We’re all familiar with the James Bond tropes before the current Daniel Craig outings. The typical plot line goes something like this: There’s an over the top threat to the world and James must save us by infiltrating, seducing and fighting his way across several exotic locations before a final showdown where he barely defeats the villain and is rewarded with copious amounts of sex as credits roll. Be assured that there are plenty of quips and double entendres along the way and that there is a diabolical henchman involved possessing some skill or physical attribute that makes it seem like our hero has no chance of victory.
Kingsman: The Secret Service takes these familiar plot lines and gives it a hard R twist with its violence. It is loosely based on comic titled The Secret Service by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. It is directed by Matthew Vaughn and stars Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton , Samuel L. Jackson and Sophie Cookson.
The film opens in 1997, where we see 4 men interrogating a captured terrorist. The terrorist raises his head to reveal a grenade pin in his mouth. One of the interrogators throws himself on top of the terrorist, thus saving the others. Colin Firth’s character, Harry (codename Galahad), was in charge of that mission. Harry visits his fallen friend’s wife and attempts to give her a medal in her husband’s memory. There is a phone number on the back of the medal in case she needs a favor, and to say “Oxford’s not brogues” to confirm her identity. She rejects the medal and so Harry give the medal to her son, Gary.
17 years later, another Kingsman operative is attempting the rescue of a kidnapped Professor. The operative is almost successful until he is killed in over the top fashion by Gazelle, a female assassin with bladed prosthetic legs.
This opening sequence sets up the plot threads for the film. Harry takes the teen, Gary, under his wing and begins his training to become a member of the Kingsmen. The scenes trade off between Gary and other candidate’s training and those that further reveal the villainous intentions of Sam Jackson’s Mr. Valentine.
Kingsman entertains with action set pieces that defy physics and ramp up the budget for blood spatter. One of the highlights of the film is an extended sequence that takes place in a church. Mr. Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson, speaking in only the 2nd most annoying voice this year, has created technology that uses cell phone signals to turn people into murderous hordes. His first test case of the mass murder network he created is in this church. We see an incredibly choreographed sequence of death and destruction in excruciating detail and slow motion that leaves Harry as the sole survivor. Upon emerging from the church, Harry regains his composure and has a fateful encounter with Mr. Valentine. This sets up the plot for the final act of the film.
Kingsman is a fun action movie for its demographic. My problem with the film is that I’m not sure how to take violence that is shown in such gleeful, glorious detail and I’m definitely uncomfortable with the notion of a female character offering sex as a reward for her freedom. (Admittedly a staple of the Roger Moore James Bond years, but at least it was inferred and not graphically described).
Should I take this as just a modern take on an old formula or should I take it as where we’ve come as a society because we are so desensitized to sex and violence in today’s cinema? I think the answer to this may unfortunately say more about us than it does about the film.
Kingsman: The Secret Service-B
Finally, an official movie trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2!
I found this article on Aintitcoolnews.com and honestly, I agree and could not say it any better. So I’m posting Harry Knowles article about Captain America. So may I preface this in saying “AMEN!” Enjoy!
I get a little pissed off when people denigrate CAPTAIN AMERICA. Of course, I am a 5th Generation Eagle Scout – that was born and raised in a Comic Book & Movie Collectibles business. CAPTAIN AMERICA is the soul of the Marvel Universe. He’s the constant reminder of the ideals of what the United States of America used to mean.
He came from an era, where our moral compass was solid. When there was true evil in the world and Captain America gave a generation that saw their fathers, uncles and older brothers go into battle against a technologically superior force, at least at the beginning. Cap was there in the pages, the spirit of the fight, he was Uncle Sam with fists to bash in the supernatural and super science perils that the Axis threw at us. He was fiction, but fiction that espoused a belief in the red, white and blue.
The world has changed, mostly America has changed. Our moral compass isn’t what it used to be. Today we fight amongst ourselves… Cap stands as a reminder that divided we fall. Something that has been entirely forgotten in our warring two party system.
Some cynical types consider Captain America “goofy” – thinking of him as a blind patriotic tool, but he isn’t. Captain America is the fighting spirit of the United States. He roots out evil, both foreign and domestic, and he fights to preserve and inspire the union in which he so believes. At least for me.
I certainly understand the current abuse of our American symbols, where we have people that wrap themselves in the American flag – without even the slightest understanding of what it means.
Today, PARAMOUNT / MARVEL has released the teaser poster for THE FIRST AVENGER: CAPTAIN AMERICA… and it is a somber piece. Mud and dirt exploding behind him. His shield with the paint war scarred. His helmet off and his head in mourning – and I find myself wondering what atrocity, Captain America is about to avenge, as the words state. Will we see BUCKY die in this film? I do not know, nor do I want to. I do know we’re going to see the RED SKULL do some pretty bad damage – and we certainly know what the Nazis are capable of. We know how much blood was spilt in WWII, so there’s a lot for the fighting spirit of America to pound into the dirt.
In my living room at my house, hanging for the last year and a half is my original CAPTAIN AMERICA serial one sheet from 1944. Right now – I ran my computer down to the dining hall where there’s about 8 WWII veterans, and I showed them the CAPTAIN AMERICA poster and it made them smile. I’d talked to George (my 93 year old roommate) about Cap – and he told me that every service man in the Navy, which was where he served, loved CAPTAIN AMERICA. His outrageous antics were discussed in bunks and each soldier kind of felt a little bit like Cap.
Maybe spending two and a half weeks geeking with these old timers has made me a bit more sentimental, but I doubt it. I love CAPTAIN AMERICA, just as I love the era from whence he sprouted. He was a national hero… a man, too sick to serve, but through super science became the pinnacle of physical perfection.