For the most part, you will ask yourself if you need to take this film seriously. It’s a quandary that arises from the simple comprehension that Matthew Vaughn hasn’t. And so, neither should you. Because any attempt to do (whether it will end up futile or otherwise) will kill the experience. Imagine a movie that spoofs the Bond Universe with a coming-of-age plot that would make Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith tear up with joy, and you’ve got have a handle on what to expect.
Based on the Mark Millar book of the same name, Kingsman is delightfully British as far as the accents and Colin Firth’s embodiment of Galahad go. At it’s core, it’s indulgently American. Proof? Samuel L Jackson plays kooky internet billionaire Richmond Valentine, who wants to enforce population control by using sim cards to drive people crazy and kill themselves. When’s the last time you saw THAT in a movie from Blighty?
The Kingsman are an elite international spy organisation, funded by a corpus set up by international billionaires ages ago. They work out a bunker that has a tailor’s boutique as a front. It also doubles up as a source of their pristine bullet-proof threads, stock their fancy weapons and serve them a spot of Earl Grey. Named after the knights of Arthur’s Round Table, the kingsmen only induct another when one of their number is KIA.
That’s where Eggsy (not his real name, not even in the movie) comes in. The son of a former Kingsman, he is roped in by a sympathetic Galahad and asked to undergo a series of tests very much like the MIB induction regimen. Just as he gets to the final hurdle, Valentine and his evil plans sort of take centre stage - and it’s Eggsy to the rescue. The action scenes are more funny than exhilarating. Which works beautifully in this case. Even the semi-emotional bits are capped off with a little something to keep your vocal cords flexed, ready to chortle. Between Firth and Jackson, there’s plenty to keep you laughing - but it stops just short of making you wonder if this is a spoof. God forbid, who’d ever do that to James?