Scoring the film are Vaughn's frequent collaborators Henry Jackman (X-Men: First Class) and Matthew Margeson (Kick-Ass 2), who bring a youthful energy and cheeky heroism to the film's music. The two composers, who collaborated most significantly on the Vaughn-produced Kick-Ass 2, have a blast with this score, constructing a thoroughly entertaining main theme and writing quite a bit of high-octane action music. After listening to it, you can just imagine the director's feedback: "More fun! More energy! More fun! More energy!" And that's not a bad thing at all.
"Manners Maketh Man" starts the score off with an energetic performance of the main theme, complete with a retro-orchestral stinger at 0:28. The score contains a lot of these moments meant to be reminiscent of classic spy scoring (campy stingers, vibraphone, emphasis on guitar, etc.), but it never completely abandons Jackman and Margeson's modern sound. "Medallion" offers a quiet moment that builds to a sweeping crescendo of the main theme and "Valentine" introduces the curious sound of the film's villain, Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), a mix of a major-key woodwind and deep electronics. "To Become A Kingsman" builds on an ostinato motif of the first six notes of the main theme, before erupting into a bold rendition of the theme itself. If it's not apparent by now, Jackman and Margeson's main theme really dominates this score, though a "b-theme" occasionally appears for the Kingsman, as in the latter half of "To Become A Kingsman". Things turn slightly foreboding in "To Pick A Puppy", before a determined performance of the b-theme takes center state, balanced by horn phrases at 1:30 strongly reminiscent of Jackman's material for the Falcon in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
We return to Valentine's ominous meandering in "Drinks with Valentine" before the excitement gets ramped up again in "Skydiving", a suitably thrilling piece that gets increasingly hectic in its latter half (with some excellent brass-work). Valentine's electronics lurk back into the forefront of "Shame We Had to Grow Up", while tapping cymbal and breathy woodwinds lend the cue a cheeky suaveness. "Curious Scars and Implants" continues in this vein and then gives way to weighty drama in the surprisingly emotional "Toast to a Kingsman" and ethereal vocals in "An 1815 Napoleonic Brandy". "Eat, Drink, and Paaaaarty" balances Valentine's material and Jackman's Falcon-esque brass writing, carrying the score to its standout action cue, "Calculated Infiltration", a raucous and thrilling piece that really heats up in its final three minutes. It's a hell of a lot of fun and Jackman and Margeson manage to get a ton of mileage out of their different motifs here, all propelled by Jackman's rapid-fire style of action writing. After a little more action in "Hand on the Machine", "Finale" sends the score off with an electric guitar-driven piece more heavily reminiscent of Kick-Ass than anything else in the score.
Kingsman: The Secret Service ultimately amounts to a great deal of fun and, for that, most listeners will be able to forgive its faults. While the score occasionally veers one way more than the other, Kingsman strikes an effective balance between cheeky parody and earnest celebration of its influences, and Jackman and Margeson clearly have a blast doing so. I still prefer Kick-Ass 2 by a hair, but Kingsman: The Secret Service offers a worthwhile companion piece to that score and, at around 46 minutes long, a perfectly paced one too.
A Few Recommended Tracks: "To Become a Kingsman", "Pick A Puppy", "Toast to a Kingsman", "Calculated Infiltration"
Label: La-La Land
Availability: 15-track edition