we never actually see that many celebrities and I would have thought that this would have been a great time for cameo’s, but I get a sense that they couldn’t get a lot of these people to cameo in the film. They at least got Mark Hamill to play a role in the film, which was a nice reference to the comic, but the comic had a David Beckham cameo that I was hoping to see either him or their version of the cameo and that moment never came and I must admit it was slightly disappointing to not have the cameos of the Kidnapped Celebrities. That being said, this film is brilliant. I would highly recommend it to people. It’s an excellent popcorn blockbuster film that you don’t have to wait till the summer for, however it does have some interesting things to say on class structure without taking away from the escapeism. While this film is humouring and in some cases parodying spy films I think it’s going to give the up-coming James Bond and Mission Impossible films a run for their money. I was really looking forward to it and it did not disappoint. I would highly recommend this film for its great plot and characters. It’s just a good simple action film , it’s great fun and I loved it.
So what were your thoughts on Kingsman? I would really like to know your thoughts when you get round to seeing it. Leave a comment. We accept anything that anyone puts down and will not discriminate on peoples opinion base. You do not need an account or be from a specific area to do so. They can be as brief or as long as you want. It’s good to get a conversation going and if you want to write your own reviews for our site of any film you like past or present send you’re name and a word document to firstname.lastname@example.org (all in lower case) if you wish to remain anonymous on the site we will honour you’re wishes, however we will require your name in the actual email – for more detail check the end of my Big Eyes review, I explain everything.
I am now starting a new idea for my reiew by asking a question in each future review to potentially get some people who haven’t seen the film a chance to put something in comments section
This weeks question is simple:
Which spy film are you more looking forward to. The up-coming Bond Film “Spectre” or “Mission Impossible 5”???
Now my next film. You know what. I don’t want to move away from comics! Next Friday at the request of the lovely people at Autism Inclusive I am going to be reviewing Disney’s first animated film of 2015. The Bafta and Oscar nominated “Big Hero 6”. Yes, I know this film has been out for a week, but if I review it now, then I don’t have to review “Fifty Shades of Grey”!!!
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