February 9, 2015

Movie Monday: Kingsman: The Secret Service

I wasn't impressed by the ads for Kingsman: The Secret Service, but I couldn't resist going to a promo screening at the Alamo Drafthouse.  I'm so happy that I can't resist the lure of free things, because I loved this movie.

It is pretty much an in-name-only adaptation of Mark Millar's comic, which is good, because Millar is terrible in oh so many ways.  There's some lingering crassness that suggest the origins, but I can ignore those few bits I didn't like in favor of an exuberantly fun and stylish film.

With great musical cues
The cast is fantastic.  Colin Firth (Harry/Galahad) does not look like an action hero, which is of course part of Kingsman's humor.  His quiet dignity and subtle expressions breathe life into his gentleman spy.  Newcomers Taron Egerton (Eggsy) and Sophie Cookson (Roxy) are charismatic and hold their own against more experienced actors.  Mark Strong (Merlin) finally gets to play a good guy.  I'm not so sure how I feel about Samuel L. Jackson's (Valentine) choice of using a lisp, but liked that it isn't mined for humor in movie aside from an ironic line about how he finds the English difficult to understand.

How does Eggsy afford a Jeremy Scott jacket? I dunno.
Kingsman focuses on Eggsy, a young man who has never been able to escape where he came from, partly because he needs to be there to protect his mom and sister from his abusive stepfather.  But after a joyride (full of amazing car stunts), he finds himself calling in a favor from an old friend of his dad's - and then he finds himself competing against a bunch of blue bloods for a spot on a very secret service.  Meanwhile, an evil plot is brewing and the snobs vs. slobs war is turning genocidal.

By the climax, Kingsman is an exuberant ride with beautifully surreal imagery to make spy canons such as The Prisoner just as proud as James Bond.  It's a spoof that understands what made the goofy spy films of the sixties so much fun - and it's not just the gadgets.  (Although they do help.)  You've got to have a stomach for violence to watch this one, but if you do, it's quite rewarding.

Kingsman opens everywhere February 13th.

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