I’m having a lot of trouble with this review. I see the appeal, I appreciated the bold choices, I see what Matthew Vaughn (the director) was going for and I feel like he succeeded in realizing his vision, so how could it be a failure?
Firstly, I want to make it clear that I didn’t not like this movie. I don’t know if I did like it but I appreciated it. The movie didn’t have any original ideas; everything was a reference to something else. When I watched Cabin in the Woods, I thought the self referential style (meta-cinema) was so clever. It has been done prior to Cabin in the Woods but I really enjoyed the approach they took in that movie (I’ll do a separate review). With The Kingsman, for some reason, the self referential style didn’t strike the same cord. Instead of coming across as clever and satirical, it came across as pompous and arrogant. It felt like Vaughn knew that he made a clever movie and he played off of his own cleverness. It’s like when the football player knows that he’s the bee’s knees and any girl he asks will go to prom with him. That’s more of a feeling I got rather than something tangible from the movie and I know that the intention was to be a spoof of the James Bond genre but it came across as too cocky for me to really enjoy. Also, the music felt too Guardians of the Galaxy for me. So many aspects of this film reminded me of other movies.
The Kingsman also had a lot of graphic violence, sexual innuendo and coarse language but was masquerading as a family movie. There were so many kids between the age of ten and fourteen in the theatre and the movie was definitely not appropriate for this age group. I don’t blame their parents though, the trailer made it look like a fun action movie. I honestly thought it was a more serious version of Get Smart before I went to see it. I don’t like it when movies aren’t upfront about what kind of movie they are. How rude.
In terms of acting, you can’t get much better than Colin Firth and Michael Cain. If Colin Firth wasn’t in this movie, it would have been MUCH worse. You wouldn’t think that he would make a convincing action hero, but he really does. I had some problems with Samuel L. Jackson as the villain only because I have seen him as the intense, intimidating villain Mr. Glass in Unbreakable and in this movie he plays the opposite. He plays Valentine, who is a true Bondian megalomanic villain, which I know is the point, but I don’t know if Samuel L. Jackson was the best choice. Newcomer, Taron Egerton, gives a good performance as Firth’s new protégé but I’m getting tired of all the new male talent being so pretty. What happened to the allure of rugged, handsome men? You through a wig on these new young male actors and some makeup and they’re beautiful women. Could Kevin Costner pass as a woman? Could Cary Grant, Paul Newman, Daniel Craig, George Clooney, Clark Gable? I don’t think so.
Overall, the movie does have some pretty impressive action sequences (the church scene was incredible), there were a couple good laughs and it accomplished what it set out to do, I just wasn’t a huge fan. It seems to be doing well at the box office and is getting favourable reviews but I don’t think it will have very much longevity.