11 June 2016 | TheLittleSongbird
Having really enjoyed/loved 'X Men: First Class' and 'Kick Ass' and being someone who likes a lot of the actors, 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' did seem really intriguing.
There was the intrepidation of whether it would balance the violence and humour well, whether the violence would feel too much or whether the humour would leave a bad taste in the mouth. Finally watching it, 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' was surprisingly brilliant. It sends up the spy genre (primarily James Bond), very like 'Kick Ass did with comic books, and does so brilliantly.
'Kingsman: The Secret Service' is stylishly and audaciously made, with slick visual effects, very imaginative camera work and editing in the action scenes that gives the film an almost operatic grandeur (like in the fight scene in the church), very cool gadgets, richly coloured lighting and audacious production design. The soundtrack is very groovy and catchy, but is careful not to be overbearing, it is far from one-note too and fits with everything going on very well.
Vaughn does a fine job directing here. Not just achieving the right balance of humour and violence (injecting much needed fun into a genre that has become increasingly serious over the years) and keeping the story absorbing and the characters interesting, but standing out in particular were how he properly allows the audience to properly take in what is happening in the action, without jumping around incoherently or being static, and the huge amount of work that he even puts into the little things like with the opening credits.
The film's script is deliciously irreverent, sometimes raunchy, unrelentingly vulgar and very witty, with a plethora of laugh-out-loud funny to hilarious moments. While the action is grim and unflinching (some of it is not for the faintest of hearts) but nail-biting and surprisingly dynamic, the fight scene in the church especially standing out. The story is very clever and absorbing, with incredibly energetic pacing without being too hectic or rushed. The film does deal with the twist well, it could easily have been out-of-place, clichéd or overly silly but it's actually a lot of fun with a touch of humanity injected.
'Kingsman: The Secret Service' contains some very memorable characters, including a hench-woman with legs that can kill. It's very well acted too, three of the standouts being Colin Firth, cast against type but doing a phenomenal job (also doing incredibly well in the action), Taron Egerton as an immensely likable main lead and Samuel L. Jackson (though his performance has divided reviewers it seems and understandably), who is clearly having the time of his life as lisping megalomaniac villain Valentine. That is not to dispute Michael Caine, who is more than dependable as a somewhat ambiguous sort of character, and Mark Strong who has a knack of making even weak material interesting, or Sophie Cookson, very fetching though in a slightly underwritten role, and Sofia Boutella who nobody wants to mess with.
If there is something that lets 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' down it is the ending with the anal sex. This was the one part of the film that to me came over as really unnecessary and tasteless, also seeming very out of place compared to the rest of the material and it is introduced randomly. The infamous Princess line is pretty offensively perverse as well.
All in all, though, a surprisingly brilliant send up that does nearly everything right. 9/10 Bethany Cox