Kingsman: The Secret Service

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WARNING: Mild Spoilers

Harry Hart owes a life debt to a fallen friend, Lancealot, whilst working for a socially elites group of people who are Britain’s best undercover spies called: Kingsmen. They all take names from King Arthers fairy tales, and some even exude qualities of their mythical counter parts. Regardless, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin grew up as a social delinquent. He eventually gets arrested and calls on the Kingsmen to get him out of trouble. They do and decide to recruit him for their undercover training program.

I consider most British comedies wittier then most American comedies due to well placed sight gags or very well crafted dialogue. This one lacked in some areas on good gags and smarm, but it made up for with well crafted crass humor. Colin Firth played the straight man to Taron Egerton‘s young and foul mouthed teenager. Many examples can be seen in the various trailers out there. Other times its simple pokes at American stereotypes or in your face violence. Oddly enough I found myself snickering at some of the violent scenes involving a racist church group they eventually investigate. Other times it was at the blatant references to just about every other spy film ever made while still trying to formulate a ironic style of humor while still honoring the genera.

I didn’t care for the film’s jumbled development. Many times Taron Egerton’s character jumps between lovable dumbass to killing machine back to being a arrogant prick. You’d think after months of training he’d know how to do something simple like open a parachute. Also the anti-US American undertones were a tad obnoxious. They were consistent and only seemed to be berating the ‘evil corporate American companies are trying to kill you’ lunacy that seems to plague every other story now-a-days. Also it isn’t plausible that one of the crucial parts of the story involves mass genocide and all the billionaires in the world just being OK with it. Because once society has toppled what good is their money? Who will run their power plants or make their food? Oh wait. No one will, because everyone is DEAD. There’s a definite spike between different styles of humor after a main character dies. In the beginning it’s a mixture of mellow, wit, wry, and crass humor. After the main character dies then it becomes oafish and pure crass. It isn’t that its too jarring, but it’s REALLY noticeable. So if you think all of a sudden the jokes become crappier then thats just letting you know you’re near the end of the movie.

Colin Firth was decent as a stern sophisticated person without giving into his past experience with roles. Mark Strong played a good guy for once and while not showing a lot of strength in anything he did seem to know how seem convincing he was a master of all trades. Mark Hamill is a bumbling professor and plays it rather well. It’s different since he usually plays a stronger male role, even as a villain. Taron Egerton was good as a jackass, but most of his acting was reactionary due to the script so I don’t think it’s a good example of his acting. Samuel L Jackson was great as the villain, but it seemed like he needed to tighten up some areas and be a little more aggressive or assertive. Other wise he was rather good and made someone with a lisp rather creepy.

Most spy films that try to be comedies fail by hiring writers who don’t know how to blend the two genera or the comedy becomes too experimental. This was a nice balance of everything without having one genera overpower the other. The characters were likable, even if mildly cliché. The story might be bland to some people, but how everything is set up separates it from the rest of the genera. Kingsman might not go down as a comedy classic, but it will definitely be brought up in conversation frequently.

See it in theaters.

7.5/10

Thor: The Dark World Movie Review

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Warning Some Spoilers

Odin, ages ago, fought and extinguished the Dark Elves who were trying to reverse the course of the universe and turn it eternally dark. In turn he captured their ultimate weapon known as the Aether. It has unlimited power and can’t be destroyed. So Odin and his men hid it. Jane and Darcy, back on Earth, discover a wormhole in London due to certain cosmic forces aligning. Jane gets sucked through one by the Aether. Meanwhile Loki is facing his punishment in the Asgard prisons and Thor struggles with various family issues.

This is one of the better Marvel movies made. It’s fun, fast paced, and has a lot of what most people could want from a Thor movie: action. It moves at such a rapid pace doesn’t fail to explain anything. However it failed a few times to explain why some things existed. So we were pretty much left with “this happened, deal with it.” They’ve always done a great job on building the characters as usual. They did borrow some from astrology to explain one of the main plot points, which was rather cool.

As the story develops they only touch lightly back on the Thor romance. The most interesting aspect is that they gave a villain a insane amount of screen time. This really develop the relationship between Loki and his brother Thor. The main thing that shook most was the unexpected deaths of people. However since the comics tried to keep true to the Norse mythology, then most should have known it was coming. I know I did.

The cast did a good job for their roles, but there were some noticeable differences. Natalie Portman (Jane Foster) did a decent supporting role, but considering her skill as a actress it was disappointing that she didn’t have more important lines. She pretty much played a ‘damsel in distress’ kinda roll. Hell, half the movie she spent it falling down. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) is good as the usual ground smashing hero, but there aren’t too many things that endear him to the audience.

Tom Hiddleston (Loki) shined seeing as he had the best lines. Not only does he shine as a smarmy jackass, but there are a few scenes that really make you feel bad for his character. But then he quickly corrects that later and makes you hate him all over again. Another that stood out was Kat Dennings (Darcy Lewis). She plucky. She’s strange. She’s hilarious and shows some similarity to her other performances, but it was still welcoming seeing as her quaky personality helped balance out some of the more tense moments. Also Stellan Skarsgard (Erik Selvig) was fantastic as a supporting character as usual. Instead of being drab, like in Pirates of the Caribbean series, he flounders about as the crazy madman who can see the universe and is captively strange while performing.

This is a solid Marvel film. It feels like it’s leading up to more Marvel movies or is building up for another sequel. It excels in continuing the story from the comics and creating really unique fight scenes. However it falters on minor story flaws that don’t play to character strengths like it did in the original.

Go see it in theaters, it’s pretty good.

7.5/10