Tag Archives: Samuel L. Jackson

Captain Marvel (2019) Blu-Ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Captain Marvel Review, Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Writers: Anna Boden (screenplay by), Ryan Fleck (screenplay by)
Starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Lashana Lynch, Annette Benning, Gemma Chan, Lee Pace, Clark Gregg

When it comes to superhero movies, I suppose kicking franchises off with an origin story is almost unavoidable. After all, not everyone’s a comic book reader, so explaining what compels a guy throw on a cape for the public good makes narrative sense (though Tim Burton’s Batman never bothered and it turned out just fine).

Even if that has a tendency to render a lot of superhero films somewhat predictable, Marvel has done a pretty remarkable job introducing everyone populating their cinematic universe. And rather ingeniously, Captain Marvel actually gives us two origin stories.

First, of course, is the story of Vers/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), whose circumstances leading to her emergence as the titular character are more interesting than those of Doctor Strange or an umpteenth reboot of Spider-Man. After a rather mundane opening act – a flashy-but-rote clash between the Kree and Skrulls – once Vers arrives on Earth in 1995, the story really takes off. She already has her considerable powers and stands-out like a sore thumb, leading to some amusing moments and frequent clashes with the shape-shifting Skrulls. Larson’s confident performance is enjoyable, displaying just the slightest bit of superiority over us puny humans (at least until she begins to remember where she came from).

Vers also meets Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Captain Marvel’s other origin story. At this time, Fury is just another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (made plausible by some Oscar-worthy CGI that makes Jackson look 25 years younger). One long-standing criticism I’ve had of the entire MCU is that, with the possible exception of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Fury has never been given anything interesting to do. Here, Fury arrives early and does a lot more than provide exposition. Jackson is great, of course, like he’s been unleashed to make Fury funnier and more charismatic than we’ve previously seen, especially once he befriends Goose the Cat. How he came to need an eye-patch provides one of the film’s biggest laughs.

Elsewhere, Captain Marvel tells an interesting story that not-only fits comfortably within the MCU, but provides a few welcome, surprising twists. Speaking of which, can we give another tip-of-the-hat to Ben Mendelsohn, once-again stealing every scene he’s in? As Talos, not only does he make a terrific initial adversary, he’s personable and often very funny, no small feat considering he’s covered in alien make-up for most of the film.

Of course, Captain Marvel has plenty of the action and visual fireworks we’ve come to expect from the MCU (as well as a few moments of wonky CGI). But like the Ant-Man films, it never threatens to collapse under the weight of its own spectacle. As origin stories go, this is one of Marvel’s better recent ones.

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Captain Marvel (2019) Movie Review By The Movie Couple

Captain Marvel Review, Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Writers: Anna Boden (screenplay by), Ryan Fleck (screenplay by)
Stars: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn 

Movie Couple here!  We rushed out to see Captain Marvel this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film students we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system.

Mrs. Movie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

I love all the MCU films and have not missed one in the theatres yet!  I have read comic books my whole life, so I can remember the character of Captain Marvel from the printed page,  back when she was Ms. Marvel!  Mrs. Movie Couple  does not.  She has seen all the MCU movies, but her history of the characters does not go much beyond the films.  This is just to let you know the type of familiarisation we both are bringing with us to see this film.  We both were anticipating this movie the way we do most Marvel films, we expected this to be connected to the MCU, but also an introduction to a hero we had never seen before. Much like Ant Man and Doctor Strange. Black Panther was in Civil War prior to his solo film (which we loved BTW), but Captain Marvel seemed to remind us of Ant Man and Strange as we have never seen her until this film.

I will do the set up for this review but since we saw it on International Women’s Day, we will let the actual reviewing be done by Mrs. Movie Couple this time!  The film starts in space, on a Kree homeworld, if you don’t remember the Kree alien race brush up on your Guardians of the Galaxy films to not feel lost.  This is where we meet Carol Danvers as an amnesiac known as Vers on this planet played by Brie Larson and Yon-Ragg portrayed by Jude Law.  We get introduced to some very alien concepts very quickly.  The Kree seem to be inconstant war with an alien species called the Skrulls that can shape shift and are a somewhat conquering, terroristic race.  How Carol (Known on this world as Vers) is a part of the Kree soldier squad and has the ability to fire energy from her glowing hands is part of the mystery and teased early on.  The Kree has a Supreme Intelligence that all Kree meet sparingly and seems to rule all.  Imagine a space Wizard of OZ if it helps.  It appears to each Kree as the person they admire most.  To Carol, that is the form of the amazing Annette Bening, for reasons you will learn later and we will not spoil.  We are shown part of the conflict, as the secret “Star Force” encounters a nasty cell of Skrulls during a mission gone wrong.  Suffice to say, Carol ends up escaping to Earth (circa the 1990’s, as we are shown constantly thanks to a Blockbuster video store, Nine Inch Nail T-Shirts and slow internet) where she encounters not only a Skrull infestation, but a young Nick Fury and Agent Coulson (played by Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg with a little CGI help)!  Oh and she learns a lot about her true past and how she got her amazing powers.  There are a few twists along the way, that we will not spoil.  A great cat sidekick, some human allies, a surprise call back to Carol’s comic book origins and a final fight scene that sets Captain Marvel up as the “Superman” level power house of the Marvel Cinema Universe!  We are not here to tell you the entre movie, so that’s all you get in the form of a description.  Did we enjoy it?  Take it away, Mrs. Movie Couple!

Mrs. Movie Couple here!  So let me get right down to the brass tacks, I loved Wonder Woman!  It was one of my favorite superhero films and I was super (forgive the pun) excited to see another solo female hero given her very own film!  Bottom line though, this movie was bad.  Brie Lawson as Carol Danvers gave a wooden almost forced performance in my opinion.  She was amazing in Room and I expected so much more from her.  Sam Jackson was his regular self, but the chemistry the script tried to create between them never came across on film.  Their banter and jokes fell flat as if they were reading from a script rather than bringing words to life.  I felt more chemistry between Jason Mamoa and Amber Heard in Aquaman and I wrote that they had zero chemistry!  Not sure if the fault lies with the script itself or the direction of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, but it was notable.  The action scenes were a bit on the shaky cam side, which I find distracting, but that’s a preference.  The entire train fight scene and chase set piece had a TV energy level and was no where near the movie cinema quality I expect from these huge Marvel blockbusters.  The comedy fell flat as well, other than a scene or two featuring the cat Goose (a scene stealer) and a joke or two involving the Skrulls all other attempts were grown inducing.  Most Marvel films have a great use of comedy!  See The Thor films or the Guardians of the Galaxy movies to see it done in spectacular fashion!  Even Paul Rudd’s Ant Man series has a nice and easy flow to its comedy.  Even tense or serious solo MCU films have found natural ways to drop humor in their movies, look no further than Black Panther or Dr Strange for how to do this correctly.  Speaking of groan inducing!  My eyes rolled halfway into my head, during a scene where Carol is tossing bad guys left and right just as No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” plays in the background!  I am not kidding!  Subtle this is not!  Besides the observations of lack of chemistry or good humor, this movie just bored me.  I did not feel any stakes, never for one second felt that Carol was challenged, she overcame any and all obstacles with nearly zero effort.  This MCU entry felt like a cash grab at worst and at best an introduction forced just so we all know who Captain Marvel is before she shows up to pick up Thor’s hammer, grab Captain America’s shield and kick Thanos tail all by herself and save the Avengers in Endgame, as Alicia Keys “This Girl is on Fire” plays in the background.  I was really disappointed.  The acting, plot and directing all ranked this in my book,  as the weakest Marvel entry yet.  Here’s hoping for Wonder Woman ’84 to come quickly.

So here we go!

Mr. Movie Couple:  Who am I to disagree with my wife on International Women’s day?  I agree with most of what she already said.  As a lifelong comic fan I loved seeing the Skrulls on screen!  Not sure I agree with a twist involving them toward the end of the film, but those of you that are comic readers can judge for yourselves.  Again, the comic fan in me wanted more explanation about where her powers come from and how she uses them, but maybe that will come in Captain Marvel 2. Sadly, all that Mrs. Movie Couple said about acting, chemistry and balance of comedy and action all ring true. This movie will get far more positive reviews then negative, because its simply not acceptable to be hard on this movie without being labeled a misogynistic, anti feminist.  This is a shame, because the character is fine, but the film just isn’t good. Marvel has many strong females portrayed in film, Wasp in the Ant Man series, Shuri from Black Panther, The Black Widow, Scarlet Witch from the Avenger films and of course, Agent Peggy Carter from the Captain America films who also starred in her own TV series! They are all strong female characters, that is not the issue.  The issue is this movie isn’t nearly as entertaining as the previous Marvel films. Just being honest. Mrs. Movie Couple hit it right on the nose!

Mrs. Movie Couple:  She hated it!  She found its message as subtle as a hammer to the head and the direction, acting and script well under par. On the drive home she told me she wanted to watch Aquaman on demand to cleanse her palate and she didn’t even like Aquaman!!!

Mr. Movie Couple:  I was really disappointed as well.  Larson and Jackson let me down.  The script was dull and the direction was choppy and lacking.  The largest sin for me was that everything felt forced and due to that it was not enjoyable.  Even the worst Marvel films so far have been enjoyable.  Just a huge let down for me.  Please don’t label me.

The car ride home comments were all negative, so we both decided to give this movie 2 Bills.  Mrs. Movie Couple wanted 1, but I say 2 for the Cat and Skrulls alone!  Captain Marvel gets 2 Bills!  A waste of both our time and money!

So until we head out to the cinema again, See you next date night at the movies!

Glass (2019) Movie Review By The Movie Couple

Glass Review, Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson

Movie Couple here!  We saw Glass this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film students we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system.

Mrs. Movie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

We both are old enough to have seen Unbreakable in the theatre (you do the math on our age, yes we were together then as well).  As fans of that film we were eager for this installment.  I had seen Split and was as shocked as everyone else when it turned out at the end to be an extension of Unbreakable.  Mrs. Movie Couple, saw Split on demand at my recommendation.  Full disclosure, we both loved Unbreakable and were (no pun intended) split on Split.  I was a huge fan, my better half not so much.  So now that you have our history with M. Night Shyamalan’s “Trilogy” in the making, lets get to the review.

Glass picks up right where Split left us.  Bruce Willis’ David Dunn in pursuit of James McAvoy’s Kevin Wendall Crumb better known as The Horde.  Soon events bring the two under the care of a Psychiatrist Dr. Ellie Staple (like at the center of comic books?…) played by Sarah Paulson.  Kept under heavy guard as well as lock and key, Dr. Staple is convinced that they and many others suffer from a delusion that they are superheroes right out of a comic book.  She is a specialist in such areas.  We learn that she has been treating Samuel L. Jackson’s Elijah Price, the Title bearing Mr. Glass, sometime during his incarceration for his actions in Unbreakable.  She is here to help!  She seeks to cure them of this infirmary.

That is a spoiler free plot description.  This could have gone a long way to create suspense for us Unbreakable and Split fans, Is she right?  Are our hero and villains simply nuts?!  Unfortunately, M. Night has proven thoroughly in Unbreakable and Split that this is not he case.  Had we even for a moment in either previous film been left with doubt, this could have kept us guessing.  Had M. Night envisioned this as a trilogy from the beginning, I think that would have been the avenue he would have taken and it would have worked better.  Not to say this movie doesn’t keep us guessing, at least a little.  If you’ve seen the trailers, as Jackson’s Mr. Glass says the bad guys do indeed team up!  And for fans of the first two films it is exactly what we hoped for.

Anya Taylor-Joy returns as survivor girl, Casey Cooke, Spencer Treat Clark is also in tow as David’s now adult son, his “guy in the chair” if you will and Charlayne Woodard shows up as Mrs. Price all of them important anchors to each of the main characters.  Is Dr. Staple on the up and up?  Will the combined might of Mr. Glass and the Beast be more than a match for David Dunn’s Overseer (a nickname he has garnered on line for his vigilante activities)?  If that sounds like a comic book cover, it’s intentional!  All this gets answered and some other twists arise along the way toward our conclusion!   Mr. Glass longs for his life to become  just like the comics he read and worshiped growing up and this is his movie after all.  The conclusion to this film is not what everyone is expecting and some of the twists will have M. Night fans ecstatic and his detractors rolling their eyes.  The performance by McAvoy is a standout!  His portrayal of all the Horde‘s personalities is every bit as good as it was in Split and maybe even better.  His scenes with Taylor-Joy were a highlight!  I can’t praise him enough for his acting skills in this film.  He’s been just OK to us in other things we’ve seen, but here as in Split, McAvoy is a tour de force.

So here we go!

Mr. Movie Couple:  I loved it!  Yes, you may be able to see the twists and reveals coming a bit, but as a conclusion to what started in Unbreakable and Split it was perfect.  It had an ending that I didn’t see coming, as if the film was a relic of the 70’s cinema.  Can’t say why without giving much away, but I mean that in a good way.  Willis and Jackson were great, they slipped back into the roles of David and Elijah as if no time had past at all.  McAvoy for me was worth the price of admission alone!  He was simply amazing!  The ending felt open ended, as if M. Night could return to this ‘Universe’ should he want to, but it won’t be necessary.  If this completes the trilogy with no more to come I feel it was a job well done!  Reviews are mixed, but I enjoyed this film and recommend it highly!

Mrs. Movie Couple:  She liked it!  She really liked it!  Which quite frankly surprised me.  She felt it was a little slow, but felt the conclusion was perfect and surprised her more than she expected it to.  She was also highly impressed with McAvoy.  She couldn’t take her eyes off his performance was her exact words.  At first she didn’t care for the storyline between Taylor-Joy and McAvoy.  She could not understand the victim interacting with her attacker, But by the movie’s conclusion she felt it was her favorite part!  She loved how Casey had become almost Belle-like to Crumb’s Beast!  Again her words not mine!

We both talked about the actors, characters and the film’s conclusion many days after watching it and for us that’s a ringing endorsement.  I give it 5 Bills, the Mrs. gives it 4 Bills, So we give Glass a 4.5 Bills!  I say well worth the money spent on a night out!

So until we head out to the cinema again, which could be a while if the Government Shutdown continues, hard to justify movie tickets and sitters with no paycheck!  See you next date night at the movies!

Cell (2016) “and the Terror of Technology” Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Cell

Director: Tod Williams
Writers: Stephen King (based on the novel by), Stephen King (screenplay by)
Stars: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Isabelle Fuhrman

You do realise the zombie apocalypse has already begun, don’t you? For all I know, you may already be one of them.

I don’t own a cell phone. I used to have one, an old fashioned flip phone given to me for Christmas one year. I think I used it three or four times during the first few months before retiring it to my office drawer, where it stayed for several years. As someone who’s simply not important enough to be available 24/7 (none of us are), I’ve just never needed one. I still don’t.

While preparing to move not too long ago, we decided to purge much of the crap we’d collected over time, either donating it to Goodwill, recycling it or throwing it away. My phone ended up in one of those purge piles. My two daughters were somewhat amused when they saw this ancient artifact, which required the supreme physical effort of flipping it open and actually punching in a phone number. You couldn’t use it to text or send emojis in lieu of actual words and sentences. Life was hell back in them olden days.

To this day, I refuse to carry a cell phone, arguably the worst thing to violate society since Fox News. That probably makes me sound like a cranky old curmudgeon who resents and fears advancing technology. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. I depend on my computer, personally and professionally, on a daily basis. I love playing games and socializing on Twitter or Facebook with my iPad. I’m able to do 80% of all my holiday shopping in less time than takes to find a parking space at the mall. I haven’t written a physical check in over a decade because I pay my bills online. And like every other red blooded American male, I look forward to the day Debbie Does Dallas is adapted into a VR game. As someone who vaguely recalls the dark days before there was a microwave oven in every home, I’m reminded how wonderful it is to enjoy a piping hot burrito in only a minute or two and still complain about how long it takes. The ways modern technology has enhanced our lives is nearly boundless (though it has taken some of the fun out of buying records).

Cell phones, though? They haven’t enriched our lives in any meaningful way. They haven’t advanced us as a species or rendered us more intelligent. What they have done is alter our behavior. Computers and tablets are wonderful, but still essentially luxuries we could conceivably survive without. However, we’ve made cell phones extensions of ourselves like vital appendages. Many people feel as naked and helpless without one as leaving the house without pants. Cell phones have turned each of us into our own tiny island, oblivious to any part of the world that isn’t presented as text or a grinning turd. In public places where people congregate, you see legions of the Cellular Dead shuffle about like zombies in the Monroeville Mall as they tap, tweet and live life vicariously through a 3×5 screen.

With the possible exception of automobiles, cell phones are also responsible for more deaths than any other device not specifically built for the purpose of killing people. We’re so entranced by their power that we’ve walked off cliffs, stepped in front of trains and plowed into pedestrians during morning commutes. People have died in house fires, drowned in rivers and been crushed in trash compactors trying to rescue their phones. Wikipedia even has an entire page listing notable selfie-related deaths since 2013 (it numbers in the hundreds). Since humans have advanced to the point where we no longer have natural enemies and can cure once-fatal diseases with a quick inoculation, perhaps the cell phone is God’s last-ditch attempt at culling the herd.

But there’s a more horrific depiction of the current zombie apocalypse brought on by the Cellular Dead. The only difference is we don’t return from the grave to feast on the living (though we certainly kill a shitload of ’em). That’s the basic concept of Cell, based on one of Stephen King’s better recent novels.

John Cusack is Clay, a comic book artist arriving at an airport. During the opening credits, nearly everyone around him is talking, texting or taking selfies. Like the undead, they shuffle about the terminal by the thousands, heads down and oblivious of others, all completely absorbed in their own activity. The only reason Clay himself isn’t among them is because his battery is dead. Then a malevolent cell phone signal suddenly turns everyone using one into violent maniacs. This long, bloody sequence is brutal and harrowing. Whether intentional or not, the fact this signal turns nearly everybody into monsters sends a strong message of how prolifically cell phones have insinuated themselves in our daily lives.

Clay manages to escape the mayhem, hooking up with Tom (Samuel L. Jackson), a former soldier turned subway engineer. Along with a few others (some who live, some who die), Clay heads off to try and save his son, whom he’s convinced has survived unaffected (though I’m not sure why). Meanwhile, those affected by the signal (“phoners”) begin to evolve. No longer mindlessly homicidal, they become something resembling Romeroesque zombies (you know…like real cell phone junkies look). They gather and travel en masse, behaving as a collective mind as if telepathically driven by some unknown force (though they’ll still occasionally pause their journey to slaughter any unaffected individual they run into).

The first thirty minutes of Cell are so intense that it’s a shame the rest of it plays like one of those Walking Dead episodes where the cast literally spends the entire episode walking. Secondary characters arrive often, only to die long before we learn much about them, though Stacy Keach appears in a memorable scene on a college campus, where the group douses thousands of sleeping phoners in gasoline before torching them to death. In addition, there are some impressive scenes showing the massive, migrating zombie hordes which remind me of every airport terminal I’ve ever visited.

But Cell is ultimately a missed opportunity. Despite my love for horror and much of Stephen King’s work, none of it is really all that scary. What really would have been horrifying is if the entire opening airport slaughter was simply triggered by everyone’s service simultaneously shutting off. No need for some mysterious signal to fry their brains because I’ve seen firsthand what losing service does to some poor bastards – including members of my own family. It turns them into monsters, screeching like pod people from Invasion of the Body Snatchers before going into a trancelike state, shuffling like mindless zombies, no longer in control of their own faculties because they’re no longer connected.

It’s how I imagine our population would probably react if their precious phones were simultaneously taken away. If the entire world was made up of junkies and all the heroin suddenly disappeared, it’s highly unlikely they’d collectively shrug and sigh, “Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.”

Who knows what atrocities the masses are capable of when denied something they seem to value as much as food & water? Would they fight amongst each other, or take out their rage on the few dozen hapless folks (including yours truly) who never succumbed to the cell phone’s seductive siren song?

Not that’s fucking scary.

Cell (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

CellDirector: Tod Williams
Writers: Stephen King (based on the novel by), Stephen King (screenplay)
Stars: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Isabelle Fuhrman

Plot: When a mysterious cell phone signal causes apocalyptic chaos, an artist is determined to reunite with his young son in New England.

Running Time: 1 hour 38 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Critics 11%     Audience  17%
Why I watched it: I had read the book, and even though it wasn’t a great Stephen King novel it had it’s moments.  The cast was good and of course it’s horror.

Random Thoughts: This had kicked around a bit, right after the novel came out there was word they were doing a movie at the time it seemed like it would be a bigger film then it ended up.  This didn’t even get a wide released pretty much just dumped on DVD and home viewing.

What I liked: The main set up works, it’s scary and freaky at the same time.  Cell phones turn people crazy, it’s a nice hook.  The cast is easily the best thing about this film.  Samuel L Jackson works a lot and he tends to play Samuel L Jackson but here he dials it back and he’s very good, he was lucky cause his character was the best in the book and Jackson handles it very well, they kept the character gay as in the book but Jackson doesn’t go over the top with it, he plays it well.  Cusack is fine here, he does what he has to do.

Isabelle Fuhrman is very good here I liked her I would keep an eye on her cause she stood her own in a genre film with two good actors.

The part of the movie that worked for me was the road trip part, having these three characters travel and meet up with the crazies, alright zombies, but also other people who weren’t infected. That really worked, the three characters played off each other well and they become friends, it’s like they’re going through a war together.  Each actor was able to flesh out their characters and made them more than a cliche.

What I didn’t like: The budget killed this film, it looks cheap.  I’ve seen much worst made for DVD and they at least look slick or more professional.  With this story and these actors having it look this cheap is just a death blow.  In the book King had something to say about technology and the whole thing about people being turned into these things cause of their cell phones was a social comment in the film let’s be honest it’s a zombie film pure and simple.  There’s no subtext here at all they just played it at the lowest common denominator.

Also having the one character who of course has to go find their son, and risk everyone’s life to get to someone who may or may not be dead is such a cliche and here it’s handled badly, we know what’s coming. The ending is terrible, I know King isn’t great at sticking the landing, and the book isn’t great either but here cause they had no money for special effects man does the finish look bad here.  The other thing that didn’t work was they were trying to have a connection with Cusack and his work, he’s a comic book artist, honestly I have no idea what they were going for, maybe he had visions and they throw it in here a few times but it doesn’t make sense and they never come close to explaining it.

Final Thoughts: It’s not as bad as you or I heard but it’s not very good, honestly if they had some more money and maybe fleshed out the script this might have been a cool horror film instead we’re left with a cheap zombie film with a couple of good performances.

Rating: 4/10

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

KINGSMAN

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Jane Goldman (screenplay), Matthew Vaughn (screenplay)
Stars: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine

With Kingsman: The Golden Circle coming out this September I thought I would go back and rewatch “The Secret Service” which is now 3 years old (where did the time go)

A quick recap sees Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin played by Taron Egerton being taken under the wing of Harry Hart played by Colin Firth who is a spy for the British Secret Service with assistance from Arthur (Michael Caine) and (Merlin) Mark Strong who up against the villainous lisping Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) who although hates the sight of blood and gore holds a vision of mass biological warfare through…….SIM CARDS??? Stay with us.

Kingsman pays homage to the James Bond films rather than parodying it in the style of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Based on the Mark Millar comic book littered with hid creative quirkiness and with Vaughn’s film-making, has left a stylised-spectacle of ultra-violence much in the same fashion as their other successful franchise “Kick-Ass”.

Fans of Bond and Kick-Ass are certain to love it, as through rollercoasters of action, comedy and espionage. Just like the colourful, gadget ridden Bond films of the 1960’s (always the best bit about spy films are the gadgets) Kingsman is very fun to watch, with ‘wham, bam, thank-you ma’am’ style of mayhem, one- liners and a stylish soundtrack all over it.

Portraying the lead character of ‘Eggsy’, Taron Egerton  who proves to be an outstanding actor as he brings the character to life with an energising vibe of a comparing ethic of a housing estate lifestyle against the english gentleman’s class. I previously reviewed Egerton’s performance in the Eddie the Eagle movie and again for such a young actor oozes confidence in the role he portrays and isn’t fazed working alongside established actors like Firth, Jackson or Caine and was exactly the same in his screen time with Hugh Jackman in Eddie the Eagle movie.

Alongside, and tackling the mentor, come father type role, is Colin Firth, who based on previous filmography alone could easily be classed as the U.K.’s most typecast actor (well probably apart from Hugh Grant). Until now, Firth was at the top of every romantic film directors list and comes along Kingsmen: The Secret Service and the mould is broken as he is lethal with most weapons, his fighting style is convincing and his sharp wit shines throughout the movie. Not to sound negative towards Firth as credit must go to the writers and the choreographers for taking the “blandness” out of the actor. But it’s down to Firth at the end of the day on how he delivers the character and he absolutely nails every scene.

‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ contains some very memorable characters and the three standouts has to be Samuel L. Jackson, who is clearly having the time of his life as lisping villain Valentine and you can tell he is enjoying playing the villain once more with a very dark and nasty humour you can’t help even just for a moment you hope he wins the day (as if).

Michael Caine very much like ‘Now You See Me’ has very limited screen time and perhaps is correct for the role in the movie as Arthur who is overseeing the Secret Services missions but doesn’t have really much to do other than show his presence in some of the crucial moments as a somewhat ambiguous sort of character.

Mark Strong who comes across as a likeable guy plays Merlin who I think is attempting a Scottish Accent in the movie is basically Kingsman’s “Q” Strong who I thought did a terrific job in Kick-Ass as  Frank D’Amico and as Jim Prideaux in the 2011 remake of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) I felt was a little under used. Unlike Caine’s role that agreed with deserved the amount of screen time. I felt the character of Merlin could have been explored a little more and there appeared to be great chemistry in the limited screen time between Strong and Egerton. Although with the upcoming sequel “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” perhaps that is the reason Strong had limited screen time for the relationship between Harry and Gary to blossom and just maybe this film was just to set him up for a bigger role in the sequel.

Kingsman: The Secret Service marks the third film in a row that director Matthew Vaughn has adapted from a comic book background. His two previous being Kick-Ass (2010) and X-Men: First Class (2011) that were both excellent films and in the case of the later is one of my favourite X-Men films. The thing about Kingsman is that the James Bond influence present and the graphic but yet stylishly shot violence that was also present in Vaughn’s previous movie Kick-Ass, this film not only pays respect to the old spy films of yesteryear and takes the spy genre, and mixes in the superhero and hi-tech elements with some east end of London elements from his earlier productions like “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and with “Kingsman” actually managed to create something even more fantastic, but also comes into it’s own to become a classic for the future in my opinion and hope there is more Vaughn ‘Kingsman’ films coming.

Ultimately “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is a good film and overall I think the makers of the movie thought very carefully with how each scene connected and flowed together and the fight scenes that were very well choreographed. Even though some scenes in particular were quite predictable I thought that the combination of the film makers trying not to hard to be too humorous but still being funny and the fluidity was just right. I’m looking forward to viewing the sequel later this year to see where we go with ‘Eggsy’ and no doubt like most sequels we will see Vaughn upping the ante. Highly recommend.