Kingsman: The Secret Service is to spy films, what Kick-Ass was to superhero movies.
Not really surprising since it's from the same director, Matthew Vaughn who co-wrote both movies with Jane Goldman... and Strong was in both movies.
But as much as I enjoyed Kick-Ass, Kingsman is definitely superior, and just an all around brilliant movie!
It feels like an old-school Bond movie... in fact on more than on occasion they make references to Bond and Bond movies... and even some of the posters were based on the For Your Eyes Only posters.
And it had all the things that the the most recent set of Bond movies lacked, most notably an interesting villain and a henchman (or in this case henchwoman) who was genuinely threatening.
But what do you expect when you hire Samuel L "Muthafuckin" Jackson as your villain... even with the semi-comical lisp. And Sofia Boutella did an excellent job as henchwoman, Gazelle, so much so that if I hadn't read earlier in the week that she doesn't actually have prosthetic legs, I would have assumed that she was a paralympian.
Where this movie really shines though is in it's young lead actor, Taron Egerton, as Gary "Eggsy" Unwin... he's the perfect mix of hero and hooligan and there's just something about him that made me not be able to take my eyes off him (beyond the fact that he's a gorgeous young man... and he can wear a god-damn suit!).
That's one of the other things I loved about the movie, the art direction and the costumes (clothes absolutely maketh the man in this movie) and just the whole look of the film is perfect. Sure, there's the very occasional bit of very ordinary CGI work (mostly on teeny tiny digital extras, but once I noticed it once, I kept seeing it over and over), but I didn't even care. Plus the work they did on removing Boutella's feet more than makes up for it.
And of course a good portion of the style and charm that this movie has in spades, comes straight from Colin Firth who really is perfect for this kind of gentleman spy roll.
The movie also doesn't take itself too seriously... it's not making a satire of the spy genre, but it's definitely poking fun at some of the conventions, and generally having fun with even some of the more serious scenes. It's all perfectly handled though.
The only thing that I guess it lacked was a proper confrontation between Egerton's Eggsy and Jackson's Valentine, as all good spy movies should have. Although Eggsy did get an offer that James Bond has certainly never been offered on screen... and by a princess no less.
But even with those couple of very minor niggles, I totally loved this movie and it's definitely one of those titles that's destined to join my collection.
yani's rating: 5 high tech umbrellas out of 5