Kingsman: The Secret Service, is a film as deceptive as the gentlemen spies that star in it. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, of Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class fame, the action-comedy-spy film tries to accomplish a lot. It’s funny, self-aware, bloody, emotional and crude.
Variety is the key to this movie – both the writing and cast reflect this; from Colin Firth’s classy form to Samuel L. Jackson’s hilarious lisp. The first half of the film really struggles with finding its footing. In trying to accomplish everything, it almost lacks direction. As the movie proceeds, however, this becomes its strength. Kingsman really begins to transition well between the elements of comedy, drama and action.
The film has strong writing, however, its success is achieved more so by the strong efforts of its cast. Leads like Firth, Jackson and Egerton really succeed with their roles, and supporting casts like Michael Caine and Mark Hamill round out the film. Kingsman is also very self-aware, referencing its inspirations. The writing is clever, comparing itself to other movies of the genre and giving the audience a nudge. At times, however, the James Bond references are obvious and overused. There are a lot of layers to this movie, but they all stand out equally.
The film tries to accomplish a lot, from its Kick-Ass style action sequences to a strong sense of self-awareness. At times glaring issues stand out, but the film is incredibly entertaining from start to finish. Kingsman suffers from too many layers, but every layer has a degree of brilliance.