Kingsman: secret Firth, action guns, oh things explode

This movie came out last week in Australia and is due elsewhere soon- Kingsman: The Secret service - it is a movie directed by Matthew Vaughn of (most relevantly) KickASS fame.

Briefly, it is a homage to spy movies, it’s a fun action movie and probably most comparable to Kick-Ass. It’s also almost really great! But I think it is ultimately (and disappointingly) a throw away, homage action movie which is a little too derivative of Vaughn previous work.


[spoiler] It establishes very early on that there’s going to be an “out with the old and in with the new” dynamic. This is especially in regards to the old James bond movies it draws HEAVILY from and blatantly references (mainly just for self-aware comedy I guess). I hoped that this meant appealing to the same old tropes and yet subverting them. As a whole I felt that movie tried impress on the audience that these tropes such as, the lavish suits and ornate accessorizing + gadgets, which play into the male power fantasy portrayed in Bond movies can be enjoyed by anyone and any gender.

But it kind of drops the ball, for example, the female character never gets those things and unfortunately is sidelined at the end so we can watch her male counterpart have all the fun taking on the femme fatale, killing the villain and doing the rest. In the end do we get a new paradigm shift? I don’t think so, I think we get the spy that old Harry Brown wanted, a dude in a suit acting all gentlemanly and kicking ass (and also smashing pint glasses in dudes faces which is… no actually I liked that part). I also think Matthew Vaughn reuses some of the same action that we have already seen in Kick-Ass; the flips, wrestling move with headshot finisher, the first person camera gunplay. The action is good, but some of it felt the same. In many ways, this movie is also just a little too self-indulgent, especially in whatever Samuel Jackson was doing , the church fight (imagine that Kick-ass scene linked above extended two or three minutes), the head explosions.

Also, in movie that literally pops the heads off the establishment, why they included a hinted anal sex scene with an incarcerated princess is beyond me! The sexuality represented in those old movies falls straight into the column of an exploitive, sexist, male fantasy, so why go for that here. I did like that villain’s plan working and Colin firth was pretty great. [/spoiler]

It looks terrible to me and I think it will be a giant flop. Not quite as bad as Black Hat…but nearly so.

There’s a post on IMDB criticizing their use of CGI for all the blood and gore in the film. Did you notice this or was it a non issue to you?

I did notice that CGI was pretty sub par in general, for example the opening credits were particularing embarrassing. I’m not sure if it was a budget thing or a rush job but some scenes are let down by some tackyness in that area. I didn’t notice it so much with the blood and gore. That IMDB post was complaining the use of CGI to add violent effects all modern action movies, I don’t know, I mean did you have a problem with it those other films John Wick, American sniper, hell, you could even add Kick-Ass on that list? I can’t say that I did. I can remember being upset by crappy CGI blood (the earliest example I can think of was in So Close) but maybe I’m use to it now, or the effects have improved, that I’m not terribling bothered by it.

There is a stylisic almost comic book “omph” effect that is a shade away from a 1960’s batman “Bam!” effect. It mainly works to create a feeling of impact/ hide the fact that no-one is actually getting hit. In fact, it kind of reminds me of something Edgar Wright might use in his fight scenes.

I actually didn’t notice it in John Wick and American Sniper, so if that’s the standard, I guess it’s all good. I remember a scene in American Sniper where a guy gets his leg shot to pieces, he tries to limp away only to get finished off. If that was CGI it was just as good as using squibs and prosthetics, imho.

Saw it here in Oz last week.

Bloody. Amazing.

Didn’t care for the last scene, but other than that - my wife and I had a great time.

I think it looks fun. A millennial James Bond movie.

I really enjoyed it. It’s completely over the top at times, but self-aware enough to know it and just run with it. Colin Firth’s scene in the church was just balletic ultra-violence. And SLJ was doing another twist on supervillain, slightly reminiscent of his role in Unbreakable.

Music use was fantastic, too.

Yeah. I dug it.

The Swedes

Did the writer or director once get beaten up by a Swede? The PM was used as the prime example of venal, self-interested politician (though Obama had a bit of an implied presence too). And well, the Princess, although on the side of angels, certainly offers up the anal pretty quickly. Yeah. They went there (no pun intended).

My wife and I were all set to watch Jupiter Ascending, but a Cary Elwes-hosted Princess Bride retrospective at Theater Number One meant that Dread Pirate Roberts fans took all the parking. So we went to Theater Number 2 and wound up seeing Kingsman: The Secret Service. It had the same writer/director team (Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn) and tentative connection to a comic book source material (created by the misanthropic Mark Millar) as Kick-Ass.

Indeed, as Kick-Ass was to the typical comic book movie, so is Kingsman to the James Bond or Derek Flint movies. The Millar adaptations display a costume of violence that at first glance appears to more closely resemble reality. Here are the familiar spy tropes: a megalomaniacal villain has a plan for world domination, a memorable trusted henchman carries out his odd jobs, a secret organization wants to thwart his plans through espionage, a plucky new spy might have the right stuff to save the day. But in Millar’s worlds, the level of ultraviolence is bumped up to Crazy and the attitude towards society is set to Sneering. Kingsman also takes the existing familiar letters of spy films like “M”, “Q”, and “MI-6” and adds “GQ” and “FHM”. The brash James Bonnabee, who goes by Eggsy, learns a little bit about what being a “gentleman” means. He can stay in his wretched world of Eastenders squalor, or he can ascend to the rarefied heights of a Downton Abbey, OR he can find some middle path that takes a bit of the worst of both approaches. He becomes both a chav and a toff, with a dashing smile and a brutal fighting style. The movie presents but does not draw conclusions as to whether Eggsy or his fellow posh spy-students respond better to Nature or Nurture. It’s an important question, since the best gentlemen spies are presented as being superior than average joes or the heads of governments. They’re held to impossible standards but they get to do what they want without letting the rest of us know about it. (And this isn’t me peering into the microscope looking at bark so closely I’m missing the forest for the trees. It’s as important to the story as Harry Potter’s wizard chums living in a world of Muggles.)

The cast features some bright stars in the constellation of British Drama, especially Michael Caine, who knows a bit about cinematic espionage, and Colin Firth, who knows a bit about playing overstuffed aristocrats. A lithping Samuel L. Jackson plays his best supervillain since (spoiler warning!) Unbreakable. Newcomers Taron Egerton, Sofia Boutella, and Sophie Cookson gamely build foundations for what I hope will be their long careers. At times the plot feels too full, as we follow the goings-on of the old guard and the next generation. But it’s all in good fun, as long as your idea of fun features a body count that starts on par with a Bond movie and skyrockets as the plot develops. One of the most interesting points about Kingsman is that Goldman and Vaughn keep pushing the story until the world cannot go back to its status quo. This is exactly unlike a Bond movie. If Kingsman: The Secret Service will return with Kingsman: The Sequel, I’ll be there to see what happens next. Be seeing you!

We saw it last night. Loved it. Loooooooved. The church scene was so glorious.

It did very well at the box office. A big surprise to me.

i guess i’ll be the wet blanket here. saw a screening of this a week or so ago and thought it was miserably self-assured. the only thing worth seeing in it was the fight scene in that church, if only for the lengths they went to for those long takes and choreography

this also marks a movie with the rare ability to suck any humor and charm out of what looked like a perfectly fine performance by colin firth. shame the film betrays any effort he put into its writing

no matter how tongue-in-cheek or energetic this film wants to be, the source material is so daft that i couldn’t get past the conceit. i’m starting to think matthew vaughn just isn’t for me. or maybe i just don’t like when he makes a comic book into a movie. or maybe i don’t like his taste in comic books. or i don’t like comic books…

Enjoyed it very much!

I watched it a few weeks ago. I went in hoping to love it (as I loved the director/screenwriting team on X-Men First Class & Kick Ass) but I came out feeling like it never really lived up to the potential of either the people making the film or the concepts. It was fine, and if I’d not had high expectations I might have enjoyed it more, but I was definitely disappointed. Not as funny as it should have been and not as entertaining in its action & adventure elements as it sounds if you describe them to somebody.

Despite reading a lot of comics, I’ve never actually read either this or Kick Ass from Millar but maybe Kick Ass was a film where they exceeded the source material and this was a film where they didn’t.

I enjoyed it. I have to agreed though, that something seemed a bit off. I dont know if it was the pacing or what but the movie didnt seem to flow well and came off a bit disjointed to me. That was certainly not a deal breaker for me and there was plenty to like in Kingsman but like others, I kind of felt like it could have been something more than the sum of its parts. Maybe it was an editing issue. I dont know. It was good but fell short of being great.

Love it or hate it, the church scene was an excellent piece of filmmaking.

I really wish they had John Carpenter consult for the head-pop scene near the end. Needed lots of unique experiences/visuals even if it means more cheese - as opposed to the same thing 100’s of times.

I had watched the first trailer and thought that the movie looks ‘crazy-cool’ the way Kick-Ass does. Then I saw another trailer that had a heavier focus on the training part of the movie and was worried that it would be more of an teen agent thing. But went to the movie theatre nevertheless because of Matthew Vaughn and really ended up enjoying it. So did everyone else I was this. Everyone had a big grin on their faces.

Obviously, everything is completely silly, but it worked for me. I understand the problems Kelly Wand had with the tonality, but I also think Kick-Ass covered a rather broad spectrum from over-the-top comic action to a young girl losing her father. I thought the church scene was brutal, but also gripping, mesmerizing and super-visceral. I never forgot that all these people are ‘innocent’–assholes or not–, but it was pretty damn well made. Gotta say though that the mother/daughter scene in the showdown only partially worked for me. I didn’t mind it as I was watching the movie, but once it was over you think about how many parents murdered or injured their child/children during that time. It’s a bit more disturbing that adults beating up other adults in the streets. (Still, I really liked the movie overall.)

Sam Jackson had his ups and downs. Overall solid performance, I also liked his reaction after shooting you-know-what-character, but the lisp was a bit of a lazy way to add comedy to his persona. I’m a big fan of Colin Firth and Mark Strong anyway, and they were really great in this one, too. Taylor Egerton (Eggsy) was fine as well.

I’m struggling with how to say that I like half the movie. Not the first half or second half, but the balance of how the movie is. Some things worked for me very well - the introduction to the kingsman, I liked most of the training school, if they could have lost the aristocrats vs the pauper, I think I would have enjoyed it more. The action sequences are very well done, with the church scene simply mesmerizing. I couldn’t tell if he was doing it to survive or was under the hypnosis until obviously he states for the record when he leaves the church. I love the James Bond toys and the pomposity of the Kingsman - probably my favorite part was the bar scene near the beginning when Colin Firth is recruiting Eggsy. I could have watched an entire movie with stuff like that.

In the 2nd half of the movie, where we’re introduced to the evil plot, how can I say this, it’s just too evil. It bugged me. While there was the altruistic angle, it’s just too over the top for someone who is truly smart and there just won’t be enough people left about for society to function, and I don’t think he planned on going back to the stone age. Another was the cartoony lack of blood in so many of the action scenes, in particular at the introduction and the the near-final act where the chips are activated. I almost felt like I was playing the TF2 mod where people disappear into a puff of balloons and confetti. It just didn’t go with the rest of the movie. Also, up until that point, Eggsy really hadn’t shown what he was capable of, and it felt like he went to full on kingsman with 10 years of experience in a flash. There was no transition. And giving the female such a weak part - when she had proved herself even more felt out of balance. Finally, and I’ll put this in spoilers because I have no idea how to generally say this:

A major plot hole

The fact that Michael Cain’s character Arthur had been subverted what must have been a while ago puts a lot of the entire story at suspect since all the tracking & following that Valentine was doing was pointless if Arthur was in on it

Also, and I don’t know why it bugs me so much, but losing a character I love really bugs me. It bugged me in How to train your dragon 2, and it bugs me here.

When I came out of the movie, I was reminded of Red-State, which I ended up not really enjoying. Not sure why that movie popped into my head after watching Kingsman. Probably because part of Kingsman was a movie I really wanted to watch, but the whole experience was something in the end I wish I would have skipped.

The weird thing was, the next night, we watched John Wick, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

@TMan: About the plot hole…


I was wondering about that ‘twist’ as well, but after thinking about it for a bit I’d say that it was Valentine tracking Galahad’s (Firth) movements with his nano probes that lead him to Arthur (Cain). He then went to meet Arthur and made the offer. So, Arthur wasn’t in the program right until that point.

I thought about that, but

Perhaps but

it really seems they went to great pains to show that the scar was old. It was barely there - as compared to other scars they zoom in on to show the freshness of it.