If you’ve managed to lift your head out of the awards season hoopla, you might have already heard the buzz brewing for “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” There have been a handful of advance screenings popping up, and reaction has been very positive from those who got to see it early. The excitement of general audiences and critics don’t always match up, but when it comes to the latest from director Matthew Vaughan and comic book creator Mark Millar, it looks like the duo have another edgy, hit concoction on their hands. The first reviews for ‘Kingsman’ have landed and they are positive across the board.
It’s a bit surprising given that Fox had pushed the movie out of its original fall release date into early 2015, and that the movie itself — a violent, tongue-in-cheek riff on the spy genre starring Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson — doesn’t exactly scream critic bait. But it seems Vaughan has pulled it off, creating a big piece of popcorn entertainment that works on all levels, even if some of the button-pushing sequences and alleged sexism are expected to create some controversy. “Kingsman: The Secret Service” opens on February 13th. Here’s what the critics had to say:
The Guardian: “They say the clothes make the man, and these are some killer duds….Despite the presence of grandfatherly Michael Caine, Kingsman’s tone is about as far from the Christopher Nolan-style superhero film as you can get. Verisimilitude is frequently traded in for a rich laugh. The action scenes delight with shock humour. It’s violent, but not gory, ready-made for word balloons reading ‘OOOF’ or ‘KRAKOOM.’ “
Empire: “Perhaps the riskiest mainstream movie in years, Vaughn’s love letter to spy movies may be uneven in places, but it’s ultra-violent, envelope-pushing, and fun enough to overcome the flaws. Bond with the stabilisers taken off.”
The Wrap: “The fifth and, yes, best film from director Matthew Vaughn (‘Layer Cake,’ ‘X-Men: First Class’), ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ is a startlingly enjoyable and well-made action film leavened by humor and slicked along by style, made by, for, and about people who’ve seen far too many Bond films.”
THR: “As he did in ‘X-Men: First Class,’ director Matthew Vaughn strikes an energetic balance between cartoonish action and character-driven drama, though the tinge here is darker, with a story that hinges on matters of climate change, the insidiousness of technology and the class divide. The mix grows less seamless and the story loses oomph as it barrels toward its doomsday countdown, but the cast’s dash and humor never flag. And if the movie sometimes panders shamelessly to fanboys, that could serve it well upon its February release, when it goes head-to-head against a fantasy of another persuasion: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’….Reviewed in nearly final form, the widescreen feature pops with sharp action, including a brief bit of parkour and a car chase in reverse.”
Variety: “For those who think James Bond has gotten a little too serious in his old age, ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ brings the irreverence back to the British spy genre, offering a younger, streetwise variation on the 007 formula while gleefully pushing audiences’ favorite elements — sartorial taste, killer toys and cracked-out supervillains — to hyperbolic extremes….Whether it’s ‘Alex Rider,’ ‘Agent Cody Banks’ or ‘Spy Kids,’ plenty have tried to adapt the 007 shtick to younger characters, with demonstrably dopey results. In the end, the reason it works for Vaughn is that he’s making the film for adults.”