Movie Review: Kingsman

First things first, is it The Kingsman, or Kingsman? Oh, Kingsman: The Secret Service. But that’s not actually the first thing, first thing is that I have to explain why I’m doing this.

I am not a movie reviewer. In general, I despise movie reviews because they tend to be the bitter ramblings of angry reporters who never made it as a movie star/writer/director themselves, who seem to take pride in using the most ingenious words possible to insult and rip apart someone else’s work. “Create, people! Don’t destroy!” I want to tell them.

Those reviews are generally what I find in newspapers and magazines where the need to be literary and important seems to trump empathy and consideration. Now, I am not against bad reviews, trust me, I have made verbal ones myself, I just think there’s a way to go about them and a way not to. And most of the reviews I have read in print are what I would call the way not to. But that is just my opinion.

To make a long explanation short (you didn’t expect the short version from me, did you?), I am not a reviewer or a critic. I just tend to watch a lot of movies and have lots to say about them and, well, my blog posts have kinda sucked in the fact that they’ve been nonexistent and I need a way to get back into the habit of doing this. I need to stop thinking, “Oh, no one cares what I have to say,” and just write. And since last night was Tuesday Night Movie Night (that’s what I call our Tuesday night date night where we get a babysitter and go to whatever movie is playing…okay, well, not any movie, lets say, most movies…because even if the movie is not so great or not one we wanted to see, the popcorn and the price usually make it all worth it.) I figured what better way to get back on the blogging horse than reviewed the movie I watched last night.

So, here goes my unformulated, unpractised, very first movie review ever for, Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Now, we drove 75km (give or take a few) to make it to this movie. Why? Because Fifty Shades of Grey was playing in our only theatre here and the fact that that movie even exists enrages me and actually has me losing just a little bit of faith in humanity (but that is another blog post entirely, which we all know, probably will never happen. Two blog posts in a week? Whaaaaaat??). Either way, it was travel or no movie. So we traveled.

Originally, we were going to go see, Jupiter Ascending, because Kingsman is supposedly playing here next week, but when we got to the theatre the line was so long we missed the start time for Jupiter and the next obvious choice was, Kingsman (which I wanted to see more anyways). Now, there are not usually lines this long at this theatre, yes it was Tuesday, but obviously this was a special day. There were so many women in line, all chittery and excited for Fifty Shades that I wanted to take them and shake them and scream in their faces, “What the hell are you doing? Have you no taste? Have you no respect for women everywhere? Are your standards so low you’d stoop to this kind of shit story writing?” But I refrained. It was hard, but I did it. I know, I’ve come a long way since my days of rage…

Oh yeah, back to Kingsman ( I just had to get my final dig on Fifty Shades in, just in case you did not grasp how I felt about it from my earlier comments).

We got into the theatre right when the previews were starting and it was packed. Not, “Oh, there’s lots of people here packed,” but, “Okay, lets go ask for our money back because there is no where to sit” packed (And no, I was not about to give up my popcorn. Are you nuts? You can take away my seat in the theatre but you can never take my popcorn!). Just as I was admitting defeat we found, or thought we found, two seats together in the middle of a row on the other side of the theatre. The problem was, when we got there, one of those seats were being saved for someone else. Alas, no Kingsman for us, until a guy noticed us standing there and waved us over, shuffling him and his date down one seat to make room for us. Ah, how glorious is the kindness of strangers! I’m thinking on busy movie nights they’re going to have to apply Disney tactics: “Please move all the way down to the end of your row! Do not skip seats! Do not stop in the middle! Fill all available seats!” But who knew it would be so packed. All I can say is we were so lucky. As we sat down we watched many people crowd at the entrance, looking for seats to find only single ones littered through the theatre. I’m not sure what they did but a few teenagers just stood around on the edge and watched the movie.

But I digress, I promised you a movie review and a movie review you’ll get!

It was awesome!

Is that good enough for you?

No? You can’t just take my word for it because that doesn’t really give you anything? Okay. Let me add a few details, but I promise, I won’t ruin the movie for you. Damn, I hate it when people do that…

Colin Firth in a spy movie. Really, there should be no debate. That is awesome. I mean, when is any movie with Colin Firth not worth seeing? He’s Colin Firth! A British Treasure. Or he should be. I keep thinking I should be writing Sir Colin Firth. Have they knighted him yet? Because if they haven’t, they should.

Oh yeah, there were others in the movie too. I’ll get to that.

Now for some story line? Bascially, Colin Firth is this ass-kicking spy they call Galahad (all the spies in the Kingsman seem to have names from the days of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table) who is also a perfectly well spoken and gallantly behaved English Gentlemen. The main storyline centres around the fact that one of the Kingsman has been killed and they need to know why. Which brings us to…

The bad guy: Samuel L. Jackson…a billionaire who dresses like a gansta and speaks with a lisp. Who would ever have thought that would work? Well, it did. It was awesome and he was great. Did I also mention he can’t handle the sight of blood and has a woman with prosthetic legs enhanced with killing blades to do all his dirty work? (Okay, this was the one thing I didn’t really like. But it might have been because just hated this character so much…which means, they did their job well in the writing of it.)

So, Samuel L. Jackson, or Valentine as he is known, is putting together some secret plot that will no doubt have devastating consequences for mankind and it is up to the Kingsman Secret Service to discover what it is and stop him. Classic spy movie storyline.

And now for the secondary story line: The Kingsman are trying to replace their lost member who was killed by the death blades of Valentine’s right-hand woman, and so the remaining Kingsman are to put forth applicants to become the next Lancelot (They keep the original names, just move new people into that position). This is where we meet Eggsy, a kid who just can’t seem to catch a break. His life’s pretty much crap and, although he has a ton of potential, he’s wasting it. But Galahad believes in him and puts him forward as the applicant, as well as taking him on as a type of project, so to speak, helping him turn his life around and do something good with it. As a break from the Valentine-End the world storyline, we see Eggsy (Taron Egerton) try and make his way in the training, pitted against Oxford and Cambridge uppity snobs, and come out with surprisingly high test scores. Eventually, the two stories come together and the rest, well, I’m not going to tell you or it will ruin everything.

And really, it’s not the story here that matters. It’s everything that adds to it. Yes, it’s totally typical, and yet, it isn’t. There are so many funny lines that catch you off guard you find yourself laughing more out of shock more than anything, shock and also, respect. Like, “Wow, those writers hit that one right on the mark…kudos,” kind of laughter. The violence (of which there is a lot, do not bring your children) is so unexpected, it’s like a Quentin Tarantino film minus the bloody gore, which makes it watchable and at times, laughable but in a groaning, “Oh my god I can’t believe they did that, kind of way.” One minute you’re watching a perfectly respectable English movie about gentleman spies and then next…wel…you’ll have to go see it to find out.

The movie has all the elements of a good (spy) movies. Empathetic characters, proper story structure, car chase, action, humanity’s very existence on the line. It’s got everything that would make it good, everything that would make it just another James Bond-type movie. But then it goes and takes it beyond that, in the little details, the witty dialogue, the shocking violence. It’s the fact that you laugh and cheer while watching it (and people did cheer. And stomp their feet. And clap their hands. A whoop a few times). It was like we were all on an exciting ride with the kind of loops and turns that, while expected, are just different enough to throw you and have you whooping and laughing because it took you somewhere that you hadn’t planned on going. Where you come off a little wobbly, a little dizzy, maybe even a bit sick, but so happy you went on it and ready to get back in line and do it again.

No, I didn’t walk out of this movie a changed person. No, I didn’t really learn some great life lesson. But I did walk out thinking that Kingsman had been a perfect way to spend 2 hrs and 9 minutes of my evening and I wanted to thank everyone involved for putting together such a great ride.

So there is my review. I don’t particularly feel like giving it a rating out of ten or anything, I think that is really hard to do, especially when I have no scale to base it on. I will say, this movie rocked and as long as you can handle violence and possess even the slightest sense of humor, you’ll enjoy yourself. Go see it. All those involved are fantastically talented and you can tell when you watch their finished product.

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