Directed by Matthew Vaughn
2015. Rated R, 129 minutes.
Samuel L. Jackson
Eggsy (Egerton) is a troubled, college-aged youth who hangs out at the local pub and occasionally finds himself at odds with the local thugs. This is on top of a bunch of problems he's having at home. Luckily, someone owes his deceased dad a favor. That someone is not just any regular dude, either. It's Harry Hart (Firth), code-name Gallahad, a veteran super spy for a secret organization called The Kingsman. He sees something in the youngster, takes him off the streets, and dumps him into the latest Kingsman training session. At the end, only one of the trainees will get a job. We follow along as Eggsy tries to be that one. That's hardly it, though. Various heads of state and other important folks start to go missing all over the world. The common link between them seems to be billionaire philanthropist Richmond Valentine (Jackson). Harry trying to figure out just what Valentine is up to and trying to stop him also ensues.
There are a couple of things to know going into Kingsman: The Secret Service. First is that for every part of this two hour joyride it's tongue is firmly in its cheek. It not only makes jokes all along the way, it invites the audience to be in on it. It's completely aware of its own ridiculousness and takes things to the level of being a spoof of super spy flicks, particularly James Bond movies. It gives us a super suave secret agent in Firth's Hart. With him comes all sorts of gadgetry and hidden tunnels, and the like. We also get a megalomaniacal villain with a physical malady in Jackson's Valentine. The malady being a severe lisp, by the way. Of course, his ultimate plan will affect the entire world. It's a brilliant plan, if you must know, but I'm not divulging any details. And I can't forget that his top henchman is actually a woman with prosthetic legs named Gazelle (Boutella). By legs I mean, they're basically swords. I'd be in love if she didn't scare me so much.
The second thing to know is that this movie takes its action very seriously. It's far more brutal than anything seen in a Bond flick, even the gritty Daniel Craig stuff. This is gory stuff on par with The Raid franchise. The trick is that it's done so gleefully, I couldn't help but have a blast watching it. It helps that I wasn't expecting anything of the sort when I sat down to watch Kingsman. I completely ignored the rating and just assumed it was another PG-13 action flick. After a few things I happened, involving those prosthetic "legs," I actually checked the rating on imdb.com and said "Oh." A few more things happened and I really got into it. Then, IT happened. Harry Hart walks into a church. By the time he walks out, I could do nothing other than applaud. I was in my living room, so it was okay. During this scene, my eyes giddily darted around the screen as all types of mayhem unfolded.
Only one actor in the cast gave me pause. Unfortunately, that one is also the reason I have some reservations going forward even though I loved every minute of this movie. It's clearly set up so that Eggsy can be the protagonist in any sequels. However, I find Taron Egerton to be a bit on the bland side. He's not bad. He's just the person I became less and less interested in as the movie went along. He, nor the film itself, did anything to change that. Granted, it's a subplot to Hart trying to save the world, but the point remains. Eggsy eventually gets in on this action and its very fun, indeed. I'm just not sure I want a whole movie revolving around this character. Presumably, he would be much more on his own the next time around, also. A sequel without the names mentioned above just doesn't sound all that appealing. Then again, I put off seeing this because, really, how good could an action flick starring Colin Firth be? Damn good, it turns out. Damn good.