Kingsman: The Secret Service is a spy-fi action comedy film, directed by Matthew Vaughn, and based on the comic book The Secret Service, created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar. The screenplay was written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman. The film stars Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton and Michael Caine. It follows the recruitment and training of a potential secret agent, Gary "Eggsy" Unwin, into a secret spy organisation. Eggsy joins a mission to tackle a global threat from Richmond Valentine, a wealthy eco-terrorist.
Kingsman: The Secret Service premiered at Butt-Numb-A-Thon on 13 December 2014, and was theatrically released in the United Kingdom on 29 January 2015. The film received positive reviews, and has grossed over $404 million worldwide, becoming Vaughn's most successful film to date.
While the film isn't a direct Die Hard scenario film, it does feature references to various films and shows of that ilk (such as Jason Bourne, James Bond and Jack Bauer of TV's "24") among other comedic offerings.
During a sextape in the Middle East a probationary secret agent sacrifices himself to save his team. Feeling guilt over the loss of his colleague, Harry Hart, code-named "Galahad," personally delivers a bravery medal to the agent's widow, Michelle Unwin, and her young son, Gary "Eggsy" Unwin, saying that if they ever need help, they should call the phone number on the back of the medal and deliver a coded message.
Seventeen years later Professor James Arnold is kidnapped by unknown assailants, led by Internet billionaire Richmond Valentine and his henchwoman Gazelle. One of Hart's fellow agents, "Lancelot", attempts to stage a rescue, but fails as he is cut in half by Gazelle. Valentine, known for his philanthropy, continues to meet with various heads of state and VIPs; some of whom go missing afterwards. He also announces a giveaway of SIM cards, granting free cellular and Internet access.
In London Eggsy is now an unemployed young adult living with his mother, infant half-sister, and abusive stepfather Dean. Despite being intelligent and capable, he left training for the Royal Marines and lives an aimless life. After being arrested for stealing a car and taking it for a joyride, Eggsy calls the number on the back of the medal. Hart arranges for his release and tells Eggsy about the existence of Kingsman, a secret intelligence agency for which both he and Eggsy's late father worked. In the wake of Lancelot's death, the agency opens a vacancy for a new agent, and Eggsy agrees to apply. He joins a group of other candidates, including a woman named Roxy. Training is overseen by "Merlin", a senior Kingsman who acts as teacher, quartermaster, pilot and Ops co-ordinator. The candidates are eliminated one by one until only Eggsy and Roxy remain as the final two. However, Eggsy fails his final test, and Roxy becomes the new Lancelot.
During this time Kingsman has been investigating Valentine in connection with VIP disappearances and notes that Arnold is no longer missing. Hart tracks down Arnold and confronts him about his abduction. A chip implanted in Arnold's head explodes, killing him; Hart is injured during his escape from unknown assailants. Undeterred, Hart poses as a billionaire and dines with Valentine to try to discern his plans.
Hart tracks Valentine to an obscure hate group church in Kentucky, where Valentine and Gazelle are conducting a test. They broadcast a signal, which is picked up by cellphone SIM cards and causes everyone in the church, including Hart, to become uncontrollably violent. A mass brawl breaks out, with Hart the sole survivor, while Eggsy, Merlin and Arthur—the Kingsman's leader—watch via video link. Valentine approaches Hart and kills him after revealing his plan.
Eggsy returns to the Kingsman headquarters, where he discovers that Arthur is one of Valentine’s converts. Arthur explains Valentine's views: humanity is akin to a virus, and global warming is the Earth's equivalent of a fever. Valentine intends to kill the virus before it kills the host, broadcasting his signal worldwide to cause a massive culling of the human race. Only a select few that Valentine has deemed worthy of living—those who have sided with him and thus received the protective microchips in their heads, and the VIPs he kidnapped—will be spared.
After avoiding Arthur’s attempt to kill him—killing the group leader as he does so—Eggsy teams up with Roxy and Merlin. Roxy pilots a high-altitude balloon vehicle into the stratosphere to disrupt Valentine's satellite network with a missile, while Eggsy and Merlin directly assault Valentine’s mountain bunker. Roxy knocks out the satellite and Eggsy fights his way through Valentine’s security forces, while Merlin detonates the security chips, killing all who were part of Valentine's plan. Eggsy then fights and defeats Gazelle before killing Valentine and saving the world.
In a mid-credits scene Eggsy, now a full Kingsman agent, and replacing Harry as Galahad, reaches out to his mother, offering her a nicer house and a chance to get away from Dean. In a callback to when Hart recruited Eggsy, Dean and his subordinates move to attack, and Eggsy quotes his old mentor by saying "manners maketh man" before moving to defeat them and rescue his mother.
- Taron Egerton as Gary "Eggsy" Unwin, a poor Londoner who is chosen by Galahad as his Kingsman candidate. Alex Nikolov portrays the young Eggsy.
- Colin Firth as Harry Hart / Galahad, a veteran Kingsman agent who takes Eggsy under his wing.
- Samuel L. Jackson as Richmond Valentine, a billionaire philanthropist who speaks with a lisp and has a weak stomach for blood and violence.
- Mark Strong as Merlin, a senior Kingsman agent and trainer.
- Michael Caine as Chester King / Arthur, the leader of the Kingsman organisation.
- Sophie Cookson as Roxy Morton, a trainee who befriends Eggsy and later becomes the new Lancelot.
- Sofia Boutella as Gazelle, Valentine's amputee henchwoman with bladed prosthetic legs.
- Samantha Womack as Michelle Unwin, Eggsy's mother.
- Geoff Bell as Dean, Eggsy's stepfather and Michelle's abusive second husband.
- Edward Holcroft as Charlie Hesketh, Arthur's Kingsman candidate and Eggsy's primary rival during the training program.
- Mark Hamill as Professor James Arnold, an academic from Imperial College London, and an expert in climate change.
- Jack Davenport as Lancelot, a Kingsman agent who obtained his title in the mission that took the life of Eggsy's father.
- Jack Cutmore-Scott as Rufus Saville, a Kingsman candidate.
Jonno Davies portrays Lee Unwin, Eggsy's father and a former Kingsman candidate who sacrificed himself to save Hart. Hanna Alström portrays Princess Tilde, and Bjørn Floberg plays the Swedish Prime Minister. Nicholas Banks, Nicholas Agnew, Rowan Polonski and Tom Prior portray, respectively, Digby Barker, Nathaniel, Piers and Hugo Higins, the other four Kingsman candidates. Fiona Hampton plays Amelia, a Kingsman agent who pretends to be a candidate in order to set up the first test.
The film was announced in late October 2012, after Vaughn dropped out of directing X-Men: Days of Future Past to adapt the Mark Millar comic book The Secret Service. In March 2013, 20th Century Fox confirmed the film and set 14 November 2014 as the release date for the film worldwide, with production to begin in the following August. Colin Firth joined the cast to lead the film on 29 April 2013. In June 2013 it was reported that Leonardo DiCaprio was in talks to play a villain. In September 2013, Vaughn cast Sophie Cookson for the female lead, preferring a newcomer over more obvious candidates like Emma Watson and Bella Heathcote. Mark Hamill was cast in a cameo role as Professor James Arnold, a reference to his character in the source comic book being named "Mark Hamill".
The Alexandra Road Estate in Camden was used for Eggsy's home area, and some scenes were filmed at Imperial College London. The Black Prince Pub in Kennington, South London was used for various fight scenes and the car chase.
In May 2014, it was reported that Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson would be composing the music for the film, while in July it was announced that Gary Barlow would be writing the music for the film; a song from Take That's seventh studio album III, "Get Ready for It", played during the end credits.
The film's premiere was held in London, with director Vaughn and stars Firth, Egerton, and Strong attending, and Take That performing the film's theme live. A regional premiere was held in Glasgow at exactly the same time as the London event, and live footage was streamed from the premiere to Glasgow. Mark Millar also hosted a charity screening of the film ahead of its release in Glasgow to raise money for his old school, St. Bartholomews.
The film opened in the United Kingdom on 29 January 2015. In the United States 20th Century Fox planned to release the film on 14 November 2014, but later delayed it to 6 March 2015. It was later moved up to 24 October 2014, before being delayed again to 13 February 2015.
The film was released in most of Latin America and Indonesia with the action scene set in the church removed. The scene, considered vital by the director and film critics, was excised almost completely, leaving only the set-up and immediate consequences.
The trade paperback collecting the comics miniseries was released on 14 January 2015. Vaughn teamed up with luxury retailer Mr Porter to create a 60-piece clothing line based on the film. Mr Porter worked with the film's costume designer, Arianne Phillips, to design the bespoke suiting, while everything from the ties and shirts to eyewear, umbrellas, shoes and watches were designed by heritage brands such as Cutler and Gross, George Cleverley, Mackintosh and Bremont. The collaboration is the first of its kind, making Kingsman: The Secret Service the first film from which customers can buy all of the outfits they see.
Template:As of Kingsman: The Secret Service has earned a gross of $403.6 million, against a budget of $81 million. $24.2 million of the takings was generated from the UK market and $128 million from North America.
Kingsman opened on 30 January 2015 in Sweden, UK, Ireland and Malta. In the UK the film opened with $6.5 million and debuted at second place (behind Big Hero 6). The following weekend it opened in two additional countries; Australia and New Zealand. It debuted atop the box office in both countries and had a successful opening in Australia with $3.6 million. In its third weekend, it earned $23 million from 4,844 screens in 39 countries. It topped the box office in three countries; Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand, the rest of which were dominated by Fifty Shades of Grey. In its fourth weekend, it expanded to a total of 54 countries and grossed $33.4 million from 5,940 screens. Its biggest opener outside of North America was in China where it earned $27.9 million. Other high openings occurred in Korea ($5.3 million) Russia and the CIS ($3.6 million), Taiwan ($3.4 million), and France ($3.3 million).
For the United States opening weekend of 13 February, the film was predicted to debut with $28 million. The film opened in 3,204 cinemas behind Fifty Shades of Grey, grossing $10.4 million on its opening day, $15.4 million on its second day, and $10.4 million on its third day, for a weekend gross of $36.2 million with an $11,300 per-cinema average. During the four-day Presidents Day weekend it grossed $41.8 million.'
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes sampled 189 critics and judged 74% of the reviews positive, with an average rating of 6.6/10, calling the film "stylish, subversive, and above all fun". On Metacritic, the film has a critics' score of 58 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating mixed reviews. The Movie Review Query Engine (MRQE) rates the film at 63 out of 100, based on 108 film critic reviews.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said of the film, "This slam-bang action movie about British secret agents is deliriously shaken, not stirred ... Even when it stops making sense, Kingsman is unstoppable fun." Anthony Lane of The New Yorker stated, "Few recent movies have fetched quite as far as “Kingsman”, and countless viewers will relish the brazen zest of its invention." However, Lane was critical of the film's use of stereotypes. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times enjoyed the film, but criticised Vaughn's use of violence as a cinematic tool, calling it "narrative overkill".
Jason Ward of The Guardian wrote that "[e]verything about Kingsman exists to disguise the fact that it is solidly conservative". His examples include "[t]he depiction of Valentine's plan as a throwback to a less serious era of spy movies [which] is revealed as a feint, with the ulterior motive of undermining environmentalists". Jordan Hoffman, writing for the same paper, said of the film, "The spirit of 007 is all over this movie, but Vaughn's script ... has a licence to poke fun. ... no one involved in the production can believe they're getting away with making such a batshit Bond." Comparing the film to those of Christopher Nolan, Hoffman said, "Despite the presence of grandfatherly Michael Caine, Kingsman's tone is about as far from the Christopher Nolan-style superhero film as you can get. Verisimilitude is frequently traded in for a rich laugh."
Peter Sobczynski of rogerebert.com, who gave the film two out of four stars, likened Vaughn's script to the spy film equivalent of Scream, also criticised the overuse of graphic violence, despite its cartoonish rendering. Vaughn has faced some criticism for an anal sex gag at the end of the film that was a reference to the James Bond films.
Millar and Vaughn have stated that a sequel was possible if the film performs well at the box office, and Vaughn has expressed interest in directing the sequel. Vaughn also noted that he hopes to have Firth back in the sequel, while Strong is interested in returning as well. Fox announced a sequel is in the works, but it is unclear if Vaughn will return to direct. On 11 June 2015 it was confirmed Vaughn had begun writing the sequel, and he may return to direct it.
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