Director Matthew Vaughn has always had a wonderful sense of joy about his projects. Kick-Ass was delirious giddy un-PC genius and his addition to the X-Men franchise was light-hearted, colourful and brought the series back from the brink.
His newest effort, Kingsman, follows more the deranged, punk, fuck-the-establishment style ethos of the former, but with far sharper suits.
What we essentially have here is the Roger Moore era Bond movies if old Jimmy B came from the estates, indulged in frantic video game style violence and had a proclivity for anal.
The results, predictably, are fantastic.
Everyone here in front and behind the camera are obviously having tremendous fun (it’s frankly amazing Samuel L. Jackson can keep a straight face) but it’s Firth who’s having the most of a ball here.
Performance-wise, Firth can do posh underclass in his fucking sleep, so he’s well served here watching over new recruit from the estate Eggsy (a spot on Taron Egerton, the kid’s gonna go far) and offering fatherly advice. However, when the film clicks the safety off and Firth is required to kick shit, he explodes with aplomb, stoving in faces and busting noses in a pub fight that arguably overshadows anything in The World’s End.
Up to this point the film is good. Very good in fact.
But it’s a scene about halfway though involving a jaw-droppingly brutal riot in a church with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird instrumental bellowing over the top (that seems to go on forEVER! The scene, not the song. You can NEVER have enough Free Bird) that marks a distinct switch from great to fantastic which lasts all the way to the end of the film.
I’m gonna make a brazen claim here that by the time the dust settles on 2015’s cinematic year, Kingsman will probably be standing tall in my top ten.
Sequel please. Shaken AND stirred.