Kingsman The Secret Service11 Jan 2016
Despite a few funny scenes, some dialog about “what type of movie this is,” and a central plot that draws heavily from the spy-movie genre, but updates it to include class warfare anxieties and fancier gadgets, Kingsman: The Secret Service falls apart in its third act. The writers were interested in upending some traditional rich, white, male centric tropes in this genre. They helped their case by bringing a woman spy into the fold, by focusing the future of this organization on a lower class upstart (however Horatio Algerian the language of “you don’t need a silver spoon” may be) and making some tongue in cheek jokes about the kind of movie they intended to make.
However, for every step in a positive direction, the writers chose to make the villain an impish black man (again, Sam Jackson may have done more to sully the image of black men in movies than any other actor acting, stop taking these roles, I implore you), sent the only woman spy in the movie into outer space only to literally phone-it-in during the film’s climax, and had the protagonist claim victory by banging an unknown character at the end. If that’s meant to be a commentary on the genre, like the other stuff, that remains unclear to me. The film also made some frenetic judgments about religious extremists, the poor masses and the ultra elite. Which of these deserved to die the most? Which was the film interested in saving? It’s all pretty unclear to me.