Runtime: 129 Mins
What To Expect: Good potential for a franchise, but a slow start
I tried to enjoy this movie a lot, but it didn’t leave too much of an impression on me either way. I always feel like ‘origins’ stories can too often be a waste of time, or movies that are patently laying the groundwork for a franchise. If you ask me, that’s what Kingsman: The Secret Service is, even though there’s nice potential in there. I just wanted them to get on with it. This movie feels like the first act of a trilogy, rather than three acts for one movie and a good movie should present its own contained story. This is an average movie.
I’ve you ever seen the movie Bad Company, starring Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins, you might know what to expect here (although this is a better movie). Flashy agency man pulls underling pissant out of his daily grind to train him into a hot shot agent. In this case Colin Firth has faith in chav Mark Strong since the latter’s father was a field agent… one of the best (a 1980’s Amstrad could predict the dialogue). Then Strong goes through the rigors of a tournament session, where other, superior looking candidates are inevitably beaten by the underdog. In the background, somewhere, an underwritten supervillain played by Samuel Jackson is plotting something sinister, but the movie seems uninterested in returning to him too often. There’s also a female candidate, because you know, to not have would be sexist, comrades.
A word on political correctness here. The female agent/trainee felt shoe-horned into this movie, particularly in the final action sequence. It’s clearly and blatantly forced, for the sake of it. There has also been some controversy too over a massacre scene at a Church – the scene has been cut in some Latin American venues. Christian bible thumpers are gunned down, but not to worry, the movie points out that these are ‘white’ extremists, ergo, everyone viewing the movie can laugh loudly without looking around them. If this scene had featured some other religion, the same audience watching Kingsman would’ve been blown up, or finance for the project would’ve been pulled, depending on which religion was offended. Just saying.
There’s quite a bit I like about this movie though. It’s funny, when it isn’t repeating itself. Good adult humour too (this is an R-rated movie) that is natural and not forced. You can get movies like this especially dealing with a young lead which try too hard with rude jokes or swearing, but this feels ‘normal’, the f-bombs and violence feel like they’re just part of the furniture. No shaking cameras either, although I would’ve preferred they were a little less harsh in the editing room. I enjoyed Samuel L. Jackson’s role too even though I thought there was too little of him and that he was underused – again a problem that seems to come at the hands of our ‘Kingsman’ going through repetitive training.
No doubt there’ll be a second movie. I’d probably enjoy that more, Strong’s Kingsman doesn’t really appear as a ‘Kingsman’ until the last 15 minutes, where he puts in his best performance as a violent Roger Moore-ish Bond. But at least 1/3 of the movie should’ve been like that.