As I sat there in the theater, thinking this was the first movie I'd seen where I knew nothing about it since Saving Sarah Marshall, I asked my friend sitting next to me what the genre was. When she told me it was a "campy action movie" I suddenly remembered having seeing the trailer for Kingsman, and promptly told my friend's husband he was an asshole for tricking us into seeing such a terrible looking movie. Luckily, just like last years John Wick, Kingsman is much better than its trailers let on, in fact, its actually pretty good.
The basic mechanics of the Kingsman are that it is a spy thriller, James Bond-homage that functions like a ramped up Simon Pegg movie (Shaun of the Dead, At World's End, ext.); being equal parts comedy and well put together genre film, but with the balls turned up to 11. It's also British, which is a nice change of gears for the American movie goer (though it's obviously being marketed to the US, judging by the many American players and the over the top Hollywood action). The only issue is that it's not always as even as those Simon Pegg films are, sometimes it flounders, not sure what genre it is at that moment. But when the movie's more fun than anything that's played in the theater for months, you can get away with a lot, and this film sure does. We get Matrix style slow-mo fight scenes, smart ass British insults, a zainy lovable villain played by Samuel L. Jackson, as well as some other great performances. The jokes are weaved into this thing with a naturalism that is hardly seen in any American comedies.
This film won't be for everyone. There's lots of blood, and in one particular fight scene the violence is so explicit (this is where the balls are turned up to 11) that it actually feels like we've stepped into a horror movie, and that's a complement to the film, because the scene works. But for anyone who doesn't mind over the top violence (and a bit of narrative cliches) mixed in with their James Bond homage film, well, then this is the film for you.