The KINGSMAN franchise is getting its second installment this September in KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE. By the looks of it, the R-Rated franchise is expanding its fictional universe and doubling down on the magic of its first film.

KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE is Marvel’s most non-Marvel movie ever. It is based on the comic book of the same name, and the 2014 movie is a gem in the superhero film genre. KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE is what happens when you mix a James Bond movie with an R-rated comedy. It is a well blended, and it was pretty damn original for a spy movie to be a part of the superhero genre.

Quick Plot Highlights

The plot of the film starts with super villain Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) kidnapping Professor James Arnold (Mark Hamill). Valentine believes that the only way to solve the global warming crisis is for the human population to decrease dramatically. He uses Professor Arnold’s research as justification to extract his plot. A Kingsman tries to rescue the professor but Valentine’s henchwoman, Gazelle (Sofia Boutella), kills him with her sharpened prosthetic legs.

Lancelot’s death, the Kingsman that is killed in the beginning, creates an opening for a new Kingsman to be recruited. Harry Hart (Colin Firth) recruits Eggsy (Taron Egerton) to be the Kingsman when he gets into trouble with the law. However, before Hart recruits Eggsy, we discover that Eggsy’s father was the Kingsman who sacrificed his life to save Hart. So the dynamic between Hart and Eggsy is like a father-son relationship since Harry is repaying Eggsy’s father by taking him underneath his wing.

Harry Hart (Colin Firth) recruiting Eggsy (Taron Egerton) KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE
Harry Hart (Colin Firth) recruiting Eggsy (Taron Egerton)

Eggsy is put through a rigorous process to be chosen as the next Kingsman. What makes things more challenging for Eggsy is that he is a fish out of water among the other candidates. Because of this Eggsy befriends one of the only female candidates Roxy (Sophie Cookson) because she is also different. The selection process weeds out the other candidates until it is Eggsy and Roxy left over. Roxy ultimately wins out over Eggsy because he failed the final test.

Meanwhile, Professor Arnold returns as everything is normal when Hart investigates his kidnapping and Lancelot’s death. During his investigation, Hart tries to get Professor Arnold to tell him why was he kidnapped. However, before Professor Arnold could talk his head explodes and all that is left is a chip. Hart and Merlin trace the chip back to Valentine and Hart goes undercover to investigate.

During his investigation, Valentine discovers Hart is a Kingsmen, and he kills him. Eggsy, distraught over Hart’s death and that he failed to become a Kingsman, goes to the KINGSMAN headquarters to help. Trying to help Eggsy discovers that Arthur and Valentine are working together. Arthur tries to poison Eggsy, but Eggsy switches the poisonous bourbon and Arthur drinks and dies.

READ: Want an inside look into the KINGSMAN: GOLDEN CIRCLE? Click here!

After discovering about Arthur’s betrayal, Merlin decides to take Eggsy and Roxy him to save the world since they cannot trust anyone. Eggsy kills Valentine the same way he killed Harry Hart, and he saves the human race from killing itself through mass violence.

Surprisingly Good Characters And Better Actors

The casting of KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE was surprising for serval reasons. One of which was the casting of Colin Firth as Harry Hart. Colin Firth has been traditionally cast in serious roles like THE KINGS SPEECH where he won an Academy Award.

So to see him in an R- rated action spy comedy film is unusual, to say the least. However, all of that aside, he is really amazing in the film. Colin Firth is as charming as James Bond, but in this film, he is also badass. His best scene in this film was the violent church scene where Hart kills the congregation in a big brawl action set.

Samuel L. Jackson as Richmond Valentine KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE
Samuel L. Jackson as Richmond Valentine

Samuel L. Jackson was also surprising in this film as the eccentric lead villain Richmond Valentine. The surprising part was not Samuel L. Jackson himself, he is amazing, but the way he portrayed the character. One thing that stands out about Valentine is his ridiculous lisp and Russell Simmons type persona.

Valentine’s ridiculousness and lisp can throw you off at first, but his sinister character makes him a unique villain. For instance, Valentine becomes squeamish at the sight of blood, but he creates a device that blows off people’s heads. His violent schemes off set Valentine’s quirky tendencies.

Michael Caine as Chester King/Arthur was perfect as the film’s surprise double crossing villain. Sofia Boutella as Gazelle looked great as the silent blade legged villain. However, no one else had a bigger breakout performance than Taron Egerton as Gary “Eggsy” Unwin.

READ: Have a hankering for R-rated comic book movies? Check out our review of LOGAN!

Eggys is a unique character that’s low maintenance and fun to watch. He doesn’t need an elaborate back story, exposition, or special powers. You get a firm understanding of the character in 20 minutes, and he’s still entertaining through the rest of the film.

Eggsy is intelligent without beating you over the head with it. He is a bit sarcastic but funny. He’s down to earth, and in addition to being charming, he’s crude. Most of all Taron Egerton’s breakout performance as the anti-James Bond makes the character Eggsy, Eggsy.

Marvel’s R-Rated Spy Movie

Matthew Vaughan’s love letter to British spy films is on full display in KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE. Vaughan assembles an all-star cast with actors like; Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton, and Michael Caine. Together with the direction of Matthew Vaughan, this badass ensemble weaves in all of the elements of an action film with sophistication.

KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE plays on the idea of a spy movie while explicitly stating it is not a spy movie. This film makes several meta jokes out of the concept of it being a spy movie itself, and it is entertaining. Matthew Vaughan is crafty in the way he parallels a spy movie.

KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE has an over the top villain, a high stakes plot, a disfigured assassin, and sophisticated heroes. KINGSMAN does all of this while still being a Marvel movie too. It has Marvel tropes like the training montage, the loss of a mentor, a lackluster villain, and a cool hero. KINGSMAN even has a music score similar to Marvel’s AVENGERS. So it very much resembles a typical spy movie and a Marvel movie.

Harry Hart (Colin Firth) during the Church Scene in KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE
Harry Hart (Colin Firth) during the Church Scene

Where KINGSMAN differs from both Marvel and Spy movies is in its comedy where the film can be crude if not vulgar. Take the scene where Colin Firth’s character Harry Hart kills people in a church full of bigots. The scene executed its action choreography flawlessly, but the most shocking part was the violence in the church.

Luckily there are comedic tropes in that scene because otherwise, it would be overtly vulgar. KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE takes advantage of its R-rated rating and goes with adult comedy in the film. The adult comedy works for this film because it makes sure it does not take itself too seriously.

KINGSMAN also does something very different from most American spy films. In most American spy films the villain is almost always a foreign, and usually British person. In 2014, KINGSMAN flipped that trope on its head with its refreshing originality and made the villain an American.

Is KINGSMAN: GOLDEN CIRCLE Worth Your Time?

If you haven’t seen KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE already take the time out of your day and watch it. It’s a pretty damn good film in addition to being pure fun and intriguing. One of the best features about KINGSMAN is that there’s no extraneous effort to set up the sequel. So if you are looking for a fresh take on a spy, Marvel, or action film, KINGSMAN gives it to you. We highly recommended KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE.

Harry Hart (Colin Firth) and Eggsy (Taron Egerton) in KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
Harry Hart (Colin Firth) and Eggsy (Taron Egerton) in KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

As for the sequel in the KINGSMAN franchise, KINGSMAN: GOLDEN CIRCLE, that film looks as promising as the original. KINGSMAN: GOLDEN CIRCLE looks to expand the world of the KINGSMAN universe by introducing the Statesmen. The Statesmen are the American version of the Kingsmen so you can look forward to Matthew Vaughan poking fun at American spy films.

Watch KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE and if you like then KINGSMAN: GOLDEN CIRCLE will be sure worth your time. If anything can get you into a movie theatre later this September, it is the KINGSMAN: GOLDEN CIRCLE’s R rating. Matthew Vaughan, 20th Century FOX, and Marvel will make sure to exploit that and give you a great film.

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE premieres in theaters everywhere on September 22.

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