Kingsman is what a spy film should be. Thanks to Paul Greengrass and the Bourne series, we have a super serious James Bond franchise that has done away with some of the staples of the series. For starters, we don’t have the gadgets, the puns, a proper Q or even the trusty catchphrases. I love the new Bond movies but what Kingsman does is demonstrates that you can have your cake and eat it too.
Kingsman is not mocking spy movies. At no point do you feel like Bond and his modern counterparts are having their movies torn apart. What Kingsman is doing is demonstrating that a spy movie can be made that doesn’t have to be gritty and realistic but can do away with the corny, raised-eyebrow antics that almost killed the British super-spy.
They do this by taking themselves seriously while delivering the ridiculous. Nobody looks twice as a lighter grenade is thrown or a well-tailored suit stops a bullet but at the same time, everything is explained well enough to make the world believable.
This is mainly down to the two central characters. Taron Egerton is the diamond that has been pulled from the rough. He is the spy trainee who goes through some of the best moments of the movie – the training. From parachuting trials to picking-up ladies in a bar, the training it great and Egerton sells it as the everyman who we can all relate to. As a relatively new actor, Egerton holds his own and he has some heavyweights to play against. Michael Caine plays the leader of Kingsman with the ease you’d expect while Mark Strong is great as instructor Merlin.
This film doesn’t belong to the usual stars though. This is the movie in which Colin Firth gives his best ever performance. He is great in The King’s Speech and I’m sure he never looked better in Pride and Prejudice but in Kingsman, he actually convinces you he is a super-spy. Firth can, of course do the suave, sophisticated and well-mannered gentleman spy but when the fight scenes begin, he demonstrates abilities I’ve never seen before – and brilliantly.
The first fight sequence, in a pub, is very cool and impressive but it is his second which is essentially a huge, well choreographed brawl, which will have you looking at Colin Firth in a new, much better way. This is his greatest role because he manages to become something recognisable but completely different at the same time!
This is as much down to Matthew Vaughn as it is to the excellent efforts of Colin Firth. The skill is in bringing the action in a fresh way. He uses close-ups, fast cuts and perfectly choreographed fight sequences that must have been so complicated to plot that it leaves you breathless to watch.
It’s also to his testament that he took this movie on at all. Stepping away from X-Men to go with an unknown quantity, with a lot less exposure and a lot less of a budget, is a bold move for a developing to established director. What he does deliver is clearly a passion project and that’s what makes this so watch-able – everyone is having fun and really wants this film to succeed.
It does succeed as well. It succeeds so well that I want it to become a franchise. This isn’t a stand-alone spy movie but at the same time it doesn’t feel like it’s forcing a sequel either. What it does a build a believable world that could become something strong that sits alongside the quite similar movies that Mission: Impossible, the flailing Bourne franchise and, shockingly, even Bond!
Overall, Kingsman delivers a spy movie we have so clearly missed without realising it. It doesn’t mock spy movies but instead recreates the glory years of Bond. It has gadgets, girls, amazing fight sequences and a cast pulling it out the bag, especially Colin Firth who delivers my favourite performance of his ever!
Rating – 5!
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)