As a violent, tongue-in-cheek pastiche of the spy genre, many had questioned whether Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service would carve out an audience of its own. And given that Fox delayed the action-comedy by some four months, expectations for Vaughn’s first outing behind the camera since X-Men: First Class had begun to wane somewhat.
But if the early reviews for The Secret Service are any indication, the director has got a sure-fire hit on his hands with the Colin Firth-led flick, with the general consensus being that the film serves up a thrilling, slick and ultimately entertaining experience.
The Guardian: “They say the clothes make the man, and these are some killer duds….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. The action scenes delight with shock humour. It’s violent, but not gory, ready-made for word balloons reading ‘OOOF’ or ‘KRAKOOM.’ ”
Empire: “Perhaps the riskiest mainstream movie in years, Vaughn’s love letter to spy movies may be uneven in places, but it’s ultra-violent, envelope-pushing, and fun enough to overcome the flaws. Bond with the stabilisers taken off.”
The Wrap: “The fifth and, yes, best film from director Matthew Vaughn (‘Layer Cake,’ ‘X-Men: First Class’), ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ is a startlingly enjoyable and well-made action film leavened by humor and slicked along by style, made by, for, and about people who’ve seen far too many Bond films.”
THR: “As he did in ‘X-Men: First Class,’ director Matthew Vaughn strikes an energetic balance between cartoonish action and character-driven drama, though the tinge here is darker, with a story that hinges on matters of climate change, the insidiousness of technology and the class divide. The mix grows less seamless and the story loses oomph as it barrels toward its doomsday countdown, but the cast’s dash and humor never flag. And if the movie sometimes panders shamelessly to fanboys, that could serve it well upon its February release, when it goes head-to-head against a fantasy of another persuasion: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’….Reviewed in nearly final form, the widescreen feature pops with sharp action, including a brief bit of parkour and a car chase in reverse.”
Variety: “For those who think James Bond has gotten a little too serious in his old age, ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ brings the irreverence back to the British spy genre, offering a younger, streetwise variation on the 007 formula while gleefully pushing audiences’ favorite elements — sartorial taste, killer toys and cracked-out supervillains — to hyperbolic extremes….Whether it’s ‘Alex Rider,’ ‘Agent Cody Banks’ or ‘Spy Kids,’ plenty have tried to adapt the 007 shtick to younger characters, with demonstrably dopey results. In the end, the reason it works for Vaughn is that he’s making the film for adults.”
That aforementioned delay means that Kingsman: The Secret Service will go toe-to-toe with Fifty Shades of Grey for box office supremacy when it opens in theaters on February 14, 2015.