Photo courtesy of Kingsman: The Secret Service/Facebook
Looking ahead at the film slate for the next two to three years, it would seem as though Marvel and DC are dominating the box office when it comes to making comicbook movies. While there is no denying the appeal and popularity of their stories, sometimes audiences want something a bit more “off the beaten path” with the genre. While the case for this has not been particularly strong, as evidenced by the reception of “Wanted,” “Cowboys and Aliens” and “The Losers,” other films like the “Kick-Ass” franchise, “Scott-Pilgrim vs. the World” and “The Mask” say otherwise. “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” based off the comicbook series by Marvel-owned Icon Comics, released Feb. 13, adds more weight to the latter’s case.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn, who worked on the “Kick-Ass” films and “X-Men: First Class,” this tribute to the Bond films of the 1970s in not your typical spy thriller. Adapted from Mark Millar’s and Dave Gibbons’ source material by the director’s wife Jane Goldman, the film tells the story of Gary “Eggsy” Unwin, played by Taron Edgerton –– an impoverished British teen recruited by a secret service organization called Kingsman. Supervised by his late father’s friend, played by Colin Firth, Gary must become the agent his father once was. Meanwhile, an eccentric American technology mogul, played by Samuel L. Jackson, unveils his latest invention to the world, which may or may not be a cover for something far more sinister. Mark Strong and Michael Caine co-star, and are bolstered by smaller parts from “Star Wars” alumni Mark Hamill and “Pirates of the Caribbean” star Jack Davenport.
The first thing one should know when viewing the film for the first time is how much the story is influenced by the James Bond films, as well as more well-known spy characters. There are many references to the films of the Roger Moore-era, as well as jokes about the workings of the Bond universe.
In a Feb. 13 Entertainment Weekly article called “Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn reveals the secrets behind the church scene, that sex joke and more,” the director described how Firth, normally a dramatic actor, trained for six months to perform the necessary stunt work. Even more fascinating is that, according to the film’s imdb.com page, Firth performed 80 percent of his own stunts under the supervision of stunt coordinator Bradley James Allen, a disciple of Jackie Chan.
Fast-paced, stylized and adult in nature, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is definitely not for everyone. However, if you are a fan of spy films and/or comic book films, then I would highly recommend this one.
Follow Collin Chersi on Twitter: @PepperChersi