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  • Stefan Riedlinger

Kingsman - Henry Jackman & Matthew Margeson - Soundtrack Review

This review is a little later than normal, I have to apologize for this. I was in Germany to celebrate the 75th birthday of my mom, and I had not enough time to write a new review. Also, I want to listen to the soundtrack again, and furthermore, decided to reduce the size of words for each review, so you have not to read so much and can concentrate more on the music afterwards.

This and next week, I will review two soundtracks from actual movies you can see in the theatre right now. I did not expect this, but these two soundtracks are so enjoyable, I want to give you suggestions to buy these recent scores.

The movie

"Kingsman: The Secret Service" is a 2014 action spy comedy film, directed and produced by Matthew Vaughn. The screenplay, written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman, is based on Dave Gibbons's and Mark Millar's comic book series of the same name. The film follows the recruitment and training of Gary "Eggsy" Unwin (Taron Egerton), into a secret spy organisation. Eggsy joins a mission to tackle a global threat from Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), a wealthy megalomaniac wanting to deal with climate change in a both brutal and comedic fashion. Colin Firth, Mark Strong, and Michael Caine play supporting roles. Here is the trailer:

The movie is great fun. After seeing the preview, I expected this movie to be just another action movie with a lot of special effects and not a very good story. I was not sure whether I really want to see it, but after a long day at work I was exactly in the mood for this kind of movie, went to the nearest theatre here in San Francisco, and …. had great fun!! Of course, some splatter effects are too much, but what the heck, this is such a great and enjoyable movie with some great one-liners (e.g. “Thanks for the Happy meal”), and Colin Furth and Samuel L. Jackson are highly entertaining in their roles.

Matthew Vaughn directed the movie, based on the comic book “The Secret Service” by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar”. The movie follows first the recruitment and training of a potential secret agent, Gary "Eggsy" Unwin, with his competitors into a secret spy organization. Jackson is the bad guy, wealthy eco-terrorist, and Eggys will have to fight against him. I will not tell you more about the plot. Until now, the film has grossed over $295 million worldwide. A sequel is planned, I guess.

The music

The music is composed by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson. I did not know both composers before seeing the movie and could just find some information about Jackman. Born 1974, he is an English composer, arranger, pianist, musician, and songwriter, and best known for “ X-Men: First Class“, “Captain Phillips“, “Captain America” and „The Interview”. Shame on me, I did not see any of these movies so far. I am not such a big X-Men fan, and for Tom Hanks “Captain Philips” I was not in the mood.

Jackman is working together regularly with mentor Hans Zimmer and did some co-programming and co-writing for “The Da Vinci Code”, “The Dark Knight”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest” and “Kung Fu Panda”. He also has released three albums, “Utopia” (2003), “Transfiguration” (2005) and “Acoustica” (2007).

“Kingsman” is an action-score, from the beginning to the end. I really like that this score has some new ideas, some strong action writing and some nice melodies. The soundtrack album has 18 tracks, all action-orientated and enjoyable but also a little bit repetitive.

The first one “Manners Maketh Man” is a short piece and introduces the main theme during the first scenes in the movie. The second one, also a little short, is a quieter track and underscores the important medaillon given to Eggsy as a child, the piano part is very nice here. The third piece “Valentine” introduces the synthesizer theme for the bad guy, a little unusual way of instrumentation, but with a great effect in the movie, especially in a Dolby surround theatre. The next two tracks are focusing on the training scenes and reminds you sometimes of the old James Bond scores by John Barry, especially the use of the strings in “Pick a Puppy”.

We can skip the next track, and then we finally come to my favorite track of the soundtrack: “Skydiving” is a great action piece, a good mixture of electronics and orchestra, with the main theme at the beginning. This scene is also one of the best of the movie. The potential agents are jumping from a plane and then are told that one of them has no parachute….

We can skip the next four tracks – I did not want to tell you more about the story, the last three tracks are just pure action tracks for the big action showdown. The last track of the soundtrack is also one of the highlights. The composers created another fast moving action track with a high focus on percussion, strings and some electric guitar in the beginning, and some choir, but unfortunately, the end comes too fast and suddenly the album is over.

Overall, I like this score very much even though it is very typical for the soundtracks nowadays. They are mostly like a musical Big Mac, enjoyable at the beginning, but you will soon become hungry again and want to have more. The reasons for recommending this soundtrack are that it has a powerful main theme, some nice melodies, and with “Sydiving” a great piece of action music. Watch the movie first, and then decide if you want to buy the soundtrack to enjoy the music afterwards.

Here a short video clip:

Copyright © Stefan Riedlinger, 2015, all rights reserved. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Stefan Riedlinger.

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