Thursday, February 12, 2015





Based upon the acclaimed comic book and directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass, X-Men First Class), Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. (c) Fox

Ratings: 8.2/10 from 11,168 users Metascore: 68/100 
Reviews: 69 user 95 critic 12 from


TOMATOMETER 81% | Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 52 | Fresh: 42 | Rotten: 10

Critics Consensus: Stylish, subversive, and above all fun, Kingsman: The Secret Service finds director Matthew Vaughn sending up the spy genre with gleeful abandon.

AUDIENCE SCORE 98% want to see
Average Rating: 4.2/5 | User Ratings: 53,800


Harry Hart of Agent Galahad's idea of impressing a possible recruit is to beat up the bullies in their lives. It works. ©20th Century Fox


Yup, you read that right. If you weren't into comic books or not the type to look into the details of a movie like a true movie fan then that probably came as a surprise. I know it did to me. So now we know that it was originally a comic book, so what about it? Well, from what I've read up on it (very little mind you) it's a pretty acclaimed comic book series which isn't at all surprising as it came from the minds of Mark Miller and Dave Gibbons who between them have worked on pretty much every major comic book title ever made including some cult favorite titles like Watchmen and Kick-Ass.

Now apparently as good as the comic book is the movie doesn't follow it exactly, in fact from reading the Wikipedia page of the comic book, loosely based seems a little bit of an understatement. There's so much difference between the two that I think if they were to make a movie that's actually follows the comic book you'd have two very, very different movies. 

I've never seen an agent wielding an umbrella look cooler than Colin Firth makes it look.
©20th Century Fox


According to what the studio provided up there in the synopsis it's sort of a rags to riches story except that instead of becoming rich the young ruffian ends up becoming an accomplished gentleman spy. If you've seen the trailers you get the same idea and a tease into what you may get from the movie (teaser are meant to do that). I have to admit the trailer did look interesting when I first saw it but it didn't really impress or pique my interest. It seemed to me another action movie targeted at the younger crowd. To please the folks that went to the Hunger Games movies or Divergent or Maze Runner. I was expecting an okay movie at best. Boy was I wrong. 

So the movie opens in 1987 in the middle east and you find 4 men dressed from head to toe in black with gas masks on their faces. One of them is questioning an Arab captive when suddenly without any of them realizing their captive manages to pull the ring off a hidden grenade. One of them spots this and warns the rest away while he himself jumps on the captive to absorb the grenades blast. It turns out that the four men are Kingsman agents and the one who sacrificed his life for the others is a new recruit and was pulled into the service by Harry Hart played by Colin Firth. Later, back in England Harry visits the agents widow and tries to console her but to no avail. He gives her a medal for her husbands actions and tells her that on the back of the medal is a number that she can call should she have any needs or comes into any trouble and needs help. He also tells her to say, "Oxfords before Brogues" when the operator asks. In her grief she gives it back to him. Harry takes the medal and gives it to her little boy Eggsy with the advice to take care of his mother. 

So how do you impress an ASBO after you kick ass without breaking a sweat? Give him a pep talk in a changing room then show him the secret elevator. ©20th Century Fox

Meanwhile, somewhere on a mountain we meet with Prof, James Arnold played by Mark Hamill who has been kidnapped by an unknown group and is told that they are waiting for someone to show up who is very interested in meeting with him. But the person that shows up at the door turns out to be a Kingsman named Lancelot, the same Kingsman whom we met back in the middle east earlier and was actually inducted then. He manages to rescue the Professor from the soldiers but is killed when the actual boss shows up with his assistant. The bad guy is of course played by Samuel L. Jackson and his name is Richmond Valentine. Back in England the Harry, his boss Chester Arthur played by Micheal Caine and the other Kingsman gather to honor their fallen comrade and is told to now look for a suitable replacement. 

Now it's 17 years later and Eggsy played by Taron Egerton, is now a lot older and as you can see he still has the medal. He's also the stereotypical young English teen rebel. He lives with his mother and little sister as well as an abusive stepfather. Later at a pub he gets into a little face off with his stepfathers hoods (dear old stepdad is a bit of a gangster) and as he leaves the pub he swipes the other blokes car keys and takes it for a joyride which ends up with him in the police station looking at a jail term. Not knowing what to do he calls the number on the back of the medal and after mentioning the phrase that his mother tells him to remember he gets let off by the police. On his way out he meets Harry Hart. 

Hundreds of feet underground is a tube system that if we are to believe has existed for quite a while. It looks too new to me. ©20th Century Fox

Harry offers him a chance to improve his life. They end up back in the pub for a drink when the thugs that Eggsy stole the car from shows up and wants to even the score. Threats are thrown in their direction and the thugs tell Harry to sod off. Harry seems to head for the door but then stops short and instead locks the door. After properly thrashing the thugs and thoroughly impressing Eggsy he leaves Eggsy to think about it. Eggsy ends up at home where his stepdad is furious at finding out that his boys have been beaten up and is threatening to beat up Eggsy if he doesn't tell him who it was that did it. He threatens Eggsy's mother when she tries to stop him. Out of nowhere Harry's voice is heard threatening the police on Eggsy's stepdad if he doesn't back off. Eggsy makes his way out only to bump into the now battered and bruised thugs. He escapes of course and makes his way to the location that Harry told him to go to if he changed his mind.

So Eggsy shows up at Kingsman Tailors where Harry is waiting for him. Inside Harry asks him tells him he sees potential in him and then takes him down to a private underground tube system which takes them to a mansion on the outskirts of town. There Eggsy is told he will be put through a grueling training to turn him into a Kingsman but he won't be alone. There he meets with the other recruits who turn out to be the cream of the crop of England's social elites. All of them with the exception of the girls pick on him for his lack of education and status.

Part of Kingsman training is when they try to drown all of you in your own dorm room. ©20th Century Fox

So what comes next is we see them go through the tests that Merlin played by Mark Strong puts them through which includes, trying to drown all of them, having them jump out of a plane and telling them that one of them doesn't have a parachute and need to work together, adopting a puppy which they need to train while they go through their training and finally when it's down to the last three. two boys and one girl; to seduce a girl in a club all the way to the bedroom. At the club though the three of them are drugged and put through another test, each are tied to a subway track and threatened with death unless they expose who the Kingsman are. Only Eggsy and Roxy the girl pass. 

But that actually wasn't the last test. The last test has them called for a private meeting and told that they must shoot their dog. Harry fails and in disappointment leaves the mansion stealing the bosses car along the way. He heads home to find his mother with a black eye and rushes out to look for his stepdad whom he finds sitting outside the pub. He challenges his stepdad from inside the car but now that he's a little wiser he tells him he'll only step out of the car if the other thugs go into the pub first. But before he can even open the door all the windows go up and the doors lock and the car drives itself away. Harry is in control of the car. Now back at Harry's place Eggsy finds out that the gun that he was given to shoot his dog with contained blanks and it was just a test. Harry also shows him the dog he had during training which is now stuffed and sitting in his bathroom.

Part of being a Kingsman is that you get the cool stuff. Interesting fact: in conjunction with this movie you can actually have suits made exactly like the Kingsman at the official tailors for the movie. ©20th Century Fox

In between all this, Valentine is meeting up with heads of state, social elites of every nation and people of his choosing and telling them of his plans. Those that agree with him receive implants those that don't get thrown in his prison.

The Kingsman are also hot on Valentine's trail. Earlier Harry met with Professor Arnold and while questioning him something triggers the implant in the Professor's neck and his head explodes. Harry barely makes it out alive but only ends up in a coma. Sometime later he recovers and is told that the implants were triggered remotely and the signals were traced to Valentines network. Harry proposes to meet him under the guise of a British socialite. But during the meeting Valentine sniffs that something's wrong.

How often are you going to see Samuel L, Jackson in a penguin suit, a NYC cap with a lisp in a movie? ©20th Century Fox

After that encounter the Kingsman finds a clue about where Valentine might be going next, a church in the American Midwest. But prior to his trip the Kingsman finds out that Valentine through his organisation is now offering the world a SIM card for that will allow everyone around the world free calls and free internet. Later at the church just as Harry tires of the evangelical hate speak and is making his way out, Valentine triggers the SIM card in the phones of the church congregation which turns everyone violent. At the end Harry has killed everyone. As he steps out of the church he is met with Valentine who kills him with a shot to the head. This happens in full view of Arthur, Merlin and Eggsy as everything that Harry sees is streamed from his glasses to the Kingsman network.

Back in England, Eggsy is mess of emotions. He heads to Kingsman headquarters where Arthur is waiting for him. While talking to Arthur, Eggsy notices a scar on Arthur's neck. Arthur has been approached by Valentine and is part of the conspiracy. Arthur tries to turn Eggsy threatening him with death if he doesn't join them but Eggsy pulls a switch on the poison drink and Arthur instead is poisoned. Now all that's left of the Kingsman is Merlin, Eggsy and Roxy.

Agent Galahad goes to a church and then kicks ass. This was a pretty cool scene. ©20th Century Fox

Merlin comes up with a plan; first take down one of Valentines satellite which will destroy his network and the signal he plans to send out and second hack into the computer system of Valentine's headquarters. Roxy is tasked with taking down the satellite, they send her up with a rig hanging off two helium balloons which will take her to the edge of space where she can shoot the satellite down. Eggsy now disguised as Arthur is to infiltrate Valentine's headquarters to enable Merlin to get into the computer network.

What happens next is a lot of fighting which of course ends up with the Kingsman victorious and the bad guys dead. At the epilogue, Eggsy visits the pub where he finds his mom, his stepdad and his thugs all hanging out, he tells his mother he has a new job with perks like a paycheck and a big house. He tells her to move in with him. This of course pisses off stepdad and as he walks away seemingly listening to his mother's advice to leave he stops short at the door and does the same thing that Harry did back when he was being recruited.

Eggsy doesn't look as good as Galahad but he still impresses in the kick ass department. ©20th Century Fox


In one word? YES! It is as good as last years Guardians of the Galaxy. Like Guardians of the Galaxy I've never read the comic it's based off but I don't think it really matters, taken on it's own merits it's a damn good and entertaining action movie. It tries in the same way to use music and references to a different decade and what was popular then or refer to pop culture along it's own themes but it isn't so obvious as compared to Guardians of the Galaxy. It's a lot more subtle, sort of the way British humor tends to be dry and a little subtle. Which leads me to that whole British thing. It works. Colin Firth is brilliant as the consummate British gentleman as always and impressive as an ass kicking secret agent. It's a side of him I've never seen and hoping actually to see more of after this movie. And Taron Egerton, a relatively new face is pretty good too. Then there's Samuel L. Jackson who plays the villain Valentine, yes he has a lisp that makes him sound silly but in no way did his character look silly. He was a proper villain, worthy of being in any serious action/thriller movie or even in a Bond movie. And of course you can't forget the supporting cast like Michael Caine and Mark Strong, just as brilliant even if you say little of Caine and you usually see Mark Strong in a lead role or playing a baddie. 

Samuel L. Jackson's bad guys' look is actually inspired by a real life Hip Hop producer. ©20th Century Fox

Remember how I mentioned that this movie would make references to pop culture and other movies in the same genre? Well, for example Valentine's headquarters is a reference to a Bond villain named Blofeld or when Harry takes Eggsy on a tour of the Kingsman's standard issue weapons he mentions that once upon a time the shoes they wore even had a phone in it which is a reference to the Get Smart TV series. A few other fun facts about this movie is that in the comic book the professor that was kidnapped and held in the mountain cabin was named Mark Hamill but in the movie the Professor's name is James Arnold who is played by Mark Hamill. By the way Mark Hamill was very good as the British professor. And also all the Kingsman are named after the Knights of the Round Table and their leader is named Chester Arthur just like King Arthur. All this little things just add to the novelty of this movie. And one last thing, when Arthur asks Eggsy about his dogs name which is J.B. Arthur's guesses include James Bond and Jason Bourne but Eggsy answers with Jack Bauer. 

Sort of hard to believe that snobs like these guys would be willing to be part of something that they can't take advantage of socially. ©20th Century Fox

All that I've mentioned above works hand in hand with the story and the way it's told. The pacing is beautiful, the editing is perfect. The action scenes, the fighting scenes were shot and choreographed beautifully. In fact I think they did it in a way that was quite new and refreshing. The story of course is by far not perfect but what movie especially an action movie ever is? But then again in what movie have you seen all the heads of state, politicians, social elites and snobs of the world have their heads explode in a myriad of colors? I've never seen that happen before and frankly speaking it was quite a cathartic and satisfying thing to see. 

This was a pretty cool scene. ©20th Century Fox

Honestly, this movie is as good as Guardians of the Galaxy was last year. It is an almost perfect package (nothing in my opinion can ever be perfect). I know it's still early in the year but this has got to be one of the best movies of its genre this year. All the other upcoming comic book adaptations and action movies have got quite a yardstick to measure up against. If they aren't as good or as entertaining as Kingsman is, then I'll be very, very disappointed. 

So Luke Skywalker has his ears grabbed and then seconds later his head explodes. ©20th Century Fox

To sum it up, I give Kingsman a solid 4 out of 5 just like I did for Guardians of the Galaxy. It's really worth your time and money to check this movie out. And it is worth your support, don't go download it off torrent, go pay for it first and then go torrent it until it comes out on DVD. I read somewhere that if this movie does really well they plan to do a sequel, if it's got the same people behind it and in front of it I'll look forward to it. The only sad part is that Colin Firth won't be in it. Maybe they'll do a prequel instead? That I'll really be looking forward to.

Here's the trailer for you to check out. Honestly it doesn't do this movie justice.




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