I love movies. I really, really do. But being a homeschool mom, I rarely get to go to the theater to see movies. Let alone, grown up movies. So this week when all my kids were off at VBS, my hubby and I decided to do some catching up and Kingsman: The Secret Service was one of our choices.
Set in England, this movie is about a highly elite and completely secret group of people that are battling evil every day – but we don’t know about it. They wear beautifully tailored suits. They espouse gentlemanly (and gentlewomanly) values. And they have the best gadgets. Imagine a whole group of Pierce Brosnan James Bond types. Manners. Style. And they kick butt.
I absolutely loved this movie right up until the moment that I absolutely hated it. I mean that truly and deeply.
When the film started, I was giddy. I adore Jack Davenport. He’s truly one of my favorite actors and seeing him on the big screen brought a little fangirly gasp of delight from me. I couldn’t stop myself. And watching him kick the behind of every person in a room without wrinkling his suit or straightening his tie? Pure entertainment. I was already picturing the movie sitting primly on my shelf at home.
And then…there’s more! Colin Firth! He’s another favorite. Painstakingly British and absolutely perfect in yet another gorgeous suit (are you seeing a pattern here? It’s the movie – not me! I promise.) He quickly demonstrates his knowledge and skills by dispatching a batch of unruly young people without breaking a sweat. From this point on, my delight in the movie was cemented. I knew I would be bringing it home.
And then there came this…part. This one scene. And this scene was so masterful in its filming and inclusion in the story, that it managed to completely destroy my enjoyment of every other scene that followed. Yes, you read that right. The movie I had so absolutely adored took a serious turn. The funny, witty, clever film I’d been watching suddenly morphed into one of Quentin Tarantino’s fourteen year old fantasies. That takes serious talent, let me tell you.
SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE FOLLOW.
You see, in the story this mad man has a plan to take over the world. No biggie. But he’s going to use some technology that everyone in the world has in order to do it. In his ‘test’ of this technology, he managed to turn Colin Firth into a killing machine with no conscience whatsoever. This is the point in the film where we see the man we’ve come to love, respect and adore, murder nearly a hundred people with a machine like lack of care. Crosses through the head. Decapitation. Stabbing. Crushing skulls. You name it and we see it. Pretty graphically. And it goes on and on and on until we have watched all of these people die. At the hands of our hero. Not just some Avengers like Loki-tirade where you know a hundred people have died because they’re lying on the streets. No. We watch every second of it. And in many cases, the camera comes in disturbingly close. it was so gratuitous and so over the top that it felt like they were just playing with special effects to see how violently they could kill off a human being. My stomach began to churn at this point, but I hung on – hoping that it might be only one scene and that they’d go back to the fun, adventurous storytelling. Unfortunately, there was no coming back from this.
From this point on, the movie that had such potential became a complete raging disappointment. It just couldn’t decide what it wanted to be. Action/adventure? Comedy? Horror? It meandered through the rest of the story a little like a fly at a picnic. It would land on something for a bit and then spin off to something new and it never really came back to anything solid. At one point – during what was supposed to be the highly climactic “will they or won’t they save the world” moment, I leaned toward my husband and said that I had no idea what was happening. I found out later that he wasn’t as lost as I was, but he wished he was.
Now I’m just angry at the film. It wasn’t just a bad movie. It was an utterly brilliant movie that was torpedoed into a bad movie. It felt a little bit like a beautiful woman at a pageant who takes the stage and you’re a little in awe of her beauty and you know you want her to win. But then she breaks a heel, falls, splatters across the stage and gets taken out on a stretcher and you’re just left thinking of what might have been. Kingsman had so much potential. It could have been so brilliant. With a few changes and a couple of editing turns, it could have been a movie that would have rivaled The Avengers for fun and fighting evil. I pictured this as a series that would have gone far and lasted long. Unfortunately for all of us, the film forgot not only its own message, but its manners.