Saturday, 24 January 2015

Kingsman: Go and see this movie right now

Well, one caveat before we crack on. There is a scene set in your stereotypical hate-group church, and out of absolutely fucking nowhere a homophobic slur and a racist slur are used one after the other. Obviously that's to set up the fact that these are truly irredeemably hateful people, and they really deserve the righteous destruction laid down upon them by Galahad.

Yes, the Kingsmen's codenames are the names of Arthur's knights. Yes, the fact that Percival is the one who completes the quest gives me a tiny pang of history nerd joy. And yes, the fact that the code name is passed on to the next holder of the position is a very clever nod to a fan-theory about James Bond.

All of these clever winks and nudges are small fry, however, to the balls-out action-packed quick-camera witty-dialogue trope-filled taking-the-piss-out-of-itself remainder of the film. There are a few examples I'd like to bring to the fore, and one of those is sponsorship.

Films need a lot of money, and some of that money comes from sponsorship. This comes in three flavours: subtle, obvious but we're not talking about it, and Kingsman.

Subtle examples can be found in Mad Men; the whisky they drink, the cigarettes they smoke, the cars they drive. Obvious but we're not talking about it, well...

Transformers: absolutely not sponsored by Bud Light but shit, Bud Light is accidentally in this movie a lot.

Then you can do it the Kingsman way, which is getting motherfucking Colin Firth, holder of an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, two BAFTAs, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire to say "Happy Meal" on screen.

There are no fucks to be given with this film and product placement. Guinness want to sponsor it? Great, let's have Colin Firth beat the spit out of five guys after they refuse to let him - and this is a direct quote from the film - "finish my lovely pint of Guinness."


This is James Bond for the 21st century, but also for people who are turned off by the newer, darker Bond. This takes the campiness of Moonraker, dials it up to the point where the dial falls off and then keeps going. This is not any cheese, my friends, this is M&S, matured in the mind of a man who grew up on Roger Moore's Bond and delivered fresh to your eyeballs. From the cheesy villain to the 100% 80s Bond ending, this is a film for 25 year old men and women who grew up on their dad's 007 collection.

Men and women, mind. There is a whole lot of man candy to be viewed, and we get not one but two "strong" female characters. One: double-amputee assassin (not actually played by a double-amputee, which is deeply disconcerting because can there really be so few disabled actors?); and two: the secondary protagonist who has a deeply unsatisfying story arc involving being afraid of heights and then having to something at a high altitude. 

There's also a scene in which a whole host of people's heads explode in stylised, colourised mushroom clouds to the tune of Beethoven's Fifth. So that's something to keep an eye out for.

This film is, in the end, a riotous, ridiculous romp. The camera work is incredible. The music is perfect. At one point Colin Firth sets a person's face on fire with a lighter/flamethrower.

It's absurd, amazing fun.

Just could have done without those two words.