by MATTHEW BAHK & ERIC GUZMAN
Hearkening back to the days of Sean Connery and Roger Moore, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” returns spy films to the campy, light-hearted tone of early James Bond films but with the clear message that “this is not that kind of movie.”
Ever since the late ’80s, spy films have become more dramatic and somber. From the latest installment in the James Bond franchise, “Skyfall,” to “The November Man,” spy films have become more serious in tone in an attempt to be more realistic and engaging.
In addition, spy films are also more violent, with emphasis on carnage and gore. According to the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, the 2008 Bond film “Quantum of Solace” featured more than twice as many violent scenes as early Bond films. Furthermore, the study found characters in recent Bond films to be three times as likely to engage in serious violence, such as punching, kicking or using a weapon.
“Kingsman” separates itself from this trend by adopting a much more humorous tone. With frequent tongue-in-cheek jokes and satire, the movie is very self-aware. From the villain’s elaborate secret lair to the shoes Kingsman wear (which used to have phones in their heels), the film pays numerous homages to classic spy films.
“Kingsman” cleverly plays with these spy film clichés. Genre conventions are made extremely nonsensical, yet the lighthearted tone of the film makes the transformations come off as natural.
Colin Firth, an actor known for serious roles, such as in “The King’s Speech,” dines with the main villain, played by Samuel L. Jackson, eating Big Macs and cheeseburgers in an otherwise dramatic scene.
Even the violence in “Kingsman” is made facetious, as in a brutal battle sequence in a church set to the epic guitar solo from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird.”
In a year filled with spy films such as “Mission: Impossible 5,” “Spectre” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “Kingsman” might be the most daring, action-packed and enthusiastic of them all.