This is pitiful stuff, and, like the violence, it eats away at the blitheness for which Kingsman strives, leaving an aftertaste of desperation that the Connery of “Goldfinger,” say, would not have dreamed of bequeathing. The sadness is that Firth, alone in the film, does raise the spectre of those days, radiating a lightly amused reserve amid the havoc.
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It's tructured in familiar, safe terms, plays for very low stakes, and appeals to no one so much as white, male teenagers with chips on their shoulders.
Perhaps the riskiest mainstream movie in years, Vaughn’s love letter to spy movies may be uneven in places, but it’s ultra-violent, envelope-pushing, and fun enough to overcome the flaws.
Vaughn and his collaborators have taken a crude and disposable property and turned it into something more – a thoughtful, exciting, whip-smart spy adventure that doesn't let its smart-ass post-modernism overwhelm its playfulness or its heart.
Injecting fun and fairground thrills back into the spy movie, Kingsman is a blast. Firth is sensational, Jackson rules and newcomer Egerton surprises. Mission accomplished for Matthew Vaughn.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a startlingly enjoyable and well-made action film leavened by humor and slicked along by style, made by, for, and about people who’ve seen far too many Bond films.
Despite the presence of grandfatherly Michael Caine, Kingsman’s tone is about as far from the Christopher Nolan-style superhero film as you can get. Verisimilitude is frequently traded in for a rich laugh. The action scenes delight with shock humour.
While seriousness has overtaken the Bond franchise in recent years (hardly a bad thing, mind you), Kingsman runs no such risk. Vaughn welcomes details that might seem silly in another director’s hands, such as a bulletproof umbrella or tiny microchips that can make one’s head explode, presenting everything playfully enough that plausibility isn’t a factor.
Director Matthew Vaughn strikes an energetic balance between cartoonish action and character-driven drama... The mix grows less seamless and the story loses oomph as it barrels toward its doomsday countdown, but the cast’s dash and humor never flag.
Never less than slick, precision-tooled multiplex entertainment, Kingsman hews close to the formula Vaughn and his co-writer Jane Goldman established in their superficially similar "Kick-Ass": hyperspeed action, pithy one-liners and grotesque ultraviolence.