So, another film I’ve been quite late seeing…
Kingsman is, as the title suggests, a secret service, unaccountable pretty much to any other agency in the world and charmingly hidden behind the facade of a Saville Row tailor’s. Or, as you might say, could it be any more British?
In fact, the sheer Britishness (possibly even Englishness) of this film is unmistakable. The moments when it loses its Britishness, which are few and far between, also manage to keep an element of the stereotypical ‘stiff upper lip’. Even the most violent, and in fact downright shocking, scene in the film mostly throws the viewer as much for which character is mainly involved as for the violence itself.
The film toys with reflecting a certain era of James Bond (the charming, suave 60s one), with gadgets galore and a villain who really could have run SPECTRE. And yet, it also manages to feel timeless and modern, which is quite an achievement.
Much of the energy of the film is carried by Harry Hart (Colin Firth) and Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin (Taron Egerton). The talented pair of actors play off each other extremely well, especially in portraying Eggsy’s rags to riches/coming of age tale. Although the viewer knows that the clash of worlds will be resolved before the end of the film, it doesn’t matter. There’s a lovely knowing wink to this major theme of the movie in the discussion which ends up with Hart expressing surprise that Eggsy has seen My Fair Lady.
In some respects, early parts of the story echo Young Adult blockbusters such as Divergent, where our ingenue slowly proves his worth, only for disappointment to hinder him before he is thrown into a situation where he finally succeeds. Kudos to the writing, direction and acting that this formula doesn’t feel tired here.
An extra nod really needs to go to Michael Caine. His part is small, but he has one seen where he ‘blows the bloody doors off’.
The film overall has some great set pieces, a good few shocks and twists and buckets full of charm. Who wouldn’t enjoy a couple of hours in the company of Kingsman?