2014, Movies

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014, Matthew Vaughn)

This is an extremely entertaining, self-aware riff on Bond-type spy films via Get Smart. I really enjoyed it a lot and I want to rate it even higher than I did, only the CGI has dated horribly.

This is a very fun movie that doesn’t take itself seriously – extremely important for something like this – and basically never stops moving. Everything is over-the-top but it is also balanced by this faux stuffy British traditionalism that makes it all feel grounded in the grand tradition of silly British spy films. Also, it helps that the cast is excellent, including Samuel L. Jackson, not playing to type for once. And it feels like Colin Firth was born for this role, something I’m not sure I’ve said before.

I think the various riffs and references to classic spy and spy comedy movie and TV shows mostly work quite well and actually make the whole thing richer than if it was just funny and violent or just funny. Though references can be a crutch here I think they are to a purpose.

I also like the kooky villain and his kooky plan, it was both contemporary and also a good riff on some of the sillier plots of Bond villains. And Eggy’s martini instructions are the best martini instructions in the history of filmdom.

My favourite part is the way they treat the “villain has caught the hero” trope. Most movies do not have the balls to do this so good for them.

Far and away the biggest problem for the film is the CGI, which is regularly awful. I’m not sure if I would have noticed it this much in 2014, but 9 years later it is hilariously awful and makes what is clearly a film with a budget look like a film with no budget at all. Honestly, it would be worth pulling a George Lucas on this film and fixing it, it’s so bad.

But, on the whole, this is an extremely entertaining film.


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