Bond is back, sort of – in Kingsman: The Secret Service

JAMES BOND is without a doubt the touchstone for most modern spy movies. Admittedly Jason Bourne has brought about a grittier, tougher, and more realistic take on the genre but there is always a nod back to the goofy, cool world filled with gadgets, crazy villains and insurmountable odds. Kingsman: The Secret Service, however, harks back to the more ridiculous Roger Moore era of Bond, picking up these tropes and putting a modern spin on them.

Whilst on the surface a British superspy may seem like Bond, it is far from it. No MI6 here, these are the Kingsman, there are 10 of them, each taking up a name from one of King Arthurs Knights of the Round Table. The story follows Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton), an unemployed young adult who stumbles into the world of the independent international intelligence organisation after meeting Harry Hart (Colin Firth), and later enrolls, taking part in its training program under the supervision of Merlin (Mark Strong) and Arthur (Michael Caine). Eggsy builds up his spy skills and later takes on villain Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson with a lisp).

Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, X-Men First Class) and co-written by Mark Millar (Wanted) the creative pair had previously co-operated on the other graphic novel based property Kick Ass which attained enough success to turn spur a sequel. Their close working relationship clearly helped in making not a perfect but still decent plot which is both witty and engaging. With already talks of further sequels to this film I look forward to seeing both what these two work on in the future (both Kingsman: The Secret Serviceindividually and together) and what can spawn from this new exciting franchise.

The action in the film cannot be described as anything other than ‘cool’, mainly to keep my language clean. From a skydiving sequence to an out-of-control brawl to the final fight in the Boss’s lair, the action is compelling and takes its own unique spin on a situation. The gadget design incorporated into what a gentlemen would carry on him such as umbrellas and lighters is wonderfully done and the Henchwoman, Gazelle, has amputee running blades with spikes to form a heel, making her one of the most iconic, coolest yet intimidating adversaries since Jaws and Oddjob. Also, quite frankly I am never going to be able to listen to Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd quite the same way again after one of the scenes.

Whilst Kingsman: The Secret Service is an insanely fun film, its views on politics and class are extremely confused. To fully explain this consider yourself warned that there are spoilers ahead, proceed with caution or skip forward. Whilst Valentines plot is to prevent climate change by eliminating the vast majority of the human race. The day is saved, Valentine is stopped, and come the end, what is happening about climate change? The world hardly seems ‘saved’, only humanity on it. Also with class Eggsy is recruited from a lower class background compared to the other Kingsman candidates but very quickly is forced into adopting their ways and becoming one of them in order to be an agent. This is never clearly addressed though, however, I can take light to the fact that he did make the entire world’s aristocracies’ heads explode in a glorious montage.

All in all, Kingsman is a brilliantly entertaining film, with many references to old Bond films, but very much keeping up to modern standards of a good film. No corny jokes, but witty, utilizing the best of modern technology to create cool and great action for great all round entertainment. That being said it is not for the faint of hearted, it might take ideas from bond but it is certainly not reserved in the violence it portrays. It is most certainly worth a watch if you love good action or spy movies.