Kingsman is a welcome return for Matthew Vaughn whose last film X-Men First Class came out in 2011. The film is adapted from the comic he co created with Mark Millar and once again screenwriting duties are shared between Vaughn and Jane Goldman. It would be easy to look at the creative team and say that Kingsman is to spy films what Kick-Ass was to superhero films yet I think that would be wrong as Kingsman is much better than Kick-Ass and it also has much more to say.
In the same way last year Wes Anderson made a film about the holocaust and the second world war without a single mention of the those events in the script Vaughn has made a film about the London riots without really focusing on them. Kingsman is an angry film behind everything there is a sense of anger about the state of Britain. Its angry that Britain is run by an elite born into their positions and those at the bottom are ignored not matter how smart they are.
The films central protagonist is “Eggsy” (Taron Egerton) Eggsy is down on his luck since the death of his father his family seems to have fallen apart he lives on a run down council estate his mother is married to a horrible stepfather and their flat is grimy and dirty. When Eggsy nicks and ruins the car of his stepfather mate it seems like a cry for help. After this he is released due to favour owed to his family and then things start to look up for Eggsy as he is taken in by veteran Kingsman agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth). Soon Eggsy is in the running for a place as a Kingsman agent and here the films reflections on class continue as Eggsy is up against people who come off like posh toffs there because of their parents money and no skill.
Kingsman is definitely Vaughn’s best film. The direction is spot on the fight sequences have this fast paced energy to them everything has this chaotic sensibility that grips and excites you. There is a scene in a church during the film that is one of the best violent action scene of recent years. Yet its not just the action scenes that are well made everything in the film has this sense of quality to it, George Richmond’s cinematography stands out all of the colours are bold and sharp the camera style is fluid to move with what the film requires. For instance in the church fight scene there are lots of tracking shots edited together in this fast paced frantic manner but at other points it’s still and lets everything on frame sink in. For instance you can see this in the trailer when Harry shows Eggsy and elaborate inventive weapons cabinet. The performances are great as well Egerton perfectly encapsulates the character of Eggsy he plays him with warmth and proves that heroes can come form anywhere they don’t need to be a part of the elite. The real stars of the show however are Colin Firth and Samuel L Jackson. Firth completely embodies the gentleman spy yet also shows us a whole new side to him with his sense of comedic timing and a skilled use of swear words. Jackson plays the villain with such campness and flourish you totally get the sense that he is having fun with the part people think serious dramatic acting is hard but this is proper acting you completely by Jackson as the villain, his sense of character and fun lift the film from great to excellent.
Kingsman is one of the best action films of recent years. It’s been four years waiting for Vaughn but it was worth it Kingsman is a big fun joyous film but justifies its style with a moral message going against the British elite.