Friday, February 13, 2015

Kingsman The Secret Service Review: Making Super-Spies Refreshing and Stylish

Spy films are hard to come by these days. Unless the film has 007 in the title, it can be rare to see movie dealing with the world of espionage; let alone a film that deals in the concept of Super Spies. So it can be a treat to see a film that deals in this sub genre. The latest spy movie in fact comes from the comic written by Mark Miller called The Secret Service. In the fashion of James Bond, The Secret Service deals with a young man being recruited by his uncle to face earth shattering threats. In the spirit of the comic series, director Mathew Vaughn has brought a rendition to the silver screen called Kingsman: The Secret Service.  Following in the same footsteps of its source, Kingsman looked to be an action-packed blockbuster that played homage to the old spy films. Yet could this movie on super spies be one to see, or is James Bond the only Secret Agent worth moviegoers' time?

Taking a different path from the comic series, Kingsman follows a young rebel named Eggsy (Tarton Egerton). With his life  going nowhere, Eggsy is encountered by a man named Harry Hart(Colin Firth).  Eggsy discovers that Harry works for a secret organization called the Kingsman: a group of spies that deal with saving the world. After being recruited by Harry, Eggsy is tested to see if he is Kingsman material. However as the young spy starts his training, the world faces a threat in the form of Richmond Valentine (Samuel L Jackson) who seeks to cure the world from the disease of man.

The story to Kingsman does rely on tropes familiar in both action movies and spy films. From the newcomer becoming something more to the mad villain bent on world domination, Kingsman's plot certainly plays it by the book. However, this not to say the story behind The Secret Service was not engaging; In fact  plot was thrilling to say the least. While it had little to no surprises, the plot was effective due to making a tale of super spies refreshing to see. Even with its standard storytelling, this action film featured a story that certainly did not bore.

The cast to Kingsman was also far from perfect as the character types in the movie have been seen time and again in other action films.  It also did not help that everyone but Eggsy had almost no back story behind them. However, even with these issue, the cast of Kingsman was solid to say the least. Even without back stories, the cast to this film felt like an ensemble riddled with character. Acting wise, Kingsman featured plenty of fun performances. Colin Firth as Harry was great as Firth usually is; but then again, Kingman allowed Colin to step out of his comfort zone.  Speaking of stepping out of one's comfort zone, Samuel L. Jackson took me by surprise as the antagonist Valentine. Not only did this villain stand out from other antagonists in the spy genre, but Samuel carried himself in a unique fashion that has not been seen in any of the actor's previous roles. Add Mark Strong, Michael Caine and even Mark Hamill to the supporting cast and Kingsman had an ensemble that had my attention.
As for the younger actors and those who were just unknown to me, I think Kingsman featured top notch performances from several novices. I must take my hat off to Tarton Egerton as Eggsby for playing a believable lead. Sophie Cookson as Roxy made for a good supporting character to Eggsby. Sofia Boutella also added to Samuel's character with her performance as the kick-ass Gazelle. Though the other young actors were just passable, they still managed to pull off their roles ; which only strengthen the new blood element to the Kingsman's cast.

If there is any factor that stole the show in Kingsman, it would have to be the film's action. Matthew Vaughn has been known for featuring major action sequences in his blockbusters, but this element in The Secret Service blew Vaughn's previous work out of the water. The action to this Spy film was definitive, easy to see and perfectly executed. Though the action was fantastic, the effects behind Kingmans were questionable. The CG effects were distracting due to their over the top nature; but this was both a good thing and a bad thing. To round out the movie's technical aspect was the score from Henry Jackman and Matthew Margesen. The score to Kingsman was as thrilling as the movie's action; and if anything the music behind this blockbuster added to the super-spy tone behind the movie.

In surprise turn of events, Kingsman: The Secret Service goes above and beyond the action genre. The film played homage to the concept of super spies, and made the cliched trope refreshing to see again. From the storytelling to the action, Kingsman stylishly delivered as an entertaining experience; which turned this comic book adaption into a one of a kind Spy Film.

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