Serious spy movies were too silly for me. Spy movies that were parodies or homages were perfect.
It’s not the idea that secretly trained groups are absurd. I’m pretty sure they exist in some underground government bunker. It’s the assumption that I am going to assume that a wealthy,rich man (I have yet to see a female spy mistress. Enlighten me if there is) will place his life in danger for the sake of his country or whatever he stands for. From what I’ve seen of the lifestyle of the west coast rich, they would rather whole up in their houses, gossip, and hoard their money. That’s not even to mention to ridiculous timing, master planning, infiltrating tactics, and gadgets. So those “serious” spy movie/television hold no interest for me.
Exposing the ridiculous and having fun with is my entertainment. Austin Powers,International Man of Mystery? Yeah baby! Nostalgia always sets in when I hear the theme song to Get Smart. I loved that show so much growing up.
Now there is Kingsmen: The Secret Service to join the ranks of spy homages. It takes all of the elements of a spy movies and adds ridiculous amounts of flair to it. It really is ridiculous the absurd levels they take with this movie. There is so much exaggeration to the violence, the characters, the story, and the gadgets. This is a movie that will definitely split the audience: either you seriously loved the movie or you were just horrified at what the hell trans versed on the screen.
The director who brought Stardust and X-Men: First Class to the screen (both of which are my favorites) brings even intensity, more action, more everything. The action scenes were so unbelievable that I found my head just whipping back and forth trying to catch all the details.
The movie was inspired by the graphic novel written by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and drawn by Dave Gibbons. Due to it’s violent and dark content, Kick-Ass was not a very enjoyable movie for me. From what other people have told me about Millar’s books, his works are even darker and disturbing. Kingsmen was one of the few comic book movies where I shirked reading the source material and analyzed the movie on itself.
Very realistic violence (especially blade wounds) are painful for me to watch and eyes are quickly shut for these sequences. When the violence is so exaggerated, so cartoonish, that it well establishes this is far from the realms of reality, then I am free to enjoy the movie without any paranoia leaving the theater. The movie may exaggerate the violence but there is a alot of violence, so this would not be a recommended movie for small children.
The Kingsmen are a secret service (above normal government levels,of course) who take on dangerous missions to save the world (presumably). It is a group of stiff lip upper class men with code names modeled after the Knights of the Round table. They wear crisp suits so snazzy that the film has collaborated with Mr. Porter company to create a line of apparel based of the movie. The outfits were pretty snazzy so this is a very smart move indeed. They have the gadgetry such as an umbrella that is strong enough to shield from most bullets (not rocket launchers). One of their knights delightfully played by Jack Davenport is struck down during a mission to save a professor.A growing case of missing celebrities and dwindling number of knights, prompt in some new recruits. Galahad, played by Colin Firth (:;swoon::), decides to repay a life debt and recruits Eggsy played by Taron Egerton. Eggsy is a pretty much a street thug/loser with (some) sort of heart of gold. He tries to stand up to his mother’s abusive father but only gets sent to jail. In swoops Galahad to present an offer that Eggsy cannot refuse.
As the recruits train in ridiculous exercises, Galahad and the Knights connect the missing celebrities to a certain megalomaniac Hollywood celebrity named Valentine, played by Samuel L. Jackson, and his sidekick who has knives for appendages. From this point on, the movie veers away from semi-serious spy movie to blown out craziness.
At the time of the screening, I enjoyed the movie immensely. It was a great popcorn movie. There were thrills, some suspense, the violence so hyperactive that it became an art form.
The core of the enjoyment was Colin Firth himself. As with many hopeless romantics, Firth will always be Mr. Darcy. Firth is the epitome and poster for English Gentlemen with a capital E. To see him in an action movie like this wrung my romantic imagination dry. It was like seeing Mr. Darcy upgraded with strength, agility, and even more sex appeal.
It became a huge disappointment when his time in the movie was cut short. Especially after a brilliant action sequence inside a church. Up until that point, every plot hole and questionable aspect of the movie was hidden. Once Galahad was out of the picture, and pretty much all of the other knights, it was just Eggsy and Roxy (the new Lancelot). What utter disappointment.
Kingsmen is homage to spy movies but there was also this parallel to Star Wars trilogy. The mentor (Galahad/Yoda) trains his reluctant apprentice (Eggsy/Luke) in in the ways of the Knights/Jedi to take down the sidekick Darth Maul/Gazelle before taking down the main foe (Darth Vader/Valentine).Even the take down of the soldiers reminded me storm troopers being taken down. Nothing wrong with this, but it was an interesting parallel.
Fair warning: the enjoyment for the movie does wear off after a few weeks of contemplation. Then certain parts of the movie become annoying. For instance,only three Knights are seen physically. There is a cool projector mode which indicates other Knights but by the end of the movie, it is implied that there are no other Knights around. This explains why everything rests on Eggsy and new Lancelot but then this doesn’t explain why they didn’t bring the other recruits in. Except for typical boorish behavior, the other recruits would have been more than capable of assisting Eggsy and the new Lancelot.
Speaking of new Lancelot, the role was given to a female character named Roxy. She passed all of the tests and that is what’s known of her. There seemed to have been some sort of weak attempt at creating a love interest between the two but thankfully there was not. Roxy was an empty character. Not much attention is paid to her. She is just sent up to outer space in a contraption with balloons to shoot at the satellite. Which was moot because other satellites were being used. Roxy was just to scurry off on a needless task while Eggsy played hero.
There are other issues but this brings me to the bigger issue of why I don’t fully love this move. Eggsy’s character was so low and slimy that for him to take on the role of hero was pretty empty. Colin Firth played Galahad so well that it overshadowed even parts of the movie he wasn’t even in. There is non stop wishing that Galahad would arise from the grave and finish off the movie. Especially with the end of the movie. After the mission is complete and saves the world, Eggsy returns to one of the imprisoned celebrities after she promises that he can stick his c**k in her a** if he saves the world. There is a parting shot of her hiney as Merlin closes the viewing finder. This annoyed me to no end. It is not the sexual nature of the act. It just cements that all the training and advice that Galahad had imparted on Eggsy to be a gentlemen was a waste of time. Eggsy never grew in character. He was the same low-life loser wearing a snazzy outfit. This also speaks volumes of that celebrities so maybe it’s showing that no matter how snazzy the suit, people just want to have smexy fun. It also proved that they were right in not officially accepting him as a Knight.
It also made me wish that there was more Galahad and Lancelot. If this was a movie that focused more on the original Knights doing missions, I would have loved this movie. The story wouldn’t have needed to be complicated. Just a mission with their snazzy outfits and English gentlemen debonair.
This was still an enjoyable movie to watch in the theaters. Order some popcorn and just watch it on a superficial level. This would actually be a great movie for couples. There’s stuff that both may enjoy.The first reactions will get a love it or hate it emotion. It will spark some interesting conversation during dinner afterwards.
Also, how many spy movie references can you catch? (hint: I loved the shoe phone reference).
Check out more goodies from the Kingsmen movie website here.
Kingsmen:The Secret Service will be out on February 13,2015 at your local theater.