If you find yourself wanting to head to the movies to have a great time, go see Kingsman: The Secret Service. I’m hard pressed to think of a better time I’ve had at the cinema in quite a while.

The trailer, back when it was released, was enough to intrigue me, but it also left me worrying this would be another hastily rendered spy movie that was at best mildly entertaining. The way the trailer was edited made me wonder if the main character would be hard to like, and if Samuel L. Jackson’s super-villain would be more irritating than not. As it would turn out, it was just an instance of misleading trailer editing, an all too common problem. Taron Egerton’s turn as our protagonist ‘Eggsy’ was wildly likable, and Samuel L. Jackson’s lines were actually perfect when allowed the proper pacing for humor or tension, or both in most cases.

Taron Egerton truly was great. His performance had the perfect mixture of cockiness and vulnerability that is so coveted in roles like this, but can be really hard to get right. He made it look effortless. He has all the makings of a star, and the higher than expected opening weekend for Kingsman is going to speed his ascension.

Anyone who has read this blog at all knows that a contemporary take on a genre that is at once a sendup and a celebration is a quick way to my heart when done well. Kingsman is so very much that. It’s hilarious, dark, and violent, not to mention risky with it’s solid R rating for a movie that would often have been watered down to increase the box office with a PG-13 sticker. Instead, it pulls no punches (and throws in some dirty extra jabs), and does to the gentleman spy sub-genre what Kick-Ass did to capes and tights. Unsurprising, since both films are adaptations of Mark Millar comics.

Best of all, this is just the world-building and table setting for a franchise that could bring joy to audiences for some time. Especially because it leaves more possibilities for future installments than Kick-Ass did, which is a part of what led to that horrible sequel.

© 2014 Twentieth Century Fox