The British secret agent is quite obviously no longer a secret these days. His shadowy figure materialized first with Ian Fleming’s James Bond, corporealized with the vast literature of espionage that followed John Le Carré, and coalesced with the various film adaptations of the literature. The matter of espionage is indeed one of the most intensely followed subjects today, quite deservedly—who does not find intrigue with the idea of a secretive, faceless protector of the state? Once again, the trope has evolved. “Kingsman: The Secret Service” took to theaters on March 5, impressing audiences with a fresh look at the trope, as well as shocking some with vulgarity.
On the whole, “Kingsman” is a well-constructed film. It employs comedic effect but does not take such humor to a great length, making it less forced than other films may be. Indeed, “Kingsman” is a film that is novel yet not contrived. But it does lack in certain areas. For example, it is incredibly crass at times. Some have even called it vulgar in regards. This reaction is warranted, however, because some of the allusions the film makes are borderline insensitive. For example, common character tropes of race are overused, making the it contrived.
The casting is superior, however. The film stars Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton and Michael Caine, which should speak for itself in terms of the casting choice. As a film about the British secret agent, these choices do a lot to improve the film. Yet it seems a bit unnecessary at times, because of the tone of the film. One would have expected a more serious performance from these renowned actors, and this expectation takes away from the cohesion of the film as a whole.
The special effects are highly commendable. The film follows the Hollywood trend of combining flashy explosive effects with clever lighting to provide a very impressive set of visuals. Yet these are not overused, as Michael Bay’s films have, which gives it a better look overall.
In the end, “Kingsman” is a good film that should go in history as a fresh take on the secret agent trope. Yet it could have been improved by removing some of the vulgarity and adding some more professionalism. The film is well intended, and the idea is an original and fresh one. Yet the film itself is not exactly an appealing film, given its crass nature.