Kingsman: The Secret Service, adapted from the comic series by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons and directed by Matthew Vaughn, is a testament to how spectacularly a movie can perform when it pushes the boundaries of its genre using parody and satire as its tools.
Kingsman follows the story of “Eggsy” Unwin (played by Taron Egerton), the son of a fallen comrade of the Secret Service, who is selected by Harry Hart, code named Galahad, a long time agent of the Kingsman (played by Colin Firth) to train and compete for the position of a Kingsman. This takes place at the same time that the audience is introduced to the villain of the movie, the billionaire Valentine (played by Samuel L. Jackson with a lisp) who tries to solve the problems of the world with money, using any means necessary to achieve his goals.
While Firth embodies the classic motif of a spy, it’s the contrast and introduction of Eggsy Unwin as a poor, out of luck, working-class character that really allows the movie to hit its peak. The parody and satire of the movie, mostly employed through Eggsy’s character, is clever and witty and for fans of the spy movie genre it allows the audience to really appreciate the way in which it subverts and satirises the tropes found in conventional spy movies. The audience is no longer introduced to long winded scenes of maliciously evil villains and heroically pristine agents saving the day. Instead the villains sickened by the sight of violence and the heroes not afraid to use foul language and make decisions based on fairly lewd morals when it comes to other characters in the film.
Kingsman is a movie that portrays a few real life problems and brings them to the fore, specifically working class issues and problems revolving around people brought up in the lower rungs of society but the movie is really about reworking the known and flipping the tropes of a genre on its head. While the movie does contain some graphic elements and Valentine can be a little irritating with his lisp at times, overall it is a brilliant example of a spy parody, showing that sometimes all that is needed to make a good movie great is to go against the norm.