kingsman 2

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Cast: Colin Firth, Michael Caine, Taron Egerton

Certificate: 12A

Running Time: 129 minutes

Synopsis: A veteran secret agent takes a young upstart under his wing.

Mark Miller and Matthew Vaughn (the team who brought audiences the blood-stained joy of KICK-ASS) are back with KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE, a new take on the spy film that is riotous fun and full of surprises.

When a spot opens up, each of the Kingsman spies are asked to nominate a potential candidate to take on that position. While most nominate someone of a higher class, wealth and position in society, one nominates the son of a former colleague – after getting him out of jail that is. Eggsy is persuaded to try out but the fish-out-of-water dynamic certainly presents a few challenges and as his relationship with his mentor grows, his hidden potential starts to reveal itself.

First off, there is an incredible ensemble cast to consider. It was a huge risk to take on so many newcomers for this film but there is not a single cast member here who lets the side down, despite the majority of them being first-timers in the world of film on this project. Sophie Cookson and Sofia Boutella especially are very impressive and more than hold their own. It is Taron Egerton, however, who steals the show as the rebellious but good-hearted Eggsy. Having just seen him in TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, where he played an entirely different character to this one – reserved, stoic and polite – it’s exciting to see what Egerton will do next. He is quickly proving himself as a very talented young actor.

Of course, it’s not all about the newcomers. KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE also boasts an impressive older cast that includes Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong and Colin Firth. Luke Skywalker himself, Mr Mark Hamill, also puts in an appearance. Despite the calibre of these older cast members, there is no really notable divide. The entire ensemble work seamlessly together and the result is very impressive and clearly plays to everyone’s strengths.

This film itself provides so many revelations that it’s hard to pick a favourite: Samuel L. Jackson somehow making a lisping villain (who can’t stand violence) both hilarious and menacing; Mark Strong’s fantastic Scottish accent; and Colin Firth’s ability to kick some serious arse whilst retaining his Mr Darcy-esque gentlemanly manner. Just when you thought Firth had shown off all his talents, the man lets us know he’s got a few more tricks up his sleeve.

The use of music in this film is so superbly on point, it serves to heighten both the tension and the laughs. It really enhances what is happening on screen and turns a very good film into something even more exciting and adrenaline-fuelled.

It should be noted that amidst all the mayhem, there are some serious issues raised – from global warming to homophobia and racism – but really it’s up to you if you want to pay attention to them. Nothing is forced. You can take whatever you choose away from this bloody spectacle.

KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE is Tarantino high on laughing gas. If you’re not particularly squeamish and don’t mind a few 4-letter words (on repeat) this film might just turn out to be the most fun you can have at the cinema this year. Some might call it a guilty pleasure but, personally, I see nothing to feel guilty about.

Just don’t forget your umbrella!

[usr=5] KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE arrives in cinemas on 29th January in the UK and 13th February in the US.