Kingsman: The Secret Service Parent Review
The plot will undoubtedly appeal to adolescent audiences. But sadly, this package of gory violence, crass sex and blatant discrimination will be accessible to any teen accompanied by someone over 17.
It’s stylish to the max (so much so that you can buy the classy menswear created for the movie), darkly funny and I’m certain Colin Firth had a magnificent time playing a secret agent spy with more deadly moves than any Bond I can recall. Yet, I can’t help but wonder how it managed to come to the despicable end that forms its conclusion.
Firth’s character, Harry Hart, is a secret agent working for an organization that’s so secret even other secret agents don’t know about it. The Kingsman, as they are called, have the best of intentions. They form a private spy network that operates below the radar and above the law. What that really amounts to is these are a bunch of rich guys who do as they please, bringing order to the world as they see fit.
Fortunately the bad guy in this outing leaves no room to doubt his evil intentions and fits the script’s comic book roots perfectly. Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) is a smooth talker who has amassed incredible wealth and is now prepared to offer every earthling a free SIM card for their cell phone. Of course it’s all part of a diabolical plan whereby he will be able to unleash a global holocaust at his command.
Hart, meanwhile, is still grieving over a fellow agent whose life was lost some years earlier while serving under his command. To make amends, Hart becomes a mentor to his buddy’s young adult son Eggsy (Taron Egerton), The youth has embraced a nonproductive lifestyle that includes pub fights and stealing cars, but his fearless ambition convince Hart that the kid may be a candidate for the prestigious Kingsman Secret Service.
This film’s primary purpose is to spoof and mock the spy genre, but at times it crosses the line and jumps at finding its own niche in the cinematic world of secret agents. Or it totally flips out and becomes a harsh satire—specifically in a scene where a character mass murders every single redneck parishioner attending an evangelical church. The scenario shows the congregation shouting approval for the pastor’s denigrating of Jews, homosexuals and African-Americans (which includes derogatory terms). Suddenly the entire group falls under Valentine’s evil spell and a brutal butchering is unleashed, leaving just one person standing. I guess the movie’s creators felt that we, the audience, would cheer on the gore that ensues while destroying the bigots.
As the plods on, the body count and violence increases exponentially. A character with blades for feet slices and dices adversaries, leaving limbs and body parts littering the floor. Another sequence has literally hundreds of heads exploding - a visualization that must have been considered too gruesome to depict, so stylized fireworks and mushroom clouds appear in place of blasted brains.
The movie also includes over sixty sexual expletives and a hearty helping of other profanities throughout. Then there’s the end—a shot of a woman’s naked buttocks—that forms part of a sexist interchange between a male and female character. (I’m sure that will leave an indelible impression upon the dozen or so 13-year-old boys surrounding me in at the theater screening I attended. They came as the guests of their hockey coaches for a “fun” night out.)
Kingsman: The Secret Service features a young protagonist who makes his way from a rough life in the ‘hood to the ranks of an elite group—a plot that will undoubtedly appeal to adolescent audiences. And, sadly, even with an US rating of R, this package of gory violence, crass sex and blatant discrimination will be accessible to any child or teen accompanied by an adult (which by the MPAA’s definition is any one older than 17).Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Starring Mark Hamill, Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Firth, Mark Strong. Running time: 129 minutes. Theatrical release February 13, 2015. Updated May 18, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Kingsman: The Secret Service here.
Kingsman: The Secret Service Parents Guide
From the Studio: Based upon the acclaimed comic book and directed by Matthew Vaughn [Kick-Ass (2010), X-Men: First Class (2011], Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. © Written by 20th Century Fox
How is clothing used as a symbol in this movie? What clothes do the “good guys” wear versus the “bad guys”? Does clothing “make the man”? How can clothes be used to create a class system? How might the way a person dresses influence you to treat him or her?