Matthew Vaughn kicks arse again with the mightily macho Kingsman: The Secret Service, a frantically fun film, if a little flighty and anti-feminist, where the females only serve to fornicate with or serve as a feisty and flawless sidekick. You’ll enjoy yourself nonetheless… with a healthy dose of indifference.
Drawing from every spy thriller you’ve encountered, newcomer Taron Egerton takes the lead as the lad of lads “Eggsy” who despite his intelligence has taken to a life of petty crime and glugging cheap pints down the pub with his juvenile delinquent buddies from school – cue numerous nods to the class divide as Colin Firth, suave as ever as Harry Hart, strolls in, umbrella in hand and brogues on foot. There’s some iffy storytelling here, but Harry believes there should be some diversity in the secret society of Kingsman, a spy faction separate of the government, despite the society being fronted by a tailor shop on Saville Row and his alluded past attempt ending with embarrassment. Cue a half hour training montage which is mostly filler, with Eggsy saving the rather wussy girl spy candidate and making faces at the poncy gits who make up the rest of the applicants. Egerton definitely has a Jack O’Connell lead man charm, complete with smirky arrogance and surprising depths.
The cast is stellar, with Michael Caine playing Michael Caine and the awesome Mark Strong as Merlin, the Scottish M to Harry’s Bond. Jack Davenport as Lancelot was an authentic casting… I don’t know why I never saw him as operative material before, maybe it’s his bumbling performance in Coupling or his usual Hugh Grant-esque gait. It’s a shame he met his demise quite so early.
The childishness of the film is epitomized by the baddie supreme that is Samuel L Jackson as the US chavvy tech giant Valentine who lisps his way through typically audacious lines, drawing the biggest laughs every time he graced the screen with his presence. That his lisp was the funniest thing should tell you a lot about the film.
Despite it’s downfalls and faux pas… nah forget it… The last joke of the evening is regarding anal sex with a princess who doesn’t succumb to Valentine’s evil plan… you know, the one woman with a redeemable feature- intelligence. I mean, come on, the hero was supposed to have grown.
That being said, the film will do well as it was funny… in the same way farts and old people being crude is funny. Vaughn and Jane Goldman revel in that kind of funny, see Kick Ass, but they can also play it smart, see the new X Men films.
I left the cinema perfectly happy, until I thought about it… and there in lies the problem.