Taron Egerton ... Gary 'Eggsy' Unwin
Colin Firth ... Harry Hart / Galahad
Samuel L. Jackson ... Valentine
Mark Strong ... Merlin
Sophie Cookson ... Roxy
Sofia Boutella ... Gazelle
When a Kingsman is killed, there is a vacancy in the organisation. Each member is allowed to put forward one candidate. Harry Hart, code name Galahad, puts forward Eggsy, a mouthy, intelligent young man from a London council estate who is also the son of the man who once saved Harry's life.
I'm not going to beat around the bush, this is an absolutely awesome film. I loved it from beginning to end. I already pre-ordered it and there isn't even a release date yet.
Word of warning, it definitely, one hundred percent earns it's 15 rating, for language and violence and mentions of sex, although there are no actual sex scenes that are more than a tease. This is not a trying to be a 12A and didn't quite make it film, this is an almost made it to 18 rating film. People die in various and bloody ways, a lot.
That being said, my parents enjoyed it and my mother doesn't usually hold with films that throw around the F word. Clearly Colin Firth has a get out of jail free card in anything he's in :). I blame Pride and Prejudice.
So what did I love about this film?
It's funny in places, without being silly. Real, laugh out loud funny.
It's clever. The plot has been well thought out. Yes the tech is impossible, but it's a spy film, they make it sound real even though the underlying science isn't there. I'm pretty sure you can't poison someone and then activate the poison by remote control, but who cares, no one ever told Bond he couldn't use his gadgets.
The characters are awesome.
Let's start with the good guys.
Eggsy is belligerent without being an annoying idiot. He learns, he tries, he even fails in places and he is brilliant. Taron Egerton is fantastic. He goes from baseball capped chav to suited gentleman without losing any of his charm. As Harry Hart says 'If you're prepared to adapt, you can transform.' and that doesn't mean that toffs are simply better, it means there are better ways of going about things than stealing cars and doing drugs. Eggsy becomes more without losing who he essentially is and when confronted about his life choices he takes Harry down a peg or two.
Talking of Harry, Colin Firth is magnificent. He kicks butt so beautifully, with grace, poise and panache. He is a super spy and yet he is vulnerable and human as well. I loved every moment he was on screen.
Then we have Merlin, played by Mark Strong. I'm used to seeing Mark in the lead action role and Merlin is the techie, but, boy is he awesome. He might be the man behind the computers, but he's also kick arse.
There are many more, but finally I shall talk about Roxy. She is the girl among the men, the only female candidate for the open Kingsman position with a chance. She's strong, clever and yet still human. She had very real fears she has to overcome to challenge for her place and it takes support from other characters to help her do it, just like real life most of the time, and she does it. Of course she's the only one who doesn't take the piss out of Eggsy because he didn't go to Oxford or Cambridge, but then she's the only other candidate anyone is supposed to root for. I think she could have done with more action sequences, but I suppose you can only have so many in one film and Sophie Cookson did a great job with what she was given. She has an important role in the plot and she fulfils it well.
Now, on to the bad guys.
Samuel L. Jackson is simply brilliant, as always. His lisp is genius because it gives him something different from when he is Fury and he makes an excellent bad guy. The fact that the film differentiates between killing people from afar and killing people personally using him, is perfect. I won't mention how, because of spoilers, but I love Valentine as a bad guy. It shows you can be batshit insane and still be squeamish.
Then we have Gazelle. A disabled character who has turned her disability into her weapon, and wow can she kick arse. She is ruthless and lethal and the perfect foil for Valentine. She is completely loyal to him and yet still perfectly aware of his weaknesses. She's also practical. I'm not sure I've ever seen a bad guy ask "Are you sure we're out of range?" when testing a weapon in quite the same way. Sofia Boutella does a superb job of being an intelligent, efficient and very, very dangerous hench-person.
I also really enjoyed the tone of this film. It is serious and yet, in places, does not take itself seriously. Going in I did not realise it was directed by Matthew Vaugh (Kick-Ass, X-Men FC) if I had it would not have taken me so by surprise. From the way the film has been advertised, I wasn't expecting it to be quite so hard hitting. It was better than I expected. I expected to enjoy it, but not as much as I did. I wanted to see it again as soon as I walked out. I also have fanfic feelings, which is an incredibly good sign.
As Harry would say:
Manners maketh man.
This is a polite film that drops the f-bomb all over the place and kills lots of people. I love it.