If you wanna watch British gentleman spies murder the crap out of some bad guys, this is the movie for you. It’s violent, funny, charming and will likely stand as one of the best movies of the year.
When Kingsman begins we see Harry Hart and some of his compatriots trying to extract information from a terrorist. The mission goes sideways when the terrorist pulls the pin on a live grenade. A soldier named Unwin saves Harry and everyone else’s lives by jumping on the grenade and taking it for the team. To make matters worse Unwin wasn’t even a full-fledged member of the organization, he was just in the final phase of his testing to become a member. Feeling obligated to make things right, Harry visits the man’s family and leaves his wife and son with a pendant that contains a number. That number can be used to contact the Kingsman organization and ask a favor of them. 17 years later the man’s son, Eggsy, uses the number to get himself out of jail after joyriding around in a bully’s car.
Harry looks into the boy and realizes that he has the potential to follow in his father’s footsteps. Because of the recent death of one of their colleagues, nicknamed Lancelot, there is an opening that needs to needs to be filled in the organization. Harry invites Eggsy the to join and enters him into the competition to fill the spot of Lancelot. Eggsy is different from the other Kingsman applicants because he does not have a good pedigree. It does make you wonder how his father became a member, given that they couldn’t have been from very different backgrounds. Either way, Eggsy is there now and he has to deal with being looked down on by his fellow applicants because of his boorish ways. That doesn’t deter him and he manages to make it through the process as an exemplary applicant.
While Eggsy is trying to prove that he is Kingsman material, Harry is on a mission to research and Internet billionaire named Valentine. Valentine is connected to the disappearances of several celebrities and key political figures worldwide. It turns out that he has a plan to rid the world of the virus that is humanity by admitting a signal that will cause millions of people across the world to kill each other. After a spectacular scene in a hate filled church were Valentine tests the signal on Harry, we get to see just how bad things will get for the world. Valentine is very thorough and very influential and has managed to get to most of the leaders of the world, including the members of the Kingsman organization.
With the Kingsman organization compromised, Eggsy is left with just himself, Merlin, and the new Lancelot. The three of them have to take down Valentine’s organization before his plans come to fruition. Armed with a new Kingsman issued suit, Eggsy infiltrates his base as the countdown to the apocalypse begins. He has to single-handedly fight off a small army of private soldiers as well as one amputee with razor-sharp prosthetics. All leading to one final confrontation with Valentine.
From start to finish this movie is a ton of fun. Based on the previews for the movie I was expecting it to be some kind of spy comedy. What I wasn’t expecting, was for it to be not only a smart spy comedy, but a very well executed spy action movie. The very first scene where Lancelot (the old one), infiltrates a room full of kidnappers and single-handedly takes them out while not while not spilling a drop of whiskey, really surprised me in the best possible way. The action in the movie made me think of Snatch merged with a Tarantino film (turns out the director of this movie also directed Snatch). That opening scene while really good, is easily not the best scene in the movie. The award for best action scene easily goes to the scene filmed in a church where Harry manages to take out an entire room of incensed hatemongers in a flurry of action that is really hard to describe with words. Even though that’s the best scene, I can’t think of a bad action scene in this entire movie. Even when Eggsy is forced to take over the role of the primary protagonist he manages to step up to the plate and deliver some really smooth looking moves.
Aside from the action, the movie does prove itself to be really smart. It knows exactly what it is. It’s not the next James Bond or Jason Bourne or Jack Bauer vehicle. What it is, is a movie that’s a borderline spoof that stands on the shoulders of all the those properties that have come before it. There are some great exchanges between Hart and Valentine where they basically talk about the types of characters they would be if this were one of those kinds of movies. Even while the movie references a lot of the tropes of spy movies it chooses to completely forgo them in exchange for a more “balls to the wall” style of action. In the same way that most by movies are an excuse for a shoot out or for a chase scene, this movie seems to be an excuse to jump from one fight scene to another and I’m not complaining about that.
The only complaint I have about this movie is the anal sex joke that they felt the need to tack on at the very end. I mean, I get the joke, I just don’t understand why it was necessary. Everything else in the film had been pretty much free of smut so I’m not sure why they felt the need to just drop that in at the very end of the movie. Still, even though I don’t think it was necessary, I did still think it was funny; funny but out of place. That being said, it’s a really minor thing in a movie that’s overall very charming and very lighthearted. The dialogue is smart enough to make you laugh where it needs to and solid enough to allow you to escape into the world of the movie, as long as you don’t think too hard. This is a perfect escapist movie if you want to just go watch some people get beaten up or killed or destroyed in creative ways and to have a good time while you do it. As I said to a friend that I watched the movie with, “that may have been the most artistic way to show hundreds of people’s heads exploding that I’ve ever seen”.
I would definitely recommend watching this movie if you’re a fan of martial arts action movies, Quentin Tarantino films, British action films like Snatch, or just a fan of seeing people get killed in movies. If you’re a fan of the spy genre, you’ll probably enjoy all the knods to things like James Bond and Get Smart. This movie really does hit on every point that it attempts to and was a pleasure to watch.