If manners maketh man – as Colin Firth’s Harry Hart so eloquently puts it, then genius maketh director; and Kingsman is in no short supply of it. Matthew Vaughn is making quite the name for himself amongst the comic book community. He first strutted into Geekdom with 2010’s Kick-Ass and gave us one of the most faithfully adapted, ingeniously directed comic book films to ever grace the cinematic landscape; not to mention one of the most beloved heroines of all time: Hit-Girl. Then, like Dumbledore wielding the Elder Wand – or Jesus raising the dead – he gives us X-Men: First Class – a film which not only brought back our merry mutants from eternal purgatory, but one that goes toe-to-toe with Bryan Singer’s masterpiece, X2.
Now, with the same writing partner who helped him craft the screenplay for Kick-Ass (Jane Goldman), Vaughn gives us another brilliantly adapted film to add to his comic book repertoire. Kingsman pulls from all of the great bond films: over-the-top villain, debonair gentleman-hero, an arsenal of cool, cleverly designed weapons, witty dialogue, and action to keep your attention for the entirety of the ride. Of course it helped that all of this originated from the minds of the book’s creators: writer Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and artist Dave Gibbons (Watchmen) – two of the comics industry’s biggest names. But just like he did with Kick-Ass, Vaughn took what was great about the book and inserted his own flavor, giving us something new, yet wholly familiar. Additionally, it appears Vaughn has taken a page out of the Bryan-Singer-X-Men instruction manual; because similar to the geekgasm-inducing Hit-Girl scene at the end of Kick-Ass, Vaughn has crafted one of the coolest (and most violent) fight sequences my tiny little eyeballs have ever had the pleasure of viewing. Trust me when I say, after seeing him in action, you’ll agree that Colin Firth could definitely give Daniel Craig a run for his money.
Cast opposite Colin Firth, Sam Jackson is great – as he always is – in the role of our story’s megalomaniacal villain, but the breakout star of the film is Taron Egerton as the apprentice to Firth’s master. Egerton nailed it as the underdog you’re fully invested in rooting for throughout the film. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing this thespian grow in his craft.
If there is one film you see this Presidents’ Day weekend, it undeniably should be Kingsman. But as I understand it, Christian Grey packs a comparable amount of heat in his own *ahem* “arsenal.”