kingsman-secret-service-poster-600x888What’s it all about?

As per IMDb:

A spy organization 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.

What that doesn’t tell you is the reason that Colin Firth (for it is he) picks on Eggsy is because of the debt he feels to the young man over the death of his father, who had also been trying to become a Kingsman.

Why did I want to see it?

Kingsman: The Secret Service was made by the same team who did Kick-Ass which I enjoyed (and reviewed here), plus it has Colin Firth as a spy with a wide range of skills including very inventive ways of well (basically) killing people, and rather lovely suits. Plus based on a comic, so all good.

What did I think of it?

I really enjoyed Kingsman, I thought it was very funny violent but in an almost cartoonish way (as you would expect from its origins). The humour was very laddish which isn’t normally my taste but it was done so well and with such style that I got over that very quickly, and I suspect most of that was to do with the cast, who were all very cool. Seeing Colin Firth as an action man (albeit a very beautifully dressed action man) was great fun, and *sigh* Mark Strong was excellent as always, but I also really liked Taron Egerton as Eggsy, clearly being presented as a young Michael-Caine-a-like, which was good fun when he was in scenes with the actual Michael Caine. And it was good to see a competent female trainee spy in the form of Sophie Cookson as Roxy though she was a bit underused at the end. And the world of the organisation with its Savile Row tailor front was well-realised.

The really cool stuff?:

  • the scene in the church with Colin Firth is worth the price of admission (cliché alert) on its own, especially as it was followed by the Unexpected Thing That Happens;
  • Mark Hamill’s cameo;
  • the fabulous lady villain, Gazelle, who did some proper unladylike fighting.

The buts (no pun intended)?

  • the Swedish Princess thing (more of that later);
  • Samuel L Jackson’s one-trick speech impediment (though he did look like he was thoroughly enjoying himself);
  • standard Hooray Henry/Bullingdon Club type was mildly annoying.

So the Swedish Princess thing. I won’t give anything away but this seems to be the single thing that is most talked about in reviews and viewer’s comments – “offensive” “ill-judged” “ruined the film” etc. Now at the time I was slightly surprised at the nature of the joke but not offended, and I asked the Book God for his reaction which was very much the same. And I’ve listened to what others have said since and to be honest my opinion hasn’t changed. Yes, it was probably someone’s big clever idea (pastiche of the end of various James Bond films, especially the ones form the late 60s and early 70s) and you can almost hear them sniggering in the background but it was certainly mishandled though it didn’t spoil the film for me. YMMV.

So good fun as long as you don’t mind lots of violence, swearing and innuendo. Worth it for the boy Firth alone IMHO.