The spy genre has been around for longer than most of us can probably remember, as has the comedy genre, but the combination of the two appears rather new. Spy movies tend to be very serious, whilst comedy movies are, of course, the complete opposite. But after all, they do say that opposites attract, and this attraction was definitely a recipe for success for Kingsman: The Secret Service.
In a rags to riches, my fair lady type storyline, Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of Eggsy, a young man dabbling with the wrong side of the law who is introduced to the world of The Kingsman, a branch of secret agents challenged to save the world from impending doom. All he has to do is make it through the ridiculously tough interview process, deal with stuck up spy recruits and then save the world from the man who wants to control it through the power of mobile phones.
Before he gained global recognition as Elton John in Rocketman, Taron Egerton makes an impact in this movie as Eggsy, taking a lead in the story from the get go and impressing throughout. Eggsy is a character who is both well developed and easily lovable. We see him go from a young man feeling that he has no where to go in his life, except to perhaps prison, to a strong military agent who has the fate of the world on his shoulders. His interactions with his fellow spy recruits are believable and comical, and you find yourself hanging on his every word. The relationship between Egerton as Eggsy and Colin Firth as senior Kingsman member Harry is touching and a real highlight of the film as a whole.
Colin Firth and Mark Strong star as Harry and Merlin, two members of Kingsman who are challenged to get the new recruits through the interview process and lead them in how to save the universe from a twisted technology master who wants to see every person on earth determined to destroy each other. Both Firth and Strong suit their roles to a tee, delighting in being both prim and proper and showing who is boss with an arsenal of exciting weapons. Some of the best one liners come from these characters.
Every spy movie needs a villain, and for Kingsman it comes in the form of Valentine, played brilliantly by Samuel L Jackson. Who knew that by making a criminal mastermind terrified of blood and giving him a lisp would be such a success. A villain that you can easily love to hate and one that provides a wonderful level of comedy.
On top of the spy movie stereotypes of ridiculous weapons, fast cars and action sequences, Kingsman makes itself stand out from the crowd by adding comedy. A winning combination of slapstick and word play, this film expertly injects funny moments into serious scenes without distracting from the action. I think that it is the well developed and believable characters that make the comedy work so well, if it wasn’t so easy to like the characters some of the jokes may fall flat, but instead they land just perfectly.
As someone who is not a fan of the more classic spy movies, Kingsman is a welcome break from the norm. It still has the thrill of a good Spy film whilst throwing in comedy and wit for good measure, creating a new and interesting movie that provides a thoroughly enjoyable watch. Following the success in this first Kingsman instalment, it is really no surprise that the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle followed in 2017, with a prequel The Kings Man due for release later this year.