Kingsman: The Secret Service
|Kingsman: The Secret Service|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Matthew Vaughn|
|Based on||The Secret Service
by Mark Millar
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$327.6 million|
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a spy action comedy film, directed by Matthew Vaughn, and based on the comic book The Secret Service, created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar. The screenplay was written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman. The film stars Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton and Michael Caine. The film premiered at Butt-Numb-A-Thon on 13 December 2014, and was theatrically released in the United Kingdom on 29 January 2015. The film received positive reviews, and has grossed over $327 million worldwide.
Kingsman: The Secret Service follows the recruitment and training of a potential secret agent, Gary "Eggsy" Unwin, into a secret spy organisation. Eggsy joins a mission to tackle a global threat from Richmond Valentine, a wealthy eco-terrorist.
During a raid in the Middle East in 1997, a probationary secret agent sacrifices himself to save his team. Feeling guilt over the loss of his comrade, Harry Hart, code-named "Galahad," personally delivers a bravery medal to the agent's widow, Michelle Unwin, and his young son, Gary "Eggsy", saying that if they ever need help, they should call the phone number on the back of the medal and deliver a coded message.
Seventeen years later, Professor James Arnold is kidnapped by unknown assailants, led by Internet billionaire Richmond Valentine and his henchwoman Gazelle. One of Hart's compatriots, "Lancelot," attempts to stage a rescue, but fails. Valentine, known for his philanthropy, continues to meet with various heads of state and VIPs; some of whom go missing afterwards. He also announces a giveaway of SIM cards, granting free cellular and Internet access.
In London, Eggsy is now an unemployed young adult living with his mother, infant half-sister, and abusive stepfather Dean. Despite being intelligent and capable, he left training for the Royal Marines and lives an aimless life. After being arrested for stealing a car and taking it for a joyride, Eggsy calls the number on the back of the medal. Hart arranges for his release and tells Eggsy about the existence of Kingsman, a secret intelligence agency for which both he and Eggsy's late father worked. In the wake of Lancelot's death, the agency opens a vacancy for a new agent, and Eggsy agrees to apply. He joins a group of other candidates, including a woman named Roxy. Training is overseen by "Merlin," a senior Kingsman. The candidates are eliminated one by one until Eggsy and Roxy emerge as the final two. However, Eggsy fails his final test, and Roxy becomes the new Lancelot.
During this time, Kingsman have been investigating Valentine in connection with the VIP disappearances and notes that Arnold is no longer missing. Hart tracks down Arnold and confronts him about his abduction. A chip implanted in Arnold's head explodes, killing him; Hart is injured during his escape from unknown assailants. Undeterred, Hart poses as a billionaire and dines with Valentine to try to discern his plans.
Hart tracks Valentine to an obscure hate group church in Kentucky, where Valentine and Gazelle are conducting a test. They broadcast a signal to his SIM cards, causing everyone in the church, including Hart, to become uncontrollably violent. A mass brawl breaks out, with Hart the sole survivor, while Eggsy, Merlin and Arthur—the Kingsman's leader—watch via video link. Valentine approaches him, and they discuss his plan: to broadcast the signal worldwide, using his satellite network to cause a massive culling of the human race. Only a select few that Valentine has deemed worthy of living—those who have sided with him and thus received the protective microchips in their head, and the VIPs he kidnapped—will be spared. Having revealed his plan, Valentine kills Hart.
Eggsy returns to the Kingsman headquarters, where he discovers that Arthur is one of Valentine’s converts. Arthur explains Valentine's views: humanity is akin to a virus, global warming is the Earth's equivalent of a fever, and Valentine intends to do something about the problem before the virus kills the host. After avoiding Arthur’s attempt to kill him—killing the group leader as he does so—Eggsy teams up with Roxy and Merlin. Roxy pilots a high-altitude balloon vehicle into the stratosphere to disrupt Valentine's satellite network with a missile, while Eggsy and Merlin directly assault Valentine’s mountain bunker. Roxy knocks out the satellite and Eggsy fights his way through Valentine’s security forces, while Merlin detonates the security chips, killing all who were part of Valentine's plan. Eggsy then fights and defeats Gazelle before killing Valentine and saving the world. In a mid-credits scene, Eggsy, now a full Kingsman, reaches out to his mother, offering her a nicer house and a chance to get away from Dean.
- Colin Firth as Harry Hart/Galahad, a veteran Kingsman agent
- Taron Egerton as Gary "Eggsy" Unwin, a delinquent young adult who undergoes training under Hart's wing
- Alex Nikolov as young Eggsy
- Samuel L. Jackson as Richmond Valentine, a billionaire philanthropist who speaks with a lisp and has a weak stomach for blood and violence
- Mark Strong as Merlin, a senior Kingsman agent and trainer
- Michael Caine as Chester King/Arthur, the leader of the Kingsman organisation
- Sophie Cookson as Roxy, a trainee who befriends Eggsy and later becomes the new Lancelot
- Sofia Boutella as Gazelle, Valentine's amputee henchwoman with bladed prosthetic legs
- Mark Hamill as Professor James Arnold, an academic from Imperial College London, and an expert in climate change
- Jack Davenport as Lancelot, a Kingsman who is killed while trying to rescue Professor Arnold
- Samantha Womack as Michelle Unwin, Eggsy's mother
- Geoff Bell as Dean, Eggsy's stepfather and Michelle's second husband
- Edward Holcroft as Charlie, Eggsy and Roxy's primary rival during the training program.
- Hanna Alström as Princess Tilde, the Swedish Crown princess
- Jonno Davies as Lee Unwin, Eggsy's father and Michelle's first husband; a former Kingsman who risked his life for his fellow agents
- Nicholas Banks, Jack Cutmore-Scott, Nicholas Agnew, Rowan Polonski, Tom Prior, and Fiona Hampton as Digby, Rufus, Nathaniel, Piers, Hugo, and Amelia, the other six Kingsman potentials
The film was announced in late October 2012, after Vaughn dropped out of directing X-Men: Days of Future Past to adapt the Mark Millar comic book The Secret Service. In March 2013 20th Century Fox confirmed the film and set 14 November 2014 as the release date for the film worldwide, with production to begin in the following August. Colin Firth joined the cast to lead the film on 29 April 2013. In June 2013 it was reported that Leonardo DiCaprio was in talks to play a villain. In September 2013, Vaughn cast Sophie Cookson for the female lead, preferring a newcomer over more obvious candidates like Emma Watson and Bella Heathcote. Mark Hamill was cast in a cameo role as Professor James Arnold, a reference to his character in the source comic book being named "Mark Hamill".
The Alexandra Road Estate in Camden was used for Eggsy's home area, and some scenes were filmed at Imperial College London. The Black Prince Pub in Kennington, South London was used for various fight scenes and the car chase.
In May 2014, it was reported that Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson would be composing the music for the film, while in July it was announced that Gary Barlow would be writing the music for the film; a song from Take That's seventh studio album III, "Get Ready for It", played during the end credits.
|Kingsman: The Secret Service (Original Motion Picture Score)|
|Soundtrack album by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson|
|Released||February 13, 2015|
|Henry Jackman chronology|
All music composed by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson.
|1.||"Manners Maketh Man"||1:38|
|4.||"To Become a Kingsman"||4:19|
|5.||"Pick a Puppy"||2:13|
|6.||"Drinks with Valentine"||2:40|
|8.||"Shame We Had to Grow Up"||1:56|
|10.||"Curious Scars and Implants"||3:09|
|11.||"Toast to a Kingsman"||1:56|
|12.||"An 1815 Napoleonic Brandy"||4:23|
|13.||"Eat, Drink, and Paaaaarty"||1:54|
|15.||"Out of Options*"||1:48|
|16.||"Hand on the Machine"||2:22|
|18.||"Original Valentine Ideas (Demo Suite)*"||6:25|
- Album exclusive tracks
Songs not included in the soundtrack, but featured in the film and trailers include the following:
- Dire Straits – "Money for Nothing"
- Dizzee Rascal – "Bonkers"
- KC & The Sunshine Band – "Give It Up"
- Lynyrd Skynyrd – "Free Bird"
- Iggy Azalea (featuring Ellie Goulding) – "Heavy Crown"
- Rudimental (feat. John Newman) – "Feel the Love"
- Bryan Ferry – "Slave to Love"
- Take That – "Get Ready for It"
- Edward Elgar – "Pomp & Circumstance"
- Rob Zombie - "Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga"
- The Knack - "My Sharona"
- David Bowie - "Suffragette City"
Release and reception
The film's premiere was held in London, with director Vaughn and stars Firth, Egerton, and Strong attending, and Take That performing the film's theme live. A regional premiere was held in Glasgow at exactly the same time as the London event, and live footage was streamed from the premiere to Glasgow. Mark Millar also hosted a charity screening of the film ahead of its release in Glasgow to raise money for his old school, St. Bartholomews.
The film opened in the United Kingdom on 29 January 2015. In the United States 20th Century Fox planned to release the film on 14 November 2014, but later delayed it to 6 March 2015. It was later moved up to 24 October 2014, before being delayed again to 13 February 2015.
The film was released in most of Latin America with the action scene set in the church removed. The scene, considered vital by the director and film critics, was excised almost completely, leaving only the set-up and immediate consequences.
The trade paperback collecting the comics miniseries was released on 14 January 2015. Vaughn teamed up with luxury retailer Mr Porter to create a 60-piece clothing line based on the film and changed the film's name from The Secret Service to Kingsman: The Secret Service. Mr Porter worked with the film's costume designer, Arianne Phillips, to design the bespoke suiting, while everything from the ties and shirts to eyewear, umbrellas, shoes and watches were designed by heritage brands such as Cutler and Gross, George Cleverley, Mackintosh and Bremont. The collaboration is the first of its kind, making Kingsman: The Secret Service the first film from which customers can buy all of the outfits they see.
The film went on general release in the United Kingdom on 30 January 2015. Its debut gross over the three day weekend period was $6,393,651, and the film took the number one box office ranking. For the weekend of 6 February the film debuted in additional markets, including Australia, where it took $3.21 million, and New Zealand, where it grossed $511,120. For the third weekend the film expanded to cinemas of 38 markets in other territories (Deadline reported 39 markets) and earning an estimated $23.1 million. It debuted in South Korea ($5.37 million) and Russia ($3.6 million), both of which were above X-Men: First Class.
For the United States opening weekend of 13 February, the film was predicted to debut with $28 million. The film opened in 3,204 cinemas behind Fifty Shades of Grey, grossing $10,428,861 on its opening day, $15,404,860 on its second day, and $10,372,610 on its third day, for a weekend gross of $36,206,331 with an $11,300 per-cinema average. For the four day Presidents Day weekend it grossed $41,761,527.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes sampled 178 critics and judged 74% of the reviews positive, with an average rating of 6.7/10, calling the film "stylish, subversive, and above all fun". On Metacritic, the film has a critics' score of 59 out of 100, based on reviews from 38 critics, indicating mixed reviews.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said of the film, "This slam-bang action movie about British secret agents is deliriously shaken, not stirred...Even when it stops making sense, Kingsman is unstoppable fun." Anthony Lane of The New Yorker stated, "Few recent movies have fetched quite as far as “Kingsman,” and countless viewers will relish the brazen zest of its invention." However, Lane was critical of the film's use of stereotypes. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times enjoyed the film, but criticised Vaughn's use of violence as a cinematic tool, calling it "narrative overkill".
Jason Ward of The Guardian wrote that "[e]verything about Kingsman exists to disguise the fact that it is solidly conservative". His examples include "[t]he depiction of Valentine's plan as a throwback to a less serious era of spy movies [which] is revealed as a feint, with the ulterior motive of undermining environmentalists". Jordan Hoffman, writing for the same paper, said of the film, "The spirit of 007 is all over this movie, but Vaughn's script ... has a licence to poke fun. ... no one involved in the production can believe they're getting away with making such a batshit Bond." Comparing the film to those of Christopher Nolan, Hoffman said, "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."
Peter Sobczynski of rogerebert.com, who gave the film two out of four stars, likened Vaughn's script to the spy film equivalent of Scream, also criticised the overuse of graphic violence, despite its cartoonish rendering. Vaughn has faced some criticism for an anal sex gag at the end of the film that was a reference to the James Bond films.
Millar and Vaughn have stated that a sequel was possible if the film performs well at the box office, and Vaughn has expressed interest in directing the sequel. Vaughn also noted that he hopes to have Firth back in the sequel, while Strong is interested in returning as well.
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- 2015 Jameson Empire Awards - Mark Strong
- Official website
- Kingsman: The Secret Service at the Internet Movie Database
- Kingsman: The Secret Service at the TCM Movie Database
- Kingsman: The Secret Service at Box Office Mojo
- Kingsman: The Secret Service at Rotten Tomatoes
- Kingsman: The Secret Service at Metacritic