Kingsman: The Secret Service (Matthew Vaughn, 2015)

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When the stereotypically troublesome “Eggsy” (Taron Egerton) succumbs to a severe bout of misguidance, the truth behind the teen’s past is revealed in the form of his secretive, moreover prematurely deceased father’s legacy as a distinguished super-spy. With the heavy-handed aid of “Galahad” (Colin Firth), Eggsy is led steadfastly toward, down and through the same Kingsman rabbit hole his father traversed prior to recruitment. As events unfold, the basally antagonistic tech mogul Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) emerges as the means for the organization’s employment following Eggsy’s initial involvement, what with a discernibly juvenile desire to exterminate most of humanity reigning over much better possibilities for conflict.

What people should know before going into Kingsman – and pardon the tangential rant – is that source writer Mark Millar has a grating penchant for reductive bombastic bullshit. While nonetheless a distinguished talent via nigh-countless other works, Millar’s creator-owned material has often yielded juvenile renditions of classically-inspired, genre-specific crassness. Kingsman is the perfect follow-up to Kick-Ass in this sense, favoring pandering pop cultural machismo over genuinely inventive substance.

From Points A to B to C, Kingsman is glaringly reminiscent of everything vaguely associated with the frequently but ineffectually referenced James Bond, if only in terms of concept and a latter-act martini order. Comparisons aside, the film seems to confidently embrace the skeleton of a narrative it does with reasonable aesthetic aplomb. While Jackson’s Valentine spews his half-baked reasoning behind the justified extinction of humanity via cellular device, it’s particularly difficult to not roll your eyes in between bits of Eggsy and the gang’s pre-Kingsman initiative tribulations.

Denying the banality lacing the forward motions of Kingsman‘s narrative is nearly impossible despite requisite twists and turns. Whether it’s an introductory pub bout meant to cement a false organization’s validity or excellently choreographed genocide of Kentucky-bred churchgoers, Vaughn’s presentational expertise remains way too dominant over the largely forgettable events that occur throughout. Core relationships feel forced, key events play out because they have to and, frankly, a film shouldn’t bank on intermittent shock value for wholehearted entertainment purposes.

Barring obvious star-heavy charisma and Vaughn’s kinetic chops, Kingsman barely rises above similar fare thanks to how vigorously it tries to subvert its comic book-inspired origins. Vulgarity aside, most of the script reeks of entirely uninspired trappings, most of which serve only to pilot an ultraviolent “reinvention” of aforementioned super-spy legacies. It’s largely a misfire, yet Kingsman is elevated slightly above subpar schlock thanks to Vaughn’s successful conviction in exaggerating the film’s glaringly strongest suits involving guns, razor-edged prosthetic legs and other action-oriented strong suits.

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3 comments on “Kingsman: The Secret Service (Matthew Vaughn, 2015)

  1. V says:

    Shame. Was hoping for better from this, it did look curiously entertaining. Nice review.

    • afilmodyssey says:

      First off – great to witness your reappearance! It’s a shame this wasn’t more of the same in terms of Kick-Ass and Vaughn’s ability to elevate substandard schlock to gleeful levels of violent abandon. Violent it certainly is albeit entirely meaningless in the long run. Thanks for the read and I hope to see more from you soon!

      • V says:

        Thanks mate! 😀 Lovely to be back! I am really such a huge fan of his ultra-violent style, but Kick-Ass just used this to perfection. I’ll more than likely see it anyway, but while I was flip-flopping earlier, reading various reviews, I think now I’ll just wait for DVD.

        I shall no doubt see you around! 😉

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