by Robert Lucas
It’s strange how much the Spy thriller genre has changed and grown because of James Bond. There is not a single Spy movie that is made that isn’t and won’t be compared to double ‘O’ Seven himself. It’s no surprise that a film like Kingsman had to be made eventually, so I suppose the reel question is will this make the sky fall or just be a quantum of nonsense?
Say what you like about Matthew Vaughn the man likes his comics. So far out of the 5 films he has directed, 3 were graphic novels first. Kingsman is one of them. The man’s like the anti-Zack Snyder, he directs films based on comics and brings out real issues in them, as opposed to Snyder who directs films based on graphic novels and ignores any merit or comment on the wider world the books make and just makes HIS movies. I’m happy to say that Kingsman is probably the most fun I will have in a cinema screen this year.
As I’ve already said Spy films get compared to James Bond, so let’s begin with that. Kingsman is a film that is both totally unique and its own movie whilst fully embracing its British heritage; the films marketing campaign drew strong comparisons to For Your Eyes Only artwork. The film acknowledges all of those stupid spy clichés in a way which is both knowing and clever, and then it ditches them all.
The best example of this is in the opening sequence of the film. There is a glass of whisky, a lot of people die and there isn’t a drop of said whiskey spilt. At that moment Kingsman sticks two fingers up at the past and says “we’re the future” and from that second onwards Kingsman is its own movie. The film successfully reinvents just about every stereotype imaginable in a spy film.
The villain, who is always central in a spy movie, is Valentine (played by Samuel L. Jackson). Valentine is a megalomaniac who wants world domination, all standard stuff so far, he also has a lisp and is terrified of blood. That’s the kind of thing Kingsman does really well, it sets us up with the standard and transforms it to be unique.
The film is of course preposterous in the extreme, but I don’t care. It was funny, clever, brilliant and unique. Kingsman has so many pros to it that you can easily overlook the minor short comings, because in the end the film has a baddie who has blades for legs, I mean who doesn’t love that?
What I like most about Kingsman is that even with all its madness it still manages to have some kind of heart; the entire movie is kind of a think piece on class war and the importance of legacy. The movie has a brain and a soul and it has no problem expressing either, the finale to the parachute problem proves this most for me.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention something about the cast, let get over the whole “the obvious people are amazing thing” and look forward to the new comers Taron Egerton (playing “Eggsy”) and Sophie Cookson (playing Roxy). These two talents have come from nowhere and broken through the glass ceiling, Cookson and Egerton are stars with one film to their names, and they deserve every single piece of praise that comes to them. Taron is such an unbelievably versatile young man, he can be funny, clever, cool, cocky, brash, physical, confident and insecure all without saying a word or moving a muscle. Also, I loved seeing Jack Davenport on screen again.
Kingsman is the film this country needed; it’s confident and fun, without being disrespectful or full of nasty. In short, Sic.