“Kingsman: The Secret Service” offers a great take on the spy genre by giving it a newfound sophistication. Agents in suits and swag are not uncommon in spy movies, but the execution of the different spy aspects makes “Kingsman: The Secret Service” a one-of-a-kind film.
There’s MI6, there’s IMF, and then there’s Kingsmen, an independent international intelligence agency that operates above the politics and bureaucracy that can harm spy organizations. “Kingsman: The Secret Service” serves as a celebration of spy movies across the last century. Its picturesque canvas and humorous representation of espionage give a tough competition to the grim worlds of James Bond, Ethan Hunt, and Jason Bourne.
‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ Plot Summary
The film follows Gary Unwin, AKA Eggsy, a young English bloke with a golden heart. Eggsy is recruited as a kingsman by one of his dad’s war buddies, Harry Hart. On the other hand, there is a villain on the rise, Richmond Valentine. Valentine, a billionaire cellphone tycoon, who wants to reduce the Earth’s population by using SIM cards that, when activated, emit aggressive signals that drive people insane and murderous. After Harry is killed by Valentine and Eggsy discovers that Kingsman itself has joined hands with Valentine, he takes up the responsibility of bringing an end to the lunatic’s plan. In the end, Eggsy kills Valentine and prevents the world’s population from suffering significant loss.
What Makes It Such An Attractive Spy Movie?
Before cornering “Kingsman: The Secret Service” as just another James-Bond wannabe, the movie’s cinematic treatment deserves a discussion. There are all the ingredients of a spy movie in it, from a sinister villain to hardcore action and cool gadgets, but Matthew Vaughn’s treatment is what raises its bar. It is the richly colored presentation that lifts the entire atmosphere of “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and gives it a polished and shiny appearance. The highly volatile and tight action sequences orchestrated with rhythm make the fights look more like dance (thanks to the director’s choice of the hidden cuts). The villain is also made to look fabulous without compromising his cruel intentions. The story continues at a steady pace and surprises just when you are about to connect it to some generic spy movie you saw earlier.
All the characters are well sought-out and distinct. What makes the impact is that their distinctiveness is made visible through their appearance and behavior. Their manner of speaking is different, the way they carry themselves is different, and yet all of them seamlessly contribute to the world that the movie creates. No one feels out of place. This is one of the main reasons why “Kingsman: The Secret Service” makes its mark.
Harry Hart: The Kingsman
Harry Hart is the perfect epitome of a “manners maketh man” spy. He is soft-spoken, well-dressed, intelligent, brave, and dangerous. The movie repeatedly established his gentleman character through various quotes and words that reflect his solid and well-grown roots. He will walk a mile to avoid a fight but will not back off an inch once the battle starts. His love and generosity for his war buddy (Eggsy’s father) is evident when he tells Eggsy that all that he has been doing for him is a way to repay his dad’s sacrifice. No matter the odds, he stares straight into the eyes of danger, even if he knows that it will cost him his life. We get this vibe when he talks to Valentine outside the church right before Valentine shoots him dead. But the seed he planted does grow roots as Eggsy returns to avenge him.
Gary “Eggsy” Unwin: The Recruit
Gary “Eggsy” Unwin describes the outcome of society and the choices one has to make to survive in it. He left his training in the Royal Marines for his mother, who almost lost her mind, fearing that she would lose her child the way she lost her husband. Eggsy’s penchant for drugs and petty crime is the outcome of his stepfather’s influence. He has his reasons for the kind of life he lives or has to live by. But his stand for his mother is observed by Harry, who recognizes that Eggsy has the Kingsman spark in him. This is made clear during the training sessions. While other candidates at boot camp adopt an “every man for himself” mentality in order to survive, Eggsy ensures that the others are kept safe—a reminder of his Marine mentality to always look out for the team. Ultimately, it is he that saves the world from falling into utter chaos.
Richmond Valentine: The Flashy Antagonist
Firstly, Samuel Jackson is an excellent pick for a flashy villain, Richmond Valentine, who walks and talks like a teenager with shiny clothing and dapper looks. His issue is perhaps a real one, i.e., overpopulation. But it is his solution that makes him an insane person. The way his plan is revealed makes it a major turning point in the plot, one that we are all taken aback by. And despite being flashy, Valentine’s character is neatly defined, so much so that we are inclined to want to know more about him once he is introduced. And as the movie moves forward, his want for global dominion becomes clear.
The World of ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’
Hats off to the whole team for creating a world where all the characters seem commonplace. It is this cohesiveness that makes the movie so attractive and attention-seeking. From the Kingsman tailor shop to the gadgets to the fights with the villain to the very use of phones as a means of death, everything connects to everything else and forms a whole singular pie for us to devour.
The Old-School Yet Cool Gadgets
The gadgets in “Kingsman: The Secret Service” are a homage to the James Bond films. We are introduced to many weapons, many of which are cloaked in everyday, mundane objects like rings, fountain pens, umbrellas, and Oxford shoes. For an intelligence agency that functions out of a tailor shop, Kingsman has all the necessary weaponry that makes for credible services. Matthew Vaughn certainly deserves credit for creating such weapons that seamlessly merge with the world they are in.
The Cohesive Action
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is very cohesive, although unrealistic. This means that the action sequences, which are a crucial part of the film, feel like they are set in the same world that also has the rest of the interactions, like dialogues, etc. Granted, there are so many talented folks addressing the action design, the VFX, and other such stuff in a movie, but there should be a thread that connects all the scenes in it and not multiple threads joined together, which makes the movie appear like a collection of shots supervised or directed by more than one person based on the needs of the shots. There are many movies where the dialogue scenes and the action scenes are totally different in their execution and style, like Birds of Prey, the Taken franchise, the Jason Bourne movies, and many more. “Kingsman: The Secret Service” doesn’t fall into this category, and that is where its specialty lies.
‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ Ending: Is Eggsy the Next Galahad?
At the end of the movie, we see Eggsy in his classy Kingsman suit, flaunting charisma and gentlemanly composure as he confronts his stepdad. This is in stark contrast to his last meeting with his stepdad, which upholds the transition that inspires us to cross-check our mannerisms and etiquettes. By the end of the final scene, Eggsy’s character has absorbed the same arc that we saw in Galahad’s character to the extent that he uses the same words in the same context: “Manners maketh man.”
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is a 2014 Action Thriller film directed by Matthew Vaughn.