Review - Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), R, 129 Minutes - Each year there seems to be at least one action flick released opposite whatever romantic drama/comedy hits theaters in attempts to take advantage of the very commercial holiday.  This year that film was Kingsman: The Secret Service, adapted by director Matthew Vaugh from the Mark Millar/Dave Gibbons created comic book.

Kingsman is an independent intelligence organization that operates for the betterment of mankind with no political agenda.  The only way to become a Kingsman agent is to be recruited by a surviving agent when another agent has passed.  That is the scenario we are shown in this film.  Eggsy (Taron Egerton), a bit of a troubled youth, is taken under the wing of Kingsman agent Harry Hart, code name: Galahad (Colin Firth).  We come to learn that Eggsy's father died saving Galahad and other agents on a mission years before.  Galahad becomes a surrogate father of sorts as Eggsy quickly rises to the top of his class of Kingsman recruits.  While Eggsy is going through the training process, Galahad begins looking into a series of missing celebrities and political figures.  The trail points him in the direction of a colorful tech-magnate named Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) and his activities.  Valentine is developing a chip for cell phones that will allow anyone using it to access his networks for free wi-fi service anywhere around the globe.  That sounds benign enough, but he wouldn't be the film's villain if that was all there was too it.

Colin Firth isn't generally someone that you'd consider as an action star, but he fills the role of gentlemanly super spy wonderfully.  He is joined in the halls of Kingsman by fellow Englishmen Mark Strong (Merlin), and Michael Caine (Arthur).  Aside from Egerton, other relative newcomers include Sophie Cookson (Roxy) and Sofia Boutella who plays Valentine's aptly named hench-woman Gazelle.

Like many of Millar's other creations, Kingsman: The Secret Service can be a bit over the top at times.  But more often than not, it is wildly entertaining.  It also pokes fun at its own ridiculousness, with acknowledging winks and nods to a number tropes that it employs.  Aside from one particular ultra-violent scene in a church that may bother or even offend some, Kingsman is a fun and highly enjoyable entry to the spy/action genre.


- I haven't had the chance to read much of the source material yet (about half of the first issue), so I'll be curious to see just how faithful the film was to the comic overall.

- From what little I have read of the comic, I greatly appreciated Mark Hamill's inclusion as Professor Arnold (the professor being abducted at the beginning of the film).  The comic opens with virtually the same scene as the movie, only in the comic Mark Hamill himself is the one being abducted.   

- If Vaughn's, Millar's, and/or Gibbons' names sound familiar to those not familiar with the comics world, there's a good reason for it.  Vaughn also directed Kick-Ass (another Millar creation) and X-Men: First Class.  Other Millar created comics that have been adapted to the big screen include Wanted, Kick-Ass, and Kick-Ass 2.  And Gibbons penciled the classic Watchmen series (among other things) which was adapted into a movie in 2009.


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