Comic book creator Mark Millar and film making familiar Matthew Vaughn gave the superhero genre a firm kick in the balls with Kick-Ass and applies the same boot to spy movies following Kingsman: The Secret Service, which succeeds and succumbs to the same faults. Unapologetic in its execution and undeniably entertaining for being so, the film works just as Kick-Ass did, courtesy of a new and impressive talent being kept under the wing of an established actor who is out of their comfort zone and, relishing the moment because of it.
Leading the way (and impressively so) is Taron Edgerton’s Eggsy, a typical London lad who on the surface looks like he’d be better suited behind a Subaru Impreza than an Aston Martin. Nevertheless, this repeat offender catches the eye of gentlemen spy Harry Hart (Firth), esteemed member of the Kingsman orgnanisation that are part MIB and two parts MI6. From here a familiar routine of putting the would-be hero through his paces, but through the care-free and occasionally uncouth vision of Vaughn from Millar’s offensive brain matter.
These two characters are the perfect weapons of choice in Kingsman’s wardrobe. Rough around the edges as Eggsy but smooth in his delivery, Edgerton handles sharing the screen with the likes of Colin Firth, Mark Strong (top form) and Sir Michael Caine (always welcome) without a hitch. It’s clear that he’s having an absolute ball as the F-bomb dropping fish out of water and he’s not the only one.
Considering that the only fight we’ve seen Firth in worth noting was when he was flailing his arms at Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones, this is an immense upgrade. Hart is a dapper dressed Angel of Death, delivering beat downs in two of the films biggest fight sequences, and looking great doing so. He also shares wonderful chemistry with Edgerton mixing the same combo of deadpan with Edgerton’s energetically dumbfounded new recruit, not too dissimilar to the Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones dynamic in Men In Black.
Having said that, whilst the film does a great job of saying bollocks to Bond, it can’t quite match 007 in terms of its villain. As entertaining as Samuel L. Jackson’s bad lad with a lisp is, the violence-hating antagonist who initiates a pivotal moment in the film is ultimately there for laughs and nothing more. Of course, this is also a film where ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ is played alongside an array of heads exploding – you’ve got to make compromise, and the result is a refreshing and fun film nonetheless.