Thursday, June 16, 2016

Movie #364: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service is a spy-action film based on a (I'm sure far-inferior) comic by Marc Millar and David Gibbons. It's directed by Matthew Vaughn and stars Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, Sophie Cookeson, and Sofia Boutella.

Harry Hart, aka Galahad (Firth) is a member of the super-secret Kingsman agents, English spies answering to no government and dedicated to keeping the world safe. When a fellow Kingsman (Jack Davenport) dies, all the remaining Kingsman get to put forth a replacement candidate. Hart chooses Eggsy (Egerton), the delinquent son of his previous candidate, who died saving Hart's life. Eggsy does well at the training (amongst much more upper-class candidates).

All the while, billionaire Richmond Valentine (Jackson) is scheming a doomsday plan to wipe out much of the world's population, keeping the rich and powerful, in hopes of combatting climate change. In the end, he winds up killing Hart, meaning that Eggsy, fellow recruit Roxy (Cookeson), and their tech master Merlin (Mark Strong) have to go save the world.

I really enjoy this movie, and I think it holds up on a second viewing pretty well. The storyline isn't anything new - it's an action/spy movie in the vein of the Roger Moore Bond era - but it adds in a Pretty Woman/Trading Places subplot and a lot of crazily well-choreographed fight scenes. The church scene in which Hart, under the influence of Valentine's "make everybody go crazy and kill each other" weapon, is a really impressive fight scene (and it doesn't hurt, on a cathartic level, that the victims are basically the Westboro Baptists).

Sure, there's gratuity involved, both in terms of sex and violence, but there's also quite a bit of meta-commentary about both and about the genre in general. And, unlike Bond, who generally bangs his way through 3-6 women in a given movie, Eggsy only beds one woman, and she enthusiastically invites him (yes, the context is "save the world and we can do butt stuff," but she's very clearly up for it, and tells him "good luck!" as he goes off to fight the bad guys).

My Grade: A
Rewatch value: High

Next up: Little Women. For reals this time.