Musings About Music In Film

Kingsman: The Secret Service

By Karol Krok kingsman-online-exclusive-1-1

Title: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Composer: Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson

The Film: An adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic book (co-created with Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons) features an all-star cast and tells a story of a how one superspy recruits a street kid to become a spy and face global threat. Apparently quite subversive Kingsman: The Secret Service received solid reviews from critics.

The Score: Henry Jackman finds himself collaborating for the fourth time with director Matthew Vaughan, while co-composer Metthew Mergeson works for him for the second time. Even though all the previous comic book films from Henry (X-Men: First Class, Captain America: The Winter Soldier) were scored in a modern way, Kingsman: The Secret Service features a much more traditional orchestral soundscape with some stylistic nods to Bond series (and other classic spy films, for that matter).

Distinguishing Features: The main Kingsman: The Secret Service theme is effective and has just as many faces as spies it depicts. It can be heard in the majority of tracks on the soundtrack album - heroic variations in 'Manners Maketh Man'), contemplative  solo piano statements in 'To Become a Kingsman', modern guitar-led version in 'Pick a Puppy' or mysterious and sexy woodwind quotes in 'Drinks With Valentine'. Apart from that, of particular note are: 'An 1815 Napoleonic Brandy' and its haunting choir passage and 8-minute 'Calculated Infiltration' which forms the extended action climax of this story.

Final Thoughts: While still somewhat stuck in the modern action ostinato patterns of contemporary action films in some places, Kingsman: The Secret Service manages to inject enough melody and orchestral texture to elevate it above several recent Henry Jackman scores for comic book films. The ever-present recognisable theme is a big plus. Undemanding fun.

Kingsman: The Secret Service is out now from La-La Land Records