Yes, it's the secondary effects that require energy.
A ship launched vertically must not only get the kinetic energy of final velocity, it must also balance against the pull of gravity (i.e. energy required to hover) during vertical ascent. It must also overcome air resistance.
An aircraft launch, ie. taking off horizontally, means that forward motion, requiring less initial energy, can create the lift to balance gravity. However, it runs longer, so basically what horizontal lift does is expend about the same amount of energy, but spread over a longer time with weaker engines; possibly more because you are fighting air resistance for a longer time while going horizontally.