TL;DR– A really great action film, with a good story and great action set pieces, let down a bit by a ‘joke’ right at the end that fails.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
This is a really interesting film, but one should say straight off the bat, it is nothing like what the trailers portrayed it as. This isn’t some kind of young Bond film that you can take the family to, it is extremely violent and contains a lot of course language etc.
However, I must say I did kind of like it, mainly because every actor gave wonderful performances. Samuel L Jackson could not be further from his Nick Fury (or any recent) role with his performance of Richmond Valentine, yet he owns every scene he is in and his henchmen Gazelle (Sofia Boutella) kicks ass, in fact, I would go as far to say she is the best female villain I have seen in a very long time. As well as this relative newcomer Taron Egerton really holds his own in the title role of Eggsy and you really do tend to empathise with him given the situation he has ended up in. Also, move over Liam Neilson because Colin Firth has taken your crown as king of the older gentlemen action star. Also Mark Strong (Merlin) and Micheal Caine (Arthur) round out a really strong lineup.
In the end, I didn’t have a problem with most of the violence, language etc. as I felt that most of the time it fit the context of the scene but I could see very easily how someone could as there are some very confronting scenes in this film. I did like the exploration of the notions of what it means to be a ‘gentlemen’ in this age. Also while I don’t think it worked as well as it had hoped the interplay with the class differences in the modern UK was quite on the money at times (I mean you still don;t have an elected Upper House … I am also looking at you Canada). And I would be lying if I didn’t find some of the truly subversive swipes at the political elites of the planet very funny.
That being said it is not a movie without its flaws, the character of Roxy (Sophie Cookson) just feels like it is there because they needed it and not because it worked. Some of the plot points felt a bit contrived, ‘oh look they are all given dogs, hmmm I wonder what is going to happen there?’ Also, there is a “gag” right at the end of the film that really does not fit and simply feels like it was in to bump up the rating and since it is right at the end, you end up leaving the cinema with an annoyed feeling. In the end, I really enjoyed the film but I can clearly see how other wouldn’t especially if you live outside the UK
Directed By – Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay – Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn
Starring – Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine, Sophie Cookson & Sofia Boutella
Rating – Australia: MA15+; Canada: 14A; Ireland: 16; NZ: R16; UK: 15; USA: R