How did I not know that this was a Matthew Vaughn film? If I'd have known, I might have made a sooner effort to see this. As it happens I managed to find the smallest screen at the Odeon in Leicester Square that happened to still be showing it. And by God I'm glad I found it. I enjoyed the hell out of this.
Following in the great tradition of Matthew Vaughn films, Kingsman is different to any of his previous films, at least in terms of genre. Perhaps there should be a new Matthew Vaughn genre, a Vaughnre if you will!
Having recently suffered through Tomorrowland, I was pleased to see more invention in the first few minutes of Kingsman that all of Brad Bird's snorefest. Vaughn's direction is controlled but fluid, and his ideas are as clever as ever. The cinematography is lovely and the action/fights are excellent, as might be expected from someone who as doubled Jackie Chan and has been stunt coordinator for del Toro films such as Hellboy 2 (2008) and Pacific Rim (2013) as well as Vaughn's own Kick-Ass (2010).
The cast are spot on. Who else could be the quintessential Englishman complete with bowler hat and brolly but Colin Firth? Mark Strong is also superb as Q come Mr Miyagi and looks mean in his Markies jumped with a big fecking gun. Naturally Samuel L Jackson and Michael Caine are superb.
I've never heard of Taron Egerton before, and a quick check of IMDB shows me why. However, he really grows into the role of new recruit upon whose shoulders the fate of the world will rest (not a spoiler, it was always going to happen given the events of the first ten minutes). He's perfect as the cocky Ned, who despite his unorthodox attitude progresses through the secret service training program with relative ease. He even brushes up well in his tailored Saville Row suit, but the glasses are perhaps a bit too far.
There is more than a hint of Bond in this (after all it's a British secret service story), but while giving a few 007 nods, it wisely doesn't try to emulate it and stays away from the usual clichés. I'm not familiar with Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons' source graphic novel, but I now want to seek it out.
A seriously enjoyable film that has the hallmarks of a Matthew Vaughn film, but that is no bad thing. An excellent cast, brilliant inventive action and a booming soundtrack from Henry Jackman, not to mention a cameo by an unrecognisable Mark Hamill. But, you know, that's just, like, my opinion man.