After the success of Kick-Ass, it’s no surprise that the team that brought us that subversive, funny bloodfest have got together to tackle another of Mark Millar’s comics in ‘Kingsman’. Director Matthew Vaughn and writer Jane Goldman bring just the right amount of wit and self-effacing attitude to the table, so it seemed like this would be another perfect fit, so much so that Vaughn dropped out of directing ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ so he could work on this adaptation. Having assembled a top cast featuring the likes of Samuel L Jackson, Colin Firth, Michael Caine and Mark Strong it definitely had all the makings of a funny and innovative spy spoof.
And in some ways it is. The best things about ‘Kingsman’ are reminiscent of ‘Kick-Ass’, the hyper stylised fights and its quick wit going a long way to making it an entertaining romp, but it lacks a little bit of the daring and unflinching bravery of that one, and sometimes descends in to a by-the-numbers tale of a misfit making it in an unfamiliar environment that is done without the edge required to make it special. Taron Egerton does a good job of portraying main character Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin, a clever but aimless young man whose father had a link to the mysterious Kingsmen of the title, a secret spy organisation that work out of an unassuming tailor’s shop and engage in top secret work, and Mark Strong is a strong presence as always, but despite causing the occasional giggle and smart subversion of a Bond trope it felt a little bit ham-fisted in its delivery at times, diminishing the effect of the film and meaning that it’s not quite as raucously anarchic as a film like this should be.
‘Kingsman’ is, however, still a fun and enjoyable ride and individual scenes can be very memorable, so in some ways it is a commendable achievement. Even if it doesn’t work in all areas and a joke at the very end is incredibly tasteless, it’s good that films like this are made, a snarky anithesis to the mainstream is definitely required and if that type of film can find its way in to said mainstream and do its work there, then why not.
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