Kingsman: The Secret Service is a 2014 movie directed by Matthew Vaughn, who had previously made both the interesting Kick-ass (2010) and Stardust (2007), that I decided to avoid out of respect towards Neil Gaiman and his fantastic novel with the same title. Let me say that I understand very well the reason behind the success of the film, and I also find it well done for what it wants to be. I simply don’t think that I’m part of the target, so personally I didn’t like it. Let me explain below.
Kingsman: The secret service is a tribute to the classic James Bond films in which the protagonist saves the world from a crazy supervillain, conquers all the girls he meets, and where many people die in the process but it doesn’t matter much. This movie has the same structure: Valentine (Samuel Jackson) is a crazy millionaire who wants to solve the environmental problems of the world by killing the majority of the population using SIM cards activating the aggressiveness of human beings and forcing them to kill each other. Galahad (Colin Firth) is a very elegant secret agent who tries to prevent Valentine’s plan, and at the same time his protégé Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is trying to enter the Kingsman organization of which his father was a member. The plot manages to develop these two stories simultaneously very well while also characterizing a large number of secondary characters (played by notable actors such as Michael Caine and Mark Strong!), thanks to an amazing editing.
So the plot works. The actors are all well directed. The music is excellent. The action is well shot. So why didn’t I like it? Because this mix of humor and seriousness didn’t work for me. For example, after the first survival test, one of the two female candidates dies. And here comes Eggsy looking at the body and making a stupid joke! I don’t understand if I should laugh, if I should think that he’s a fool, but judging from what he does in the movie he’s not… I don’t know, I’m confused by the tone of the movie. For example, I understand the final joke with the Swedish princess saying to Eggsy “if you save the world we can do it in the asshole”: I get it, it’s a reference to James Bond who more or less explicitly did the same thing in many of his movies. But after the death of 220 people whose heads exploded (though the effect is anything but realistic, with the heads bursting like fireworks) I’m unable to laugh at Valentine’s lisp! At the same time, I appreciate the irony of killing all the most powerful and selfish people in the world.
In short, I think that it’s a smart and well written film, but it’s not for me. There’s English savoir faire mixed with vulgarity, there’s extreme violence mixed with stupid jokes. This confuses me. And one other thing: I didn’t like the CGI special effects, I found them not credible, too fluid and cartoonish for my brain to accept them. After a head kick I don’t like to see a person flying backwards as if she was made of paper (in Colin Firth’s pub fight against Eggsy’s neighbors)… and then that same character appears again in the ending, he’s still alive! Well… I don’t understand how to take this kind of action movies. Ciao!