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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Kingsman: The Secret Service movie review: forgets its manners

Kingsman The Secret Service red light

I cannot recall a film that left me with such a sour taste in my mouth by its end. Does the movie deliberately defy itself with obnoxious intent?
I’m “biast” (pro): love Colin Firth

I’m “biast” (con): the trailer did not inspire hope

I have not read the source material

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

This is not an gentlemanly movie.

Now, most movies are not very gentlemanly, and this isn’t necessarily a problem — except, perhaps, to those of us who lament the passing of true gentlemanliness as a thing a dude might aspire to. But it’s a honking huge problem forKingsman: The Secret Service. Because this movie makes such a big deal about how gentlemanliness is a thing a dude must exude, certainly if he wants to become a member of the titular elite society of gentleman spies and international men of mystery who answer to no government but only to the highest causes of justice, global peace, and elegance in bespoke attire.

And the movie ultimately betrays the foundations of its own premise in horrendously unforgivable ways.

It’s like this. Harry (Colin Firth: Before I Go to Sleep, Magic in the Moonlight), codename Galahad, recruits Eggsy (Taron Egerton), a kid from the wrong side of the London tracks, to be a member of the Kingsman. Eggsy doesn’t seem to be a good fit, what with all the other Kingsman so posh and at least figuratively noble. The society is funded by royal families across Europe, and they all have Knights of the Round Table spy names: Michael Caine (Interstellar, Now You See Me), their leader, is Arthur; Jack Davenport (Pirate Radio, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End) is another agent codenamed Lancelot; even their Q, played by Mark Strong (The Imitation Game, Before I Go to Sleep), is called Merlin. Eggsy pretty instantly sees that he doesn’t belong here, even if he has a genius IQ, coulda been an Olympic contender (as a gymnast), and dabbled in the Marines. But Harry assures Eggsy — director Matthew Vaughn appears to underscore this scene as containing A Very Important Message — that being a gentleman has nothing to do with where you come from, who your family is, what prep school you went to, what your accent sounds like, or any of that sort of thing. Being a gentleman is about how you behave. It’s about manners. And bespoke suits too, sure. But mostly about manners.

For a good half of its running time, Kingsman is a fairly mundane wannabe spoof of spy stories, as Eggsy goes through a testing regimen to see if he will be able to cut it as a member. I didn’t find it all that clever: characters keep self-referentially discussing the clichés of old spy movies yet insisting that “this isn’t that kind of movie,” when in fact it is totally that kind of movie, rife with the same old clichés, including the clichés that insist they’re about busting other clichés. (A lot of it feels like it has lifted beats and lines of dialogue from Men in Black, too.) Still, I wasn’t hating the film, and was truly enjoying Samuel L. Jackson (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, RoboCop) as Valentine, the villainous yet squeamish tech mogul who’s out to do something bad to the world and obviously must be stopped. And I was loving Firth, who, if there is any justice in moviedom, will soon be heading up a reboot of The Avengers as John Steed, now that we know how great he looks in bespoke Savile Row and what a gentlemanly action hero he can be.

But then the movie gave me pause: Then there comes a test that Eggsy is subjected to, and it has completely the wrong solution, if the Kingsman are truly the gentlemen they say they are.

And then the movie left me cold. Vaughn (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass) loves him some ultraviolence, and he offers us a scene of mass slaughter of innocents that is intended to be cool and funny and awesome, taking glee in barbaric bloody carnage that even the characters who are involved in it and are witnessing it are utterly appalled by, and absolutely do not find cool or funny or awesome. The scene is part of Valentine’s evil plan and is meant to convey to us just how evil his plan is… so why does Vaughn want us cheering at it?

Finally, once Eggsy has become a fully fledged Kingsman — oh, you knew that was inevitable, so it’s hardly a spoiler — and has donned the bespoke suit and assumed the mantle of the gentleman, he does something that no gentleman would do. No gentleman ever. This is the film’s final grand joke, played for huge laughs, and it was like a punch in the gut to me. It would be a terrible misfire even in a movie that hadn’t ostensibly been crafting Eggsy into a gentleman, but in this context, it’s positively nightmarish.

I cannot recall a film that left me with such a sour taste in my mouth by the time it came to an end. I was actually enraged. It’s almost as if Kingsman wants to obnoxiously defy itself.

Or else Vaughn is saying, “Fuck manners. Fuck gentility. Fuck kindness. Take whatever you can get, and smirk about it. Be a smug nasty bastard, and own it.”

In which case, I hate this movie even more.


See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Kingsman: The Secret Service for its representation of girls and women.


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Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
US/Can release: Feb 13 2015
UK/Ire release: Jan 24 2015

MPAA: rated R for sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content
BBFC: rated 15 (strong bloody violence, strong language)

viewed in 2D
viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • Rhoopy

    Don’t listen to this killjoy: The movie was great fun. I enjoyed it immensely, as did my girlfriend. The fact that this pretentious person didn’t like it makes me like it even more.

  • Why don’t you explain what was “great fun” about it? What did you enjoy about it? Why is it “pretentious” not to share your opinion?

  • james

    I’m in agreement with Rhoopy. The fun of the film is how it takes so many tropes of this genre and completely turns them on their heads. The main message of the film is, in my mind about doing what’s right, from *spoiler* Eggsy’s father’s sacrifice all the way to the final showdown. I’m Irish and I couldn’t help but cheer when the evil 1% all got their comeuppance to “Rule Brittania”. I feel you have misunderstood this film in the same way Paul Verhoeven’s ultra violent films had been in the past, and yet are celebrated now by cinephiles and scholars alike. His foe at the end of the film may be a woman, but the point is that the woman was someone with a disability that was still the most lethal and intelligent antagonist. She was his EQUAL in every way, and at this point gender should not be noticed because that’s what equality is supposed to be about. The large brawls (not slaughters) you find so upsetting are no worse or farcical than anything in Blazing Saddles. And they aren’t to be enjoyed, you are over-thinking the directors intent based on your own bias of distaste. This film offers an ugly mirror up to what espionage entails and as well as having some fun at it’s expense. Vaughn’s world is as hyper real as Tarantinos, who wins Oscars now yet was highly derided by hack snob bloggers such as yourself.

  • Danielm80

    By the end of the weekend, thousands of people will have seen the movie, and each of them will have an opinion about it. MaryAnn has been reviewing films for 17 years, and her reviews are posted here on the website, so they’re easy to find. I can read them and decide whether or not I’m likely to agree with her opinion about this film. You, on the other hand, I’ve never heard of before today. If you actually described what you liked about the movie, maybe I’d have some basis to form an opinion. But since you didn’t, I have no reason to trust your judgment any more than I trust the judgment of the thousands of other individuals who saw the movie.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh, soooo close, but couldn’t stick the dismount.

    Also, equality is not about not noticing differences.

  • The main message of the film is, in my mind about doing what’s right

    So tell me what you think was “doing what’s right” about what Eggsy does with the woman in the cell at the end at the film. Go on: I’ll wait.

    His foe at the end of the film may be a woman

    I said absolutely nothing about this character in my review. I think you’re making assumptions about what I’ve written that are unfounded.

    The large brawls (not slaughters)

    The church scene is an absolute slaughter.

  • James

    He sleeps with a princess of low morals, it no cruder than anything in a Connery Bond film. The fact that that’s what has upset you instead of him fighting a woman, which is actually the most ungentlemanly thing one can do shows you have no real grasp of your own argument. You just wanted to hate this to get clicks from rotten tomatoes.
    The church scene illustrates how effective the villains weapon is, as well as giving firth a chance to show his action man mettle, and how he loses his cool up against such reckless hate. He arguably shoots the woman before the brainwashing even begins. You probably didn’t even notice the Irony you were so busy looking for cracks. The weapon is tested in a hate-group church because hilariously the main villain is squamish about violence yet sees no problem in using the bigots as his guinea pigs. His judgement of them shows his villainy. And the price Firths character pays for his “sins” is payed moments later.

  • SPOILERS

    a princess of low morals

    WTF? “Low morals”? No. Eggsy takes sexual advantage of a traumatized woman. The princess is the ONLY character who stands up to Valentine’s bullshit, and she is then treated like dirt by Vaughn — by putting the words into her mouth that he does — and by his protagonist. And it’s all played for laughs.

    him fighting a woman, which is actually the most ungentlemanly thing one can do

    Except you just said it wasn’t! (And I never said it was.)

    The church scene illustrates how effective the villains weapon is

    And yet it is played for laughs and presented as being cool. It shouldn’t be. That scene should be horrifying.

  • james

    He asks the princess for a kiss, she then offers him anal, he then runs back to her with champagne and she’s somehow in Bond Girl lingerie nightwear. It’s a joke. He doesn’t take advantage of her, she isn’t traumatized. Again, look back over the bond catalogue, nothing more or less obscene or misogynistic. One could argue that these fantasy moments should remain in the 60’s, but the entire point of this film is to bring that sense of fun back.
    No I didn’t, I was assuming that was your qualm with the final act.
    I didn’t laugh, I was in awe of Firth’s choreography in this brutal scene that illustrates the weapons potency.
    This is your blog, you are more than entitled to your opinion, but at least be accurate about what has enraged you. Other issues you seem to have that are nothing to do with the film seem to bubbling underneath.

  • RogerBW

    The review makes it sound like the standard schlub-makes-good template: by being “true to himself” rather than doing what the smart people tell him he should, he overcomes the challenge and wins the day. But later comments suggest that it’s not even that.

    I suppose the filmmakers had an uphilll struggle since this is based on a comic by Mark “rape is just a horrible act to show that somebody’s a bad guy” Millar. But they probably didn’t actually struggle at all.

    Can anyone here recommend any good books about the visual grammars of film, the way in which a cameraman or director can point out that this act of bloody violence is nasty and brutal while that one is heroic?

  • she isn’t traumatized

    She’s been imprisoned for months!

    It’s a joke.

    It’s not in the least bit funny.

    sense of fun

    Oh my god, there is nothing fun in this scene. And I am damn tired of being expected to laugh at this misogynist crap.

    at least be accurate about what has enraged you

    It’s very kind of you to allow me my own opinion. You might also do me the courtesy of assuming I know my own mind.

  • Maybe I should write that book…

  • Jozhster

    Kingsman Spoiler Below!

    The main female co star beat eggsy in becoming a kingsman so she succeeded not Eggsy.

    One thing I will agree on is that at the end all she did was phone his mum, that was stupid.

  • Steven

    So two people talking in a sexual manner and then having sex is offensive to you ?

    Christ this world has lost the plot with being PC.

  • james

    I would if you weren’t so stupidly wrong about what you’ve seen. The scene you’re bafflingly most offended by is even in the trailers. Why did you go to this?

  • Stephen Burnett

    No, please don’t write anything else.
    We really don’t need any more moral indignation.
    Stop looking for things to be offended about, it’s no way to live.

  • SquigglySatires

    This is a weird review, because I actually feel like you nailed a lot of the film’s intended nasty subtext, but misread the target. I think your critique is generally spot-on: this is a cynical, nasty film, and by the end the gentlemen are far from gentlemanly. But what confuses me is why you think the film endorses this, rather than calling it out; it reminds me, a bit, of the people who thought Starship Troopers was accidentally echoing fascism, rather than overtly satirizing it.

    I don’t think the film is saying “fuck manners/gentility/kindness”, it’s saying “just because you dress brutality and sexism up in manners and sauveness doesn’t somehow make it not brutality and sexism.” And that’s precisely what James Bond is: a brutal, murderous thug enforcing the will of a first world nation who is deeply sexist at best and a rapist at worst (seriously, rewatch Goldfinger). But Bond gets away with it because he’s just so charming and debonair, and because the films deliberately hide the violence with cutesy action and cheeky puns, and the sexism behind giggling Bond girls and… well, cheeky puns. Bond lets you have your ‘celebrate a wealthy privilege spy murder people and harass women’ cake and eat it too, presenting purely the fantasy while tactfully sweeping the ugliness under the rug.

    Well, The Kingsman does no such thing. It shoves your nose in the ugliness, slams you with the misogyny, and completely undercuts the very idea of the suave gentleman spy it presents. It’s a scathing indictment of, not only James Bond, but the very cliche of the dashing agent who kills the bad guys and sleeps with the hot girl. The sour taste in your mouth isn’t accidental; it’s exactly the point. Is it really fun to watch upper class British men kill a bunch of people and exploit women? Is that what you paid to see for ‘fun’?

    It’s a nasty movie, for sure, a deeply cynical one, and one that absolutely defies the material it presents. But what I think you read as endorsement is in fact bitingly mean satire.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    She’s talking about a book on film theory, doofus.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I swear you’re getting more inane with each comment. Why did the professional film critic go see a film? Hmm, lemme think…

  • Whity

    Jesus dude, are you like her number 1 fan or some shit? All I ever see you do is stick up for this chick lmao

  • SeeJay the WeeJay

    “And I am damn tired of being expected to laugh at this misogynist crap.”
    How is a woman offering a man sex after being traumatized misogynistic? And how is he taking advantage of her? She’s offering him sex. He’s accepting.

    Are you saying that she automatically doesn’t consent because she was imprisoned for months?

    Who are you to say if a woman consents or not?

  • SeeJay the WeeJay

    Based on other reviews of hers that I’ve read, she’d probably be bad at it.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Satire’s tricky. It’s easy to mess up, exist largely in the eye of the audience, and even the best satire is seldom seen as such by everyone. And frankly, neither Millar nor Vaughn are Swift.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The sort thing about this thread? We’re gonna have to rehash it again in two weeks when the movie opens in the U.S.

  • SeeJay the WeeJay

    You mean more people disagreeing with her?

    OH THE HORROR

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    No, I mean more contentless dick-wiggling.

    But also more plonking. Bye now.

  • SeeJay the WeeJay

    I’ll bye now when I want to bye now, you fuck.

    I wouldn’t call a lot of the stuff I’ve seen here dick-wiggling to be honest. Some people are being dumb, but other people are offering up legitimate points.

    And frankly, her review is pretty awful.

  • LaSargenta

    Drinking cheap, red wine while posting?

    What’s plonking?

  • A man taking sexual advantage of a traumatized woman is not a gentlemanly thing to do. It offends me that the movie throws away its own ostensible premise for a cheap joke (that isn’t even funny).

  • Why did I go to this? Because that’s what film critics do. Are you for real?

  • The world needs a fuckload more moral indignation, as far as I can see.

  • Yeah, I didn’t see anything satirical. And I don’t think Matthew Vaughn wants us to be disgusted. If he does, he did a piss-poor job of it; the big crowd I saw this with (which was mostly not press) were roaring with laughter at all the things you say we’re supposed to be disgusted by.

  • Stephen Burnett

    Cool, well I’ll just stick to seeing the joy in things.
    Enjoy the bitterness.

  • I’m saying offering to let a stranger fuck you in the ass is not the first thing anyone is going to do in their first moments of freedom. Imagine it was a male prisoner who made that offer: Would it be plausible?

    And this is even worse in the larger context, because she was the *only* person to reject Valentine’s “offer.” And she gets reduced to a joke and to a sexual object given as a prize to the hero. Not cool.

  • People are welcome to disagree with me. They are not welcome to be assholes about it, or to drop insults without backing up their opinions.

  • I’m also one of the few who despised this film. It represents not just British cinema at its worst, but British society at its worst and feels like it was made by a committee of X-Factor contestants and UKIP councilors. I’m no prude but this was just plain nasty to me and left me as you say enraged by the end.

  • Nobody looks for things to be offended about, which is why they should be highlighted when they do spring up.

  • I hate that we have to say “I’m no prude” when discussing one of the huge problems with this movie. As if not wanting to see abuse and degradation was somehow a sign of repression.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Long week.

    “Plonking” involves hushing, muting, blocking, or otherwise making it so one does not have to even see other people’s nonsense.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Yes, you’re clearly quite good at only seeing the joy.

  • SquigglySatires

    Sure, but plenty of people cheered the blatant fascism in Starship Troopers or sincerely celebrated Jordan Belfort in Wolf of Wall Street; that doesn’t negate the fact that those films are critiques. People not getting satire is almost inevitable.

    I don’t mean to start a whole “Death of the Author” debate, and I certainly can’t read Vaughn’s mind, so I’m just taking the text as presented, which seems to me fairly clear: These so-called gentlemen are deeply concerned with the trappings of upper class wealth and privilege, but are, ultimately, brutal sexist thugs. Given the movie’s obvious and overt acknowledgement that its ‘gentlemen’ are, in fact, an homage to Bond, and given what a valid critique this is of the Bond mythos (the older movies just get worse and worse as time goes on), it seems like a clear commentary: in the end, for all his martinis and suits and sports car, Bond was a brute and a rapist. And what is the idea of a ‘gentleman’, anyway, besides a mask adopted by the privileged upper class to cover the hegemony and power they wield and exploit to control and dominate the world? Do you really think it’s a coincidence that the primary antagonist of the film is a climate change advocate?

  • SquigglySatires

    Let me quote the great FilmCriticHulk on it: “It’s the most jet black, cynical, class-seething studio offering in years. But [Vaughn] dresses it up as a blockbuster…. like the Wolf of Wall St, he doesn’t let you off the hook… Nobody makes big movies this honest about their fucked-up themes.”

  • plenty of people cheered the blatant fascism in Starship Troopers or sincerely celebrated Jordan Belfort in Wolf of Wall Street;

    And they also laughed at Bozo the clown.

    These so-called gentlemen are deeply concerned with the trappings of upper class wealth and privilege, but are, ultimately, brutal sexist thugs.

    They’re not. What are you basing that on? We only see Eggsy behaving in a sexist way. There is no evidence whatsoever that Harry or the other members of Kingsman could be called that. (Even the wrong solution to the test I alluded to doesn’t quite measure up to that. In fact, it so contradicts everything we’ve seen up to then that that’s why it stood out to me.)

    Bond was a brute and a rapist.

    That may well be true, but there’s no critique of that here. At all.

    And what is the idea of a ‘gentleman’, anyway, besides a mask adopted by the privileged upper class to cover the hegemony and power they wield and exploit to control and dominate the world? Do you really think it’s a coincidence that the primary antagonist of the film is a climate change advocate?

    Did we see the same film? The gentlemen of the film — whom you are equating to the 1 percent — are battling the 1 percent! The villain is of the 1 percent. Your argument makes no sense at all.

  • I don’t care what any other film critic has said. I stand by my review.

  • Steven

    Traumatized ? While she was obviously entrapped for a long time, her character hardly seemed to be frightened type. She was willing to die before joining Samuel L Jackson and told him to clear off when he asked again.

    So do you really think she’d have sex with the young guy unless she really wanted to ? I think youre reading way too much into this scene just like everyone else who’s critiqued it.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    You’re clearly not quoting FCH, because you only have, like, 6 capital letters there.

    Also, I like FCH too, but you know, he’s been wrong more than a couple times.

  • Enjoi1991
  • Enjoi1991

  • Maybe you’re not reading enough into it.

  • You’re not new here. So you know that dropping an insult and running away does not cut it here. Engage with the review and the other commenters, or don’t bother.

  • DaFlipp

    I saw this movie as part of an early screening in the U.S., and eagerly anticipated your review to see if you found it as weirdly, unnecessarily sexist as I did.
    The funny thing is, they had the bones of an excellent film in here – Colin Firth’s character in particular was extremely fun and classy, and Samuel L Jackson’s villain was an interesting take on an old archetype. The Knights of the Round Table as super-spies could have been so much fun!
    But the “main” character made no impact on me, the ultraviolent sequences felt completely at odds with the “We’re total gentlemen” aesthetic (and if, as an earlier poster implied, this was meant satirically, it was an unclear parody at best – the movie certainly seemed to revel in its excesses, rather than criticize them), and ugh, that ending “joke” just left me and my girlfriend looking at each other uncomfortably… while the audience around us burst into uproarious laughter, because the lowest common denominator will sadly always have its adherents.
    In short, it sort of felt like two films vying for the same screentime – a generic hyperviolent Hollywood blockbuster and a classy British spy film. I could’ve used less of the former and considerably more of the latter.

  • Hhbbgg

    Broadly liked the movie so I initially was interested to try and counter your point but I actually agree with much of what’s been said. The last joke/scene really did spoil things

  • james

    Bloggers are not critics. Your trolling is inane.

  • james

    REALLLY? I know you have no clue based on that reply. You knew ahead of time you would find this juvenile and yet you went anyway because a bad review gets way more clicks. But all of your points have been defeated by me and others chiming in. You are a blogger, an opinion on the internet, like everyone else, and your critical abilities are not competent. As I said before, the scene you despise the most is IN THE TRAILER so you have absolutely no business being appalled when you weren’t forced by anyone to review or even see it.

  • Bluejay

    Evidence that she’s “just” a blogger: Your claim

    Evidence that she’s a professional critic: All of this

    I’ll go with the hard evidence, thanks. But you know what: No matter who the reviewer is, EVERY movie review is an opinion, and not all of them will line up with yours. Get used to it.

    you have absolutely no business being appalled when you weren’t forced by anyone to review or even see it.

    So you’ve never thought that a movie sucked, even when you voluntarily saw it?

    But hey, let’s go with your logic. You have no business being appalled by her review, since no one forced you to read it.

  • LaSargenta

    No ads on this site, so clicks mean nothing. Nothing.

    She’s a critic, gets paid to see movies and review them. She’s seen a lot of things, some she praises, some she pans, some get a bit of each.

    Don’t understand your reasoning for discounting her opinion; but, hey, feel free to…but leave the insults and faux outrage at her temerity in posting an opinion different from yours.

  • bronxbee

    get off the site then and go find one that agrees with your childish attitude, prose and descriptives.

  • james

    The “outrage” is that she’s saying the film ends in rape, which is a lie or an error on her part. If I made a film and someone said that about my work I would have a right to defend it. I simply liked the film enough to protest the error/lie and you’ve all come out of your faux feminist hives (see what I did there?).

  • james

    You should be banned for insulting my prose. Won’t someone think of my prose’s children?

  • JG18

    Let me get this straight – you’re arguing for a realistic evaluation of how a normal prisoner would react after having being imprisoned for a period of time but somehow the fact that she was *reclining on a comfortable sofa with pillows* in a cell about as big as my first apartment satisfied your desire for realism????? (FYI, I’m female, and within the context of a spoof of Bond movies *and* because this was a voluntary offer rather than an attempt at domination, this scene didn’t bother me at all.)

  • Bluejay

    The “outrage” is that she’s saying the film ends in rape, which is a lie or an error on her part.

    No, it’s a difference of interpretation. Get used to it.

    The problem isn’t that you’re disagreeing with MaryAnn. The problem is you’re engaging in personal attacks: you call her a “hack snob blogger” who is “stupidly wrong” and “not competent,” and you think “feminist” is an insult. That makes you an asshole, and assholes are not welcome here. I’m surprised MaryAnn hasn’t blocked you already.

  • LaSargenta

    She never says it ends in rape.

    “Sexual advantage” doesn’t necessarily equal rape, and MAJ decried the stupidity of writing a script that has a character sprung from a long imprisonment suggesting anal sex without any foreplay. If you believe that’s possible, you’re never coming anywhere near my bedroom, sugar tits.

    Feel free to not agree with her or me or whomever; but, you don’t get to be nasty without people calling you on it.

  • the movie certainly seemed to revel in its excesses, rather than criticize them

    Exactly.

  • she’s saying the film ends in rape,

    An outright lie.

    If you are unable to carry on a reasonable facsimile of adult conversation, please take yourself elsewhere.

  • you’re arguing for a realistic evaluation of how a normal prisoner would react after having being imprisoned for a period of time but somehow the fact that she was wearing filmy lingerie and reclining on a comfortable sofa with pillows in a cell about as big as my first apartment satisfied your desire for realism????

    Er, no. Why on earth would you think that? That’s absurd too. It’s part of the whole absurd “joke” that I am railing against. And your argument is so disingenuous that I have to wonder what reason you can have for making it.

    I *am* arguing that if the male characters are allowed realistic motivations for their actions — which they are — then the princess’s is risible.

    The princess was the only person *we saw onscreen* reject Valentine. Or, hey, maybe one of those other people — like a *man* — could have offered to let Eggsy fuck him in the ass. What do you think?

  • rusty

    up until you said misogynist, you had my full backing. You absolutely have the right to your view and these jerks need to stop telling you what to think, it really is disgraceful. I don’t think they mean harm, only to express their view a little loudly.
    I really appreciate you’ve put such an effort into this article and done your best to maintain a balanced perspective. I recognise you appreciate gentlemanly qualities, but you spoiled the whole thing with one word, misogynist.
    This word is manipulative and deceitful, it’s the political card one plays when they don’t know where to go in an argument. These guys were total jerks and you lowered yourself to their standard in one word.
    I’ll be honest with you. I really, really don’t like sexist people. It’s not the only thing I’m passionate about, but it’s up there. I put feminists as the most blatantly and aggressively sexist people I typically come across. Until I saw you drop the “m” word (and that hashtag about “what women think” rather than “what people think”, you fully had me on board).
    Sorry for the rant. I wanted to let you know that in many ways I support you and recognise How much effort you’ve put in.
    I’m not going to read anymore here, for I fear I may dig deeper and be disappointed more.
    My parting advice: drop the propaganda words and sexist fringe connotations. Tell these people that everyone has a right to an opinion, you respect that right but in this instance, agree to disagree. Don’t fall back on feminist propaganda words or ideas… They only serve to undermine the other great work you do.

  • rusty

    James, James.
    I haven’t respected a single post of yours here. You continue to insult and personally attack. Stupid you say? For keeping an open mind and watching the film? I respect the author for that.
    MaryAnn has the right to an opinion, as do you. You have shown her no respect, because her view differed from yours. That’s not acceptable. You need to learn to respect differences in others, not necessarily agree.
    I can’t help but feel you’ve tried to bait MaryAnn into a slinging match. Even if I’m not right on that point, ask yourself why I’ve come to that conclusion. Is it possible your messages are being misconstrued?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    That the word “misogynist” makes you, personally, uncomfortable does not make the word wrong. And if you agreed with everything said right up until that word means you didn’t really agree with anything being said.

  • Oh, dear. You don’t think misogyny exists, do you?

  • cmon

    Get the F#$% over yourself. It’s people like you that look for things to be offended over.

    And are you not embarrassed to be unprofessionally arguing with someone who disagrees with you? Show a little class and professionalism. Good lord.

  • cmon

    Are YOU for real? Do you think Ebert, may he rest in peace, would get into a comment argument on a website? I’d be embarrassed if I were you.

  • cmon

    Coming from the IDIOT who just used the term “fuckload”.

  • cmon

    Maybe you’re HYPERSENSITIVE

  • Bluejay
  • Dr. Rocketscience

    What do you mean? Ebert used to get into arguments on his website all the time. I had an exchange with him myself once. Just a couple posts back and forth, but still.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Well, you’re certainly all class.

  • Totally Agree

    I totally agree with this review. I was sort of enjoying the film, trying to keep an open mind about the violence and the tone, but the final scene completely ruined it for me! I felt like I’d been taken for a mug, basically – like, ‘Ha-ha, puny female – you just sat through what you thought might have been satire, but was really just a sneaky chauvinistic ploy to implicate you in some sick male fantasy!’ A bit like life, sadly.

  • Wolfe

    I was already going to watch it. Listening to you lecture on and on here, and having perused some of your other reviews, I will do so now with the knowledge that it will annoy you. Thank you for enhancing my viewing pleasure.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    You’re adorable.

  • nathan

    I actually think it’s quite sexist to assume that the woman in this scene would be the traumatised victim you claim she is. Let’s not forget the protagonist has just been through what might be considered as a traumatic experience, why shouldn’t he been seen as the traumatised person who is being taken advantage of by the princess?

  • Wolfe

    Ain’t I? Thanks for noticing. :)

  • Bluejay

    I highly doubt that your movie-watching decisions will have even the slightest impact on her day. (Or on anyone’s day.)

    But if the imagined annoyance of complete strangers makes you happy — hey, whatever floats your boat. Clearly some boats float in very shallow waters.

  • Wolfe

    Consider my boat afloat then, Mr White Knight sir! :D

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Yeah, but why are the cute ones always so dumb?

    Bye now.

  • Danielm80

    So you said to yourself, “I read this review and really disliked it. I think I’ll look for more of MaryAnn’s reviews to see if I hate them, too”? I guess the sort of person who seeks out pain might also enjoy causing pain in others, which would explain why you’re going this far out of your way to annoy MaryAnn.

    Of course, your plan will only work if she has a very specific mentality. She has to think: “I can’t stand it when anyone enjoys something that I don’t like!” I’m not sure why she would want to deny anyone pleasure, or why she’d hate the idea that the world has people with different points of view.

    I thought the goal of a film critic was to make people happy by steering them toward movies they’ll enjoy (and helping them avoid the other kind). But then, I also thought that people who disagreed with MaryAnn’s reviews would just stop reading them and look for a critic whose taste they like better, rather than treating her writing as a personal attack. I guess I was wrong.

  • Wolfe

    Ta-ta!

  • Wolfe

    I think you’re a little more invested in this than I am, so I’ll leave you to your rambling.

  • radiowarsx

    You’re not very good at your job.

  • Bluejay

    Of course, your plan will only work if she has a very specific mentality. She has to think: “I can’t stand it when anyone enjoys something that I don’t like!”

    The converse of this is, of course, “I can’t stand it when anyone dislikes something that I enjoy!” Which seems to be the mentality of those who personally attack critics for their reviews.

  • RogerBW

    I think there’s a terrible insecurity at the root of it. “I loved (this film): if that smart person over there points out problems with it that I didn’t notice, they’re saying I’m wrong!”

  • Danielm80

    It’s always interesting to see which reviews get flooded with trolls and offended fans. Anything with a lot of sex and female nudity tends to draw a certain amount of outrage. And children’s films get a lot of defenders, because they’re for kids and, I guess, above criticism.

    Mark Millar adaptations also seem to attract angry commenters. I think it’s the combination of sex, violence, and world-weary cynicism. I wonder if his writing style makes people feel wise and sophisticated. Maybe they’re upset by the suggestion that they’re not.

  • Danielm80

    People seem to think a movie reviewer is like a notary public. If a critic gives a film a negative review, it’s officially certified as a Bad Movie, so anyone who likes it is ignorant and uncultured. A few seconds’ thought would show the flaws in that idea, but I guess some people feel personally insulted and can’t give the review a few seconds’ thought.

  • It’s cute that you think I care one way or the other whether you see this movie or not.

  • Cut it out or get banned from posting here.

  • You’re hilarious.

    Yes, clearly, I am the sexist one here.

  • Wolfe

    By all means, ban away then! :D

  • Wolfe

    You cared enough to reply at least :D
    Playing the apathetic card doesn’t really work when you take the time to reply now does it?

  • Bluejay

    That argument works both ways, kid. You’re still here, and still replying.

  • Wolfe

    Clearly sir, you do not understand the nuances of trolling.

  • Wolfe

    The world has enough people walking around with sticks up their arse without you feeling a need to add another, thank you.

  • Wolfe

    Yes, you are. Nice of you to take note of your own short comings. A fresh change of pace for you, no doubt.

  • Bluejay

    Ha! I *knew* you couldn’t stay away. You’ve replied to every single comment you’ve gotten from us; you must really, REALLY care what we think of you.

  • Wolfe

    Yes, I do love a good troller roll. Keep it coming, this goes delightfully well with my morning dark roast. ;)

  • Bluejay

    You’re still replying, sweetie. Boy, you really need this, don’t you?

  • RogerBW

    Please do not feed the troll.

  • Wolfe

    Evidently you do as well. Let us dance the tango of the internet comment thread! <3

  • Danielm80

    I appreciated this comic strip on the topic of not having precisely the same interests as another person:

    http://xkcd.com/1480/

  • FeelMyPuddle

    I don’t think that you should view a film from the point of what did the director want me to feel, you felt disgusted at the action. They explained that it was horrible, no characters in the film thought it was cool.

    So does it matter that the director shot it as an action sequence?

    Also, could you add in another bais, that you dislike people from the rougher side of London.
    Personally I don’t think that people should strive to be a rich aristocrat, and that’s what the film is saying. You can be a gentleman without being pompous and looking down your nose at people.

    In the end he was a gentleman. Just not one with a silver spoon up his a***.

  • So does it matter that the director shot it as an action sequence?

    Of course it matters. *How* a story is told matters.

    You can be a gentleman without being pompous and looking down your nose at people.

    Of course you can. And that’s what the movie says… up to a point. That’s a message I was appreciating.

    But you cannot be a gentleman and do what Eggsy did at the end of the film.

  • sam

    Spoiler

    I think it was a pretty interesting movie
    Dont entirely disagree with your review
    1. With regards to the church scene for me it was super stylish and cool at the start but as the fight goes on it made me feel uneasy as you realize a few things.

    – This was a hate church so initially you feel sorta “cool” with them all killing each other it lets you cheer for the fact that harry is slaughtering these people

    -Towards the end it felt uneasy, you sense that this slaughter is horribly wrong. As harry regains control of himself hes left in complete shock of what hes done (this gets him killed as he loses his edge from this) that you understand the effectiveness of the weapon and it is horrifying.

    “The main message of the film is, in my mind about doing what’s right”

    No that’s wrong
    The main message of the film is about change, there was a scene where Eggsy is asking about the gadgets and harry says that they are no longer used because they dont hold up to modern times which i think applies to the Kingsman themselves….why do i think this ?
    -Harrys “gentleman’s code” gets him killed
    -Eggsys father is killed following same code
    so this whole notion of gentleman is some romantic shit that has no place in modern times.
    -Arthurs character realizes this and chooses a new path albeit the wrong one
    – We then have Eggsy who we are told throughout the movie is no gentleman. He tries to redefine what it means to be a gentleman in a modern age using his street smarts and teachings from harry

  • King416

    Oh shut the fuck up MaryAnn! The end scene was the best scene ever! Movie was amazing. Don’t be jealous. I’m sure someone will give you dick in the ass!

  • Thailand Move

    If it’s not a review of a cooking or cleaning product why would anyone read a single word from this troll spewing her lesbian propaganda? Someone too stupid to know their opinion is truly invalid if they review a movie from one genre and apply their own narrow minded mindset.

  • Elle

    I just saw this is Australia and I completely agree with you! Thank you for putting it so eloquently when I couldn’t find the words to express my views to my boyfriend who found it immensely entertaining

  • Shela

    Depends on how handsome the stranger is…

  • *Really*?

  • rosesroses111

    MaryAnn. Thank you for your review – I think you absolutely nailed it. I left the cinema feeling physically upset by the final scene and the undertones of misogyny (yep – I said it people – read it and weep). I feel horrified that in 2015 this anal sex gag could be found amusing. Is it really? Felt like gagging on my popcorn to put me out of my misery. It’s not only offensive. It’s a really crap joke. Bum pun intended. Must remember this one and add to my repertoire. How does it go again? Woman, sorry Princess, gets locked up for her views, boy saves world, woman so delighted she offers him the highest reward imaginable -her anus. Geddit? I can’t breathe – it’s so funny.
    Anyway – MaryAnnn you rock. You haven’t budged and I am very grateful that you didn’t. Guess what trollers – I’m a feminist! Bite me.

  • JG18

    First, regardless of whether the princess is the only person seen on-screen rejecting Valentine, the fact that other people have rejected him and are similarly imprisoned is made clear and mentioned a few times.

    More importantly, obviously there has to be *some* motivations for the actions taken by characters or this would be an exercise in surrealism. Saying that “the male characters are allowed realistic motivations for their actions” is a legitimate argument for psychoanalyzing the princess’s motivations realistically is ludicrous. You’re arguing for a realistic scenario of imprisonment and its psychological
    effects in a movie that is clearly a fantasy and an homage to a specific type of spy film that was sexist because of the period in which they were set.

    If the woman was taken against her will or given to the hero as some sort of prize by *someone else*, I might buy your argument about misogyny but that is not the case here.

  • Moi

    Absolutely spot on review – I felt the exact same way about the violence and ludicrous anal “joke” at the end. So disappointing that once again a hollywood film has opted a storyline in which the women are just merely supporting the advancement of the male characters or are objectified as sexual objects. YAWN.

  • Fred

    Unfortunately it appears that the reviewer of this film has some serious mental problems and is unable to understand the world except via a very distorted and perverted lens.

    The film is great fun and well worth spending your hard earned cash on – providing you are capable of seeing the joke, and dealing with, shock/horror, a woman wanting anal sex.

    Hopefully the reviewer can get the help she so obviously needs.

  • RogerBW

    You really have a lot of emotional capital invested in making sure everyone thinks this is a good film, no dissenting opinions allowed. Have you considered getting help for that?

  • You’re arguing for a realistic scenario of imprisonment and its psychological effects in a movie that is clearly a fantasy

    No. I’m arguing that the sexual abuse of women not be seen as appropriate for comedic fantasy.

  • Sam

    The massacre scene in the church left me feeling pretty numb as well, I think either people are confused by the fact the freebird was playing in the background, or perhaps I’m just out of touch with current films, but that scene was beyond the pale- it was like the director was saying “look how insignificant human life is, i’m willing to make a party scene where hundreds of people are murdered and YOU’RE all just as willing to lap it up”. And it appears that is the case. Up until that part I just found the film kinda dull (that’s really just a matter of taste) but that scene was utterly surreal. The anal sex scene was pretty odd too.
    I’d also like to make a point that the reviewer didn’t touch on; the film’s political agenda is fairly shady. You have a literal eco-terrorist who wants to cull humanity in order to save the planet, I see this as an attempt to paint environmentalists as psychopaths who will do anything to achieve environmental aims (a common criticism). Secondly the film is sponsored by corporate interests who (obviously) are partially responsible for environmental issues. Then it’s dressed up in casual clothes to appeal to the lowest common denominator. That added to the film’s dismissal of the value of life made it a fairly cynical experience for me.
    Sincerely, another pretentious person

  • Tonio Kruger

    You obviously have led a charmed life if you are that offended by the word “misogynist.”

  • Thomas Watson

    Seeing Firth dish out the violence throughout will be somewhat career-redefining.

  • Hank Graham

    I am *totally* up for a CLEVERLY WRITTEN Avengers reboot with Colin Firth as Steed.

    But who would you choose as Emma Peel?

    My nominees would be Cate Blanchett or Emily Blunt.

  • Hank Graham

    For that matter, who ought there these days could do the writing?

    Sadly, I have no one I would nominate for that job, at the moment

  • JG18

    I see – you’re arguing that a woman voluntarily offering to have anal sex, and dressing in a sexy nightgown in anticipation of it, is sexual abuse

  • I am arguing that no gentleman would take advantage of a vulnerable woman in her situation, even if she “volunteered.”

  • Tonio Kruger

    Ben Elton? Kim Newman? Neil Gaiman?

    Of course, there’s always Joss Whedon but he so rarely uses British characters or strong women in his work that his writing would probably be a big disappointment. ;-)

  • Tonio Kruger

    I vote for the Angel of Verdun.

  • tsa

    Some women like ass sex it’s not taking advantage of someone to give them what they want. You don’t like it means you would probably not offer it but don’t hate on a movie that talks about sex in a way that makes you uncomfortable just say “that part made me feel weird because it reminded me of the time my boyfriend tried it with me and it hurt then I felt dirty and ashamed so every time the subject comes up I kind of relive it a little”

  • Hank Graham

    OOOooooooooo–Kim Newman. Now *there’s* one I’d go see.

    And don’t mess with my man, Whedon, now. :)

  • Danielm80

    Grant Morrison wrote a reasonably entertaining comic-book version back in the 1990s.

    I’d still go with Tom Stoppard, though.

  • J Craig Anderson

    What I learned from this comment thread: It’s a shame that we’re on the Internet, because in real life MaryAnn could just jangle some shiny keys in front of these mouth-breathing gamer gaters and they’d get distracted and forget what they were whining about in the first place.

  • J Craig Anderson

    This whole issue can be boiled down to the fact that some people lack basic sensitivity and empathy toward other human beings. Including the director of this film and those who are defending it. And nothing you say is going to make them understand why movies such as this are so repellent to those of us who actually care about movie characters and regard them as human beings rather than animated props.

  • I know. I wish I understood why these people even bother to read reviews in the first place.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    And her shoulders. OMG Emily Blunt’s shoulders in Edge of Tomorrow…

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Well, here’s another film that commits the cardinal sin of being boring.

    And the reason it couldn’t engage me was because of how tonally confused it is. Does it want to send up the Bond-type spy thrillers? Does it want to recreate them? Does it want to subvert them? The answer appears to be: yes, all three! But you can’t do all three at once. You can’t do “Austin Powers”, “Casino Royale”, and “The Bourne Identity” in the same movie. You can’t put the bar fight scene, the church scene, the “fireworks” scene, and that goddamn anal sex “joke” all in the same movie and expect it to work.

    Between this, “Kick Ass”, “X-Men: First Class”, and his script work on “Days of Future Past”, is it me, or is Mathew Vaughn just making the same movie over and over again? I could have sworn he was involved with “Wanted” (also based on a Mark Millar comic) as well, but maybe that’s the template Vaugh is working from.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Why, exactly, is she offering to have anal sex, right then and there? Is she just really into anal?

    Where, exactly, did she get the sexy nightgown from? Does she keep a spare in her hand bag, just in case?

    Why, exactly, is the Swedish princess character even in this movie? What purpose does she serve?

    Besides “because the script says so”, I mean.

    She’s absolutely given to Eggsy by “someone else”. Two someones else, to be exact: Mathew Vaughn and Jane Goldman. (Possible Millar and Dave Gibbons as well, but I haven’t read “The Secret Service”.)

    This is a tired, misogynist trope, that needs to be called out. If they were trying to play it straight, shame on them. If they were trying to subvert the trope, they failed epically. Here’s why: it is, by design and intent, an incredibly crude and tasteless joke (arguably the epitome of such). But it lacks a series of less crude and tasteless jokes before it, setting it up as the punchline. No recurring theme of women offering, or refusing, Eggsy or the Kingsmen straight sex; no scenes showing the princess to be a prude or virgin (not that that would have been good choice); no running, but subtle, anal sex jokes permeating the film. Instead, it just comes out of nowhere.

    “If I let you out, will you give me a kiss?” is cute and playful.

    “I’ll give you more than a kiss” is less so but still, acceptable.

    “If you save the world, I’ll let you put it in my asshole” is just wrong, and the movie didn’t earn the right to be that wrong.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Also: Eggsy. That fucking name. In no way can I take his character seriously if everyone is going to insist on calling him Eggsy. Especially when they do it long past the point when people should be calling him by one of the knight’s names. In fact, no matter what kind of movie you’re making, it should have ended with a new Galahad, a new Lancelot, and a new Arthur. Same old Merlin, though; Merlin always gets away unscathed.

    Also too: both Colin Firth and Harry Hart deserved better than the third act of this movie. Colin also deserves better than those wigs they kept putting him in. Great suits, though.

  • SquigglySatires

    I actually rewatched this movie because our conversation below raised some good questions, and the second viewing made me even more confident in my read: this is a DEEPLY subversive movie, a mean-spirited tear-down of the Bond mythos and a pretty brutal piece of satire.

    I think when you call something satire, there tends to be confusion, because a lot of contemporary satire ends with portraying your subject as a buffoon. There’s another way to do it, though, where you satirize something by calling attention to its subtext, by showing the extreme outcome of its worldview. This is what Verhoven does in Starship Troopers: he takes the fascist subtext omnipresent in late 80s/early 90s action flicks and makes it the explicit text, creating a film that celebrates the military victories of an overtly fascist culture and was eaten up whole by oblivious audiences.

    The Kingsman does the same thing, but with Bond. Every squicky thing about the Bond mythos, every morally problematic or culturally dubious element that the Bond films would like to gloss over, are instead shoved to the foreground, their ugliness rubbed in your face.

    Bond films implicitly treat women as sex objects, rewards for the hero’s valor? Kingsman EXPLICITLY offers a female characters as a sexual reward and in an incredibly crass and brazen way.

    Bond bloodlessly kills dozens of henchmen, with no regard for life or consequence? Kingsmen has one of its heroes murder dozens of people in the most brutal, gory, in-your-face way, and on top of it, they’re not henchmen but mind-controlled civilians.

    The Bond film’s obsession with the material privileges of wealth and aristocracy often has uncomfortable classist connotations? Kingsman is a film where class and aristocracy trumps all (the villain is, gasp, New Money, caring naught for aristocratic manners, and dares to eat, GASP, McDonalds), and the lower classes are universally thugs, hooligans, and degenerates.

    The ultimate text of the Bond films serves to reinforce Western military and political might, and reinforced conservative values? Kingsman is a film about a gallant group of white aristocrats battling a lisping, effete, black liberal in cahoots with Barack Obama (!!!!!!!)

    That’s the Kingsman in a nutshell: an ugly, mean-spirited, nasty film that’s really about pointing out the ugly, mean-spirited, nasty subtexts of one of cinema’s beloved franchises. It’s like that South Park episode, where they showed segments of the Book of Mormon with white text underneath saying “THIS IS WHAT MORMONS ACTUALLY BELIEVE”; the Kingsman is saying “THIS IS WHAT BOND MOVIES ARE ACTUALLY ABOUT”: sexism, classism, violence, and veneration of aristocratic wealth.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    It’s really not all that subversive, because it keeps shifting tone away from subversion, sometimes into parody (which is related but not the same), sometimes into straight homage. I agree the movie is often mean-spirited, but it’s careless about its targets. I think there’s some intent at satire, but it’s weak at best, and Vaughn undercuts himself at

    Kingsman EXPLICITLY offers a female characters as a sexual reward and in an incredibly crass and brazen way.

    As I mentioned downthread (or upthread, depending on how you’re displaying comments), there’s no set up for this moment, no context, no reason for it to occur in this movie. In fact, there are only 4 women in the film, and until that moment, neither Eggsy nor our Bond stand-in Harry (nor any of the other Kingsmen) interact with any woman in a romantic or sexual way. Just dropping it in here doesn’t really cut it, especially the way Vaughn goes way over the top with it, out of nowhere.

    Kingsmen has one of its heroes murder dozens of people in the most brutal, gory, in-your-face way, and on top of it, they’re not henchmen but mind-controlled civilians.

    This scene just doesn’t work like that at all. It doesn’t satirize, subvert, or even parody Bond. By taking away Harry’s agency in that scene, and then excusing him from facing the consequences of those actions, Harry is held harmless for all that bloody murder. Meanwhile, by setting the scene in the ridiculously bigoted church, even the audience is excused for, and even asked to, cheering Harry on the whole time. It just becomes stylized ultraviolence, which Vaughn films lovingly. Meanwhile, the films heroes had already dispatched numerous henchmen and other villains (albeit among spatters of CGI blood that stains neither clothes nor walls), and would later have them kill not just every henchmen, but everyone associated with the villain. With fireworks!

  • Except we already knew what the Bond movies are actually about.

  • J Craig Anderson

    I actually feel sorry for the people who think movies like this are good. I get so much pleasure out of the moments in movies when characters show their humanity and behave in a way that makes me feel hope for our species as a whole. I have to wonder whether the moviegoers who walk out of a movie like this feeling satisfied are capable of that sense of joy. It disturbs me that 70% of critics on rotten tomatoes gave this movie a positive review. Are 70% of the movie critics misanthropes? Were they just not as aware of the nihilism and cynicism that forms the foundation of this movie? Should I be concerned that 70% is roughly the same share of people who were willing to turn the dial up all the way in the Milgram experiments?

  • SquigglySatires

    Regarding the Princess, I disagree; I think the utter lack of context or setup is precisely what gives the moment is sour, nasty bite. If she’d been more built up, if she’d had early interactions with Eggsy, if it had been in any way more foregrounded, it would’ve just felt like another traditional action movie romantic subplot. The fact that it is so contextless, that she is such an utterly brazen sex object and in such a crude, brazen way so against the film’s ‘classy’ ethos, is what makes the moment sting. The total lack of context is precisely what makes it so icky (and, as a callout of Bond romances, what makes it work).

    Regarding the massacre, I actually somewhat agree; this moment feels a lot like a pulled punch, and one of the film’s weaker barbs. In the comic, the massacre happens at a mass wedding, with brides and grooms slaughtering each other, which drives the point much harder; I suspect restaging it to a bigoted church was the kind of compromise that had to be made to make a blockbuster. That said, I think the moment still has a distinctly unpleasant undercurrent, and the use of ‘everyday people’, albeit bigoted ones, is where it comes from.

  • SquigglySatires

    Well, that’s a fair point; I don’t know that as satire it’s necessarily informative. But does it have to be? Isn’t there something to be said for pitch-black satire that indicts its subject matter, even if it’s not necessarily providing revelations? I knew before watching ST that action movies had fascist undercurrents, and I knew before watching Wolf Of Wall Street that guys like Belfort were utter scumbags. But that didn’t lessen the enjoyment of watching that message communicated.

  • If this movie was intended as satire, Harry needed to be a completely different sort of character than he is throughout the film, not just in that scene.

  • We’re gonna have to disagree on this film. If there’s anything that can be said that will convince me that this movie is intended as satire, you haven’t said it.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Indeed. The big problem with the satire interpretation is that Vaughn spends too much time presenting the Kingsmen in general, and Harry in particular, as good and pure and awesome.

  • MAIRE

    I love this review. Thank you so much MaryAnn. This film made me so angry at exactly the same things. I was so shocked and DISGUSTED by the ending. The film ends with an image of and a reference to a woman’s anus. A woman offers to allow him to penetrate her anus if he saves the world. 50% of the film’s viewers might be expected to be female. Is this all we are worth now? All women reduced to a*** holes. How insulting. Is online porn so ubiquitous that such images can be part of mainstream ‘family’ films? This film maker must be so immersed in this type of thing: he cannot see women as fellow humans full of emotions and thoughts and hopes and fears. No, he has watched so much porn sees women as objects abjectly offering their orifices to superior males. I think this film disgusts me more that ’50 shades of Grey’. At least the latter is open about marking sexual abuse.

  • Vaughn is far from the first male filmmaker to suggest that their misogyny is intended as a joke. And I am really tired of being expected to laugh at this shit.

  • MAIRE

    Thanks again for giving me the words to defend myself against this. The reviewers were overwhelmingly positive. I searched yesterday and today before i found your page. They ONLY dissenting voice. And I can at last see I am not alone. Where are the women in film reviewing?

  • There aren’t anywhere near enough women film critics. I don’t know why this is.

  • J Craig Anderson

    I think it goes even beyond that to the point where critics of Vaughn/Millar projects are saying, “If you like this, you are a bad person.” I don’t honestly think that, but I am still kind of dumbfounded as to why a decent person could enjoy these stories. It’s some sort of a litmus test I guess, but for what exactly I’m not sure.

  • J Craig Anderson

    I can’t help but think that even though you take issue with some of his choices, you are giving the filmmaker too much credit. Whenever you have to resort to defending a director’s choices based on his or her presumed intent, you know that you are deep in the weeds. Just like a well-told joke explains itself, the intent of a competent director is obvious to all. This is the exact same issue I had with Kick-Ass (I skipped the sequel). To defend it, you have to resort to all manner of assumptions not evidenced by watching the movie itself. You have to imagine a layer of depth that isn’t obviously there.

  • SaltHarvest

    “In short, it sort of felt like two films vying for the same screentime –
    a generic hyperviolent Hollywood blockbuster and a classy British spy
    film. I could’ve used less of the former and considerably more of the
    latter.”

    Very much this, but one film had to piggy back on the other as it made its way to the target audience they have in common..

  • SaltHarvest

    Quick question: Does the aforementioned failed test involve a pistol and Michael Caine?

  • SPOILER

    Yes. The proper solution to the “shoot the dog” problem is to refuse to do it. I was *stunned* when Eggsy failed it. A proper soldier should do everything he can to avoid taking innocent lives, a gentleman even more so. If Vaughn is attempting a critique of Bond and “gentlemen” as some others have suggested here, this cannot have been the first hint that the Kingsman are monsters.

  • Yvonne

    “I cannot recall a film that left me with such a sour taste in my mouth by the time it came to an end. I was actually enraged. It’s almost as if Kingsman wants to obnoxiously defy itself.”
    The above quote from your review left me so relieved when I read it. I felt like my equilibrium had been restored, and I could exhale and breath a sigh of relief that, “no, it was not ‘just me'”, and that someone else “got it”. This movie left me feeling so angry after leaving the theater that I had to search for reviews of it to see if anyone, even one person, could empathize with the level of outrage and ire it had stirred in me. I truly could not remember a movie I’d seen ever bringing out that level of irk in me. I couldn’t place my finger on, what, exactly, had triggered it. You’re review hit the proverbial nail on the head for me.
    I think the fact that the final shot of the female from behind was shown from a first person POV also seemed to add insult to injury. I, as a female viewer, just really, really did not appreciate being thrust into that position. I do not want to view images from the first person perspective of a female backside being offered up so unceremoniously to a total stranger, be he world saver or not. The devolvement of the exchange between the Princess and her Rescuing Hero from cute and coy, to slightly less so, to utter debasement felt like being slammed back into my seat with no warning by a blunt force. I felt gobsmacked. Even moreso because of the absolute lack of need for it. I just sat there thinking, “why?” There was just no need for that. Just no need.
    So, I left the theater angry and feeling, quite frankly, just plain robbed. I wanted to like the movie. I wanted to be able to enjoy the fun parts. It felt very much like having a potentially nice meal ruined by a giant cockroach or pubic hair being found on my fork. There’s just no way to feel anything but repulsed after that. All the pleadings of the chef to just ignore that and try to focus on the delicate blend of seasonings and textures would just fall on deaf ears.

  • Yvonne

    *edit… “Your review hit the proverbial nail on the head for me”

  • Matthew Vaughn! The pubic hair in your pudding of cinema!

  • andgel

    Why was it taking advantage? I will never understand why feminists get upset at “Misogyny” and yet they paint women as weak more than anyone. She was a grown woman with free agency and a mind of her own. ease stop making women seem like they lack the strength and ability to be in control!

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh, she has agency, eh? Then let me put the question to you:

    Why, exactly, is she offering to have anal sex, right then and there? Is she just really into anal?

  • andgel

    Maybe she is. Believe it or not, some people enjoy anal. In either case, she makes her own choice. Why would you say she has no agency?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Maybe she is? How delightfully non-committal.

    “Believe it or not, some people enjoy anal.”

    Oh, I know some people do. I also know that it’s a complicated enough sex act that one does not engage in it on whim, not if one hopes to actually enjoy the experience.

    “Why would you say she has no agency?”

    Because she’s a badly written sketch of a character in a tonally confused movie who exists for no reason other than to deliver this one ill-conceived and poorly constructed “joke”.

  • SaltHarvest

    Eggsy did not fail this test. A couple of Kingsman agents were shown to have failed it. One is revealed to have failed it some time ago, and the other fails it in a rather gory scene where he loses all control. The unspoken point is that Eggsy resisted the order.

  • SaltHarvest

    She existed for at least one other reason.

  • SaltHarvest

    “There’s just _no_ way to feel anything but repulsed after that. All the
    pleadings of the chef to just ignore that and try to focus on the
    delicate blend of seasonings and textures would just fall on _deaf_ ears.”

    *Smirk* I find this comment to be just so interesting.

  • SaltHarvest

    SPOILER
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    She’s still in her jail cell. There are other prisoners still being held. The villain’s signal is still being broadcast. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FridgeLogic

  • Okay, so, you’d be totally comfortable with a complete stranger who has been imprisoned and denied her own agency for months (at a minimum) offering to let you fuck her in the ass the moment you meet, because you were the one who freed her from captivity. You wouldn’t think that was weird, or inappropriate, or not a rational reaction to the situation?

    She can offer whatever she wants. She is free to do so. But unless you are an animal and an uncompassionate asshole, you would refuse. Because you would know that she is not in a good place to be making such an offer.

  • She’s so crazy into anal *and no man is ever willing to give it to her* that she has no choice but to take advantage of Eggy’s inability to behave like a decent human person.

  • a complicated enough sex act that one does not engage in it on whim

    Or with someone one does not trust. Unless one is the sort of frat-boy jerk who does things like chant “No means Yes. Yes means anal.”

  • And is booted from the evaluation program, and wouldn’t have been brought back at all if not for other events.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    OK, I’ll bite, cause honestly, I can’t think of anything else offers to the movie but to tell that joke (which involves both delivering the line and then, inexplicably, presenting her ass to Vaughn’s camera, if that’s what you mean).

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Please tell me that’s not actually a thing, so I don’t have to just burn the whole fucking world down. :(

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    No, according to Harry the overtly spoken point is that Eggsy was supposed to follow the order, not knowing that the dog was going to get to survive anyway. (Of course, if he’d been paying attention to things like the skydiving test and the seduction test, he would have figured out that the dog was in no danger, but Eggsy’s not the brightest bulb in the box. Roxy, on the other hand, has no excuse.) Granted, Harry immediately contradicts himself by muttering something about protecting innocents or somesuch, but at no point does anyone tell Eggsy that he did the right thing.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Well, y’know, if Vaughn had bothered to settle on parody or subversion, that could have made a descent set-up for the joke.

  • Danielm80

    Every time I read the news, “Burn Down the Mission” starts playing in a constant loop in my head.

  • Elim

    Sorry Mary, but you are wrong. This film has many jokes. There are exploding heads like firework, ppl sliced in half.. you know, disgusting and horrifying things if you take it serious. But they are jokes. Like the anal part, what you hate that much. That’s a joke. Do you know the cliché that the poor boy saves the world and there is a princess as a reward? Now there is an anal sex with a swedish princess. It’s serious? Nooooo. It’s a sexual joke.

  • Danielm80

    For anyone keeping track, after 150 comments, the Bingo board looks like this: B1, I1, G1, B2, O2, I5, G5, O5.

    https://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/1131/3008/original.jpg

    I may have missed a few. And we probably need a square that says, “This review is nothing but clickbait.”

  • That’s a real thing.

  • SaltHarvest

    I meant a trivial reason, one to found in scenes in which she converses with Valentine. I’ll take your word for it that you cannot think of those scenes, especially since you seem to drop the pronoun in the response above this one:

    “OK, I’ll bite, cause honestly, I can’t think of anything else _______ offers to the movie”

  • I think I’ll pass on taking advice on the obviousness of stuff from someone who is unable to figure out what my name is.

  • You do a valuable public service here. :-)

  • LaSargenta

    Dartmouth Men, I think. Or Yale. One of those.

  • SaltHarvest

    Okay, let’s run with the overt rubric presented by Arthur/Merlin for that test. The agent is “supposed” to shoot the dog and trust the authority of the superior with having the correct judgement. Furthermore, Galahad attests to this point of view when he lectures Eggsy about not wasting his chances in life. Afterwards, Galahad attends church… How does the frame of reference proposed by the “overt” test serve Arthur and Galahad?

    Galahad: Valentine does a test run of his “world-saving” plan in the confines of the church. Galahad is at this church because he’s trying to inquire what Valentine is up to, and he had not yet put together what the free sim cards were for. Valentine delivers his sound, his message, or more blunty: his order. Galahad is, by his own admission, not prepared for this assault on his mind and succumbs, leading to the wholesale carnage in front of the audience. For Galahad, the Church attendees are the dog (although you can credit the writers with portraying the churchgoers as less innocent).

    Arthur: The visible head of the Kingsman agency gets an implant. He supports Valentine’s “world-saving” plan of his own volition and attempts to sabotage his would-be underlings from acting against Valentine. Due to prior knowledge*, Eggsy catches on to his ruse and subverts it with sleight-of-hand, leaving Arthur to do himself in by his own weapon. As if that were not enough, when all of the implants go off, presumably Arthur gets a second serving. It can be inferred from other scenes that Valentine asked a question of Arthur much like the one Valentine asked of the “Scandinavian” prime minister, ie Valentine asks Arthur to kill a portion of the world (the people that Valentine did not _choose_), and Arthur agrees to shoot the dog, so to speak.

    Merlin and Roxy also “pass” the test, but it is notable that they later allow Eggsy to operate as a Kingsman rather than keep him out by abiding by Arthur’s assessment.

    *The knowledge being referred to included lessons available in previous tests. In the skydiving test, the imagined one-too-few parachute scenario was a distraction that potentially caused 3 candidates to miss the target and get disqualified. The candidates did not know the scenario was imaginary and did not have the faith to test that particular notion. Even under that illusion, 3 candidates did manage to make the mark. In the “seduction test,” all 3 candidates are caught unaware and imbibe rohypnol from their drinks. Though Eggsy and Roxy pass a following test, if we were to grade them on not getting drugged, they would have failed. This was not lost on Eggsy during the later drinking scene with Arthur.

    Eggsy doesn’t need to be the brightest bulb in the box if the box is mostly dark. Figuring out how to turn his light on might be the task at hand.

    Yes, Galahad contradicts himself. I repeat, see where that led Galahad.

    Who’s going to tell Eggsy he did the right thing? (The Kingsman agency and the world at large seem unequal to that task).

    I’ll close by once again contending that Eggsy did indeed pass a test.

  • SaltHarvest

    It’s real enough. Make with the burning.

  • SaltHarvest

    A current lack of women willing to take the challenge before them.

  • Hey, Danielm80, okay if I pull the bingo card out and give it its own post?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The pronoun was she.

    Still not thinking of it. She puts up a token protest, but literally any character could have done that.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    *dislike*

    *stocks up on cheap gasoline*

  • SaltHarvest

    “but literally any character could have done that.”

    It must have been a small fireworks display.

  • Elim

    Sorry MaryAnn, realy sorry, my bad. But do you realy think that this is about your name?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The problem with invoking the church scene – and indeed, the problem with the church scene – is that Harry’s agency is stripped from him. In a very real sense, Harry doesn’t do anything in the church. Nor is it presented as something he could have fended off had he known what was coming. He’s basically blameless. The movie could have mined some (cliched) drama out of having Harry blame himself, but doesn’t bother.

    The film is less than clear on the timeline of Arthur’s sudden but inevitable betrayal (curse it!). It must have happened before the church, but then why did Arthur not pull the plug on, or at least stall, Harry’s investigation? And why didn’t he pitch Valentine’s plan to any of the other Kingsmen? Sure, Arthur is corrupt, but the Kingsmen still seem to be the good guys (even if the do all vanish into the ether for the entire final act).

    Beyond that, I’m not sure how you think you’re presenting a case that Eggsy passed the dog test, from the perspective of the Kingsmen, whose opinion is the one that matters. To the audience, yes, the clear answer is to disobey orders to protect the innocent. Harry even seems to try to tell Eggsy that during their confrontation between the dog and the church (which, to answer your question, is when he could have told Eggsy he’d done the right thing). But then he goes on about duty and blanks and his own dog dying at an old age and we’ll sort this out when I get back.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    She’s locked up during the fireworks.

  • SaltHarvest

    “Henry’s agency is stripped from him.” Yes and/or no…

    Yes: He allows it to happen. He hears the signal and essentially becomes Valentine’s marrionette. You could choose to lay the blame for the actions his body was involved in at Valentine’s feet, but I doubt Valentine would have remorse for those actions.

    No: Galahad learned to follow orders over his own agency as part of becoming a Kingsman. He did this by shooting a dog. He was repeating the content of that lesson in the church. In lieu of an internal restraint, he could have used earmuffs (and other ways of neutralizing the signal).

    Galahad could not have told Eggsy that he did the right thing in between the dog test and the church scene. That would require Galahad knowing what the right thing is, when he didn’t.

    “why did Arthur not pull the plug on, or at least stall, Harry’s investigation? ”

    Arthur probably didn’t need to stall Galahad from attending the church. It would have aroused more suspicion and Valentine probably assured Arthur that Harry would be dealt with. Whether for brevity or concealment (or some other explanation), scenes (if any) showing Arthur spreading the corruption evidently were not important enough to make/keep.

    “Beyond that, I’m not sure how you think you’re presenting a case that Eggsy passed the dog test, from the perspective of the Kingsmen, whose opinion is the one that matters.”

    Why is the opinion of the Kingsman agency presented by the test proctored by Arthur the opinion that matters?

    (I’m not saying he passed the test by Arthur’s standards. I’m saying those standards are bunk in agreement with the audience, and in my mind, in agreement with the film as a whole.)

  • SaltHarvest

    Uh huh. How about the characters that aren’t locked up? (At least in a visible sense).

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    “He allows it to happen.”

    Uh, wut??

    “You could choose to lay the blame for the actions his body was involved in at Valentine’s feet, but I doubt Valentine would have remorse for those actions.”

    It doesn’t matter if Valentine feels any remorse, he’s still the responsible party.

    “In lieu of an internal restraint, he could have used earmuffs (and other ways of neutralizing the signal).”

    How could he have used earmuffs if he didn’t know there was going to be a sound he needed to block out?

    “Galahad could not have told Eggsy that he did the right thing in between the dog test and the church scene. That would require Galahad knowing what the right thing is, when he didn’t.”

    Of course he did. The passing condition of the test is to pull the trigger. The failing condition is don’t pull the trigger. This is made very clear by Arthur, Merlin, and Harry/Galahad. Had Eggsy pulled the trigger, he’d have gotten to be Lancelot. To the audience (or at least some members of) it seems as though the opposite should be true, but that’s what the movie presents. If Vaughn had intended for the Kingsmen to be wrong on this, he did a poor job. (Also, is that really the worst the Kingsmen can do to show their true colors? Shooting a dog? Not, say, murdering a corrupt operative, a la the intro to “Casino Royal”?)

    “Whether for brevity or concealment (or some other explanation), scenes (if any) showing Arthur spreading the corruption evidently were not important enough to make/keep.”

    There might also be a scene where Eggsy, Arthur, and Galahad ride unicorns in the nude while trampling orphans, but no point in speculating what’s not in the movie.

    “Why is the opinion of the Kingsman agency presented by the test proctored by Arthur the opinion that matters?”

    Because the question here is “Did Eggsy pass the dog test?” Not “Did Eggsy do the right thing?” The answer to the latter is, or should be, obviously yes. But the answer to the former tells us the kind of movie we’re watching. Unfortunately, the answer presented doesn’t match the movie up to that point.

  • SaltHarvest

    RS: It doesn’t matter if Valentine feels any remorse, he’s still the responsible party.

    SH:
    Valentine is willing to kill his opponents by proxy (unless he has
    ‘reasons’ to save them) and confederate the entire planet against his
    aware opponents. How does laying the blame at his feet resolve the
    situation?

    RS: How could he have used earmuffs if he didn’t know there was going to be a sound he needed to block out?

    SH: Seems like he missed something, again.

    RS: There might also be a scene where Eggsy, Arthur, and Galahad ride
    unicorns in the nude while trampling orphans, but no point in
    speculating what’s not in the movie.

    SH:
    You seemed to be assuming something had NOT happened, instead of not
    being shown. That too is speculation. Did you not want to continue
    speculating there?

    RS: Because the question here is “Did Eggsy pass the dog test?” Not “Did
    Eggsy do the right thing?” The answer to the latter is, or should be,
    obviously yes. But the answer to the former tells us the kind of movie
    we’re watching. Unfortunately, the answer presented doesn’t match the
    movie up to that point.

    SH:
    If a tailor shop is not just a tailor shop, I think we can entertain
    the hypothesis that a spy movie is not just a spy movie… (That there
    is no missing parachute, that the seduction test isn’t the real test,
    that the audience could be missing something if it’s not paying close
    attention!!!) ..see below.

    RS: Of course he did. The passing condition of the test is to pull the
    trigger. The failing condition is don’t pull the trigger. This is made
    very clear by Arthur, Merlin, and Harry/Galahad. Had Eggsy pulled the
    trigger, he’d have gotten to be Lancelot. To the audience (or at least
    some members of) it seems as though the opposite should be true, but
    that’s what the movie presents.

    SH:
    I’m of the opinion that Arthur and the movie diverge in their
    assessment of the interpretation of Eggsy’s choice to not to shoot the
    dog. Contrast the ends met by Eggsy and those who accept his aid versus
    the ends met by Galahad/Arthur and a couple of related agents. If not
    shooting the dog reveals a weakness for a Kingsman candidate, why is
    Eggsy still alive at the end while Arthur gets the poison cup? (Bonus
    points to Eggsy for correctly guessing the Wine In Front of Me question)

    RS: If Vaughn had intended for the Kingsmen
    to be wrong on this, he did a poor job.

    SH:
    If the Kingsman agency had been wrong, that does not preclude them
    seeking a more correct path during the course of the movie. I would
    also note the body count among the Kingsman ranks (which presumably
    would have been higher if not for Eggsy (and his
    father). Arthur is tricked into killing himself. Galahad gets a second
    life and screws that one up too (also a Bond reference). Do corrupt/ignorant
    agents continue invalidating the Kingsman agency if removed (metaphorically the head and right arm— note the seating arrangement)?

    (Also, is that really the worst
    the Kingsmen can do to show their true colors? Shooting a dog? Not, say,
    murdering a corrupt operative, a la the intro to “Casino Royal”?)

    SH:
    Does Arthur have to use the Doomsday Device himself before he meets
    your bad guy threshhold? (He’s already fairly close to that by getting
    the implant and becoming a minion for Valentine).

    Also … http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/KickTheDog

    RS: If Vaughn had intended

    SH: On a more decontructionist bent, how relevant do you find Vaughn’s intentions to be in relation to the product of the movie as screened?

  • Are you thinking of the only other scene she appears in, the one in which she defies Valentine?

    If so, that’s part of the problem with how this character is deployed in the film. She’s the only one with any backbone we see onscreen, and then she is reduced to a sex toy.

  • Yeah, so no one who’s on his way to being a master of the universe or anything.

  • The correct answer to the test is not mysterious, and is already taught to soldiers, in the US at least, and most likely elsewhere: It is your obligation to resist an unlawful order from a superior. Soldiers are NOT taught to blindly obey. Quite the contrary. Whether that ideal is always met in the real world is another matter entirely. The world at large *is* equal to this task.

  • That’s the typical reason given for why any given field is dominated by men, and it’s nonsense. Unless you are suggesting that women should be okay with taking on the additional challenges that come with inherent rampant sexism. You know, the ones that aren’t an additional challenge to men.

  • My name is the same in any language. And I have already dealt with comments exactly like yours elsewhere in this comments thread. There is no need to do so again.

  • He allows it to happen.

    Er, no. The whole point of Valentine’s plan is that it could not be resisted. We have *zero* indication from the film that anyone could have resisted.

  • nathan

    People read reviews because it’s interesting to read different opinions and see how others have interpreted other people’s work. And at the end of the day, that’s what it is, opinions. Not everyone is going to agree. But what I dontt think is that you can excuse someone of have a lack of basic sensitivity or empathy on their opinion on one movie. Also, j Craig, you need to grow up, yes it’s lovely when people show humanity etc etc. But in the real world, that’s not always the case

  • RogerBW

    The gasoline is behind the shed.

  • Elim

    Good to be you with that wide knowledge of languages…
    But you know, the name Mary Ann Johason seems totaly name like name to me. It’s more unusual to me a capital letter in a middle of a name. But we are different. Some of us can deal with it.
    I think i undestand a bit more your way of thinking. Sry bothring your perfect inside word with my existence. I am off. :)

  • SaltHarvest

    Eggsy not shooting the dog. Compare spoken word with tone emitted from cell phone.

  • SaltHarvest

    I’m not saying they should be okay with it. I am saying there are beings in reality who put the ‘rules’ in place. Wanting the challenges to not be there when they were all too deliberately put there is wishful thinking.

  • SaltHarvest

    “The correct answer to the test is not mysterious, and is already taught
    to soldiers, in the US at least, and most likely elsewhere: It is your
    obligation to resist an unlawful order from a superior. Soldiers are NOT taught to blindly obey.”

    In theory. A lot of quibbling is done around the idea of “lawful” (!?) to circumvent that programming, even when there isn’t counter-programming to override it.

    “The world at large *is* equal to this task.”
    I was speaking of the world of the movie in that post…

  • SaltHarvest

    She plays a role in two other scenes, and I was pointing them out since it seems Dr. RocketScience forgot they were there. I thought it germane to the discussion of her purposes in the film to keep track of where she actually appeared.

    As for being reduced to a sex toy, that was done deliberately (to be offensive in your case).

  • Danielm80

    You thought MaryAnn spelled her own name wrong?

    Also, when you tell someone her review is wrong because she doesn’t have the same sense of humor as you do, she’s not the one who has trouble dealing with different points of view.

    And you’ve now spelled her name incorrectly in at least two different comments, even though it was right in front of you.

  • Elim

    No, i didn’t thought too much on it. I simply read it wrong. May i live?
    Not the same sense… I dont want her to likes that joke. Only to undestand that is not an offence, only a joke.

  • I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • SaltHarvest

    “We have *zero* indication from the film that anyone could have resisted.”

    I see one indication…

  • Sorry, you’re not making any sense. There is no “quibbling” in this movie. It flat out states that the correct answer to the test as far as the Kingsman are concerned is to blindly obey a clearly immoral order. There is no sense in the film that the moral compass of its world is different from our own. So the Kingsman must be bad and immoral… except they are not positioned that way at all.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Well, are you actually going to tell us which scenes? Cause I’m not seeing your point, and I’m starting not to care…

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Valentines weapon was not being deployed on Eggsy.

  • SaltHarvest

    MaryAnn said she had some backbone. Maybe you could ask her where she found that (since you seem to NOT care for my responses)?

  • SaltHarvest

    I’m aware of that:

    ” Compare spoken word with tone emitted from cell phone.”

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Nah, I’l just remain clear in my interpretation that the anal sex joke i the only function this character serves in the script for which she, in particular, is essential. Everything else she does or says is either unnecessary to the plot, or could have been done or said by some other character.

  • SaltHarvest

    “Sorry, you’re not making any sense. There is no “quibbling” in this movie.”

    When you were talking about US soldiers my response was in the context of our world and not the world of the movie, and yes, there is quibbling about what should be legal, eg the Iraq War.

    “It flat out states that the correct answer to the test as far as the
    Kingsman are concerned is to blindly obey a clearly immoral order.”

    Arthur is the one administering the test to Eggsy. Is Arthur merely acting as a Kingsman or is it Chester King the aristocrat who has certain notions about the Kingsman agency that Harry does not agree with? Furthermore, is Arthur the role given the task of speaking for the movie/author’s perspective?

    “There is no sense in the film that the moral compass of its world is different from our own.”

    Do you tacitly accept the moral compass suggested by a self-appointed agency determining how everyone else should be protected, in spite of bureaucracies and politics? If not, perhaps the compasses in the movie and our world differ somewhat.

    ” So the Kingsman must be bad and immoral… except they are not positioned that way at all.”

    The Kingsman agency is not the epitome of evil in this movie. Valentine and his cohorts are more or less shoehorned into that role. I’d hesitate to place Kingsman on the opposite end of the spectrum merely because they oppose Valentine. Given the sour taste you experienced, I think you would too.

  • SaltHarvest

    Okay. I’ll not argue this point further. You clearly want to discount the other parts she plays in the movie.

    *Shrug* Maybe they could have used a male character for the task at hand.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Dude, I’d love to count them. What are they? I mean, she only makes 4 appearances, and two of those are to deliver the two halves of the anal joke.

    Honestly, I’m not sure if you think you’re being clever and failing, or if you’re deliberately being an asshole.

  • SaltHarvest

    “I can’t think of anything else offers to the movie but to tell that joke”

    “Dude, I’d love to count them.”

    Apparently not. You can’t think of a reason, yet MaryAnn can, and I’m highlighting the difference. Your comments about the role’s interchangeability imply that the character could be replaced (I cheekily suggested a male replacement) or excised entirely.

    “Honestly, I’m not sure if you think you’re being clever and failing, or if you’re deliberately being an asshole.”

    I’m not really going to exercise my usual response to that. Let’s just say I’ve been relatively charitable to this point.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    “How does laying the blame at his feet resolve the situation?”

    I have no idea what you’re asking here.

    “Seems like he missed something, again.”

    Yeah, he didn’t read far enough ahead in the script. From a plot perspective, Harry was only in that church because he was following a lead, trying to figure out what Valentine’s play is. (Or indeed if Valentine is actually the villain and not just a creepy billionaire.)

    “You seemed to be assuming something had NOT happened, instead of not being shown. That too is speculation. Did you not want to continue
    speculating there?”

    I’m sorry but this isn’t going to work. We’re not going to be able to have a fruitful conversation if this is the methodology you’re going to choose. To be clear, I’m going to have to insist that any interpretation be based on what the movie shows and tells us, on screen. If you want to discuss subtext, it’s going to have to be based on evidence presented in the text. You’re of course welcome to invent any scenes or dialog that would support your conclusions you like, but I’m going to grant that evidence all the weight it deserves.

    Just a couple more comments:

    “Bonus points to Eggsy for correctly guessing the Wine In Front of Me question”

    Points deducted for employing the “What in the world is that!?!” ruse and getting away with it. You’d think the Kingsmen would have developed an immunity to iocaine powder. But them, Eggsy’s probably not Sicilian.

    “Does Arthur have to use the Doomsday Device himself before he meets your bad guy threshhold?”

    *Eyeroll* Seriously…

    “how relevant do you find Vaughn’s intentions to be in relation to the product of the movie as screened?”

    Well, he was (co)writer, director, and producer. So, quite relevant.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Read her response again. Also, read mine again. Hint: her token resistence is pointless to the plot, and could have been given by anyone.

    Oh, please, don’t resist on my little ol’ account.

  • SaltHarvest

    {SH: “How does laying the blame at his feet resolve the situation?”

    RS: I have no idea what you’re asking here.}

    Valentine is one pulling the strings, so what? (How does that prevent one’s own string from being pulled?)

    {SH: “Seems like he missed something, again.”

    RS: Yeah, he didn’t read far enough ahead in the script. From a plot perspective, Harry was only in that church because he was following a lead, trying to figure out what Valentine’s play is. (Or indeed if Valentine is actually the villain and not just a creepy billionaire.)}

    Harry knew Valentine was the villain from the dinner scene, at the latest. The puzzle piece of the SIM card had been laid previously. Valentine also got a positive for Galahad being a Kingsman with his test.

    {RS: I’m sorry but this isn’t going to work. We’re not going to be able to have a fruitful conversation if this is the methodology you’re going to choose. To be clear, I’m going to have to insist that any interpretation be based on what the movie shows and tells us, on screen. If you want to discuss subtext, it’s going to have to be based on evidence presented in the text. You’re of course welcome to invent any scenes or dialog that would support your conclusions you like, but I’m going to grant that evidence all the weight it deserves.}

    This dovetails right into our ‘princess’ argument and how you’re granting a number of scenes no evidentiary weight whatsover. So, yes, if this conversation is going to be fruitful you’re going to need to follow your own advice here and get up to speed. The movie is not speaking with just one voice.

    {RS: Points deducted for employing the “What in the world is that!?!” ruse and getting away with it. You’d think the Kingsmen would have developed an immunity to iocaine powder. But them, Eggsy’s probably not Sicilian.}

    How about audible poisons (or visual ones, for that matter)?

    {SH: “Does Arthur have to use the Doomsday Device himself before he meets your bad guy threshhold?”

    RS: *Eyeroll* Seriously…} You were the one saying Arthur was not “bad” enough. Your criteria was made a subject of discussion by your own doing.

    {SH: “how relevant do you find Vaughn’s intentions to be in relation to the product of the movie as screened?”

    RS: Well, he was (co)writer, director, and producer. So, quite relevant.}

    So was he in total control of the outcome, or… (?)

  • SaltHarvest

    pointless: excise from plot.

  • SaltHarvest

    I thought you were off?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    “So what” is your claim that Harry was responsible for what happened in the church. No matter who you slice it, he’s not.

    I don’t know about that. Harry certainly knows less than the audience at that point. And even the audience doesn’t know exactly what Valentine has in mind. But either way, the plot takes Harry to the church for the big reveal.

    “This dovetails right into our ‘princess’ argument and how you’re granting a number of scenes no evidentiary weight whatsover.”

    Well, be fair: you’ve been so insistent on being coy or whatever about exactly what scenes you’re referring to, and what exactly you think they mean, that I can’t respond, now can I?

    “The movie is not speaking with just one voice.”

    It’s speaking the way any movie speaks: with what it shows the audience, and what it tells the audience. It’s not speaking telepathically. But even then, just because it shows or tells us something, doesn’t inherently make it meaningful or necessary. Case in point: prior to offering to “do it in the asshole”, nothing the princess does or says is meaningful or necessary to the plot. Similarly, Mark Hamill’s character exists only to have his head blow up. In both cases, the characters are given meaningless things to do, so that they will be present to do one meaningful thing (for certain values of “meaningful”).

    “How about audible poisons (or visual ones, for that matter)?”

    Ooh, ooh! How about telepathic poisons!!

    “Your criteria was made a subject of discussion by your own doing.”

    Sure, but you think maybe there’s some middle ground between here and ultimate villain?

    “So was he in total control of the outcome, or… (?)”

    Now I’m curious. What school of film and film criticism are you coming from that would hold writer-producer-directors blameless for the outcome of their films? I mean, I can understand not buying into auteur theory, but c’mon,

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Yes, you could excise the princess completely from the plot.

  • SaltHarvest

    RS: “So what” is your claim that Harry was responsible for what happened in the church. No matter who you slice it, he’s not.

    I don’t know about that. Harry certainly knows less than the audience at that point. And even the audience doesn’t know exactly what Valentine has in mind. But either way, the plot takes Harry to the church for the big reveal.

    SH: Harry could be held responsible for his role in the proceedings. He did not need to be there. Even if he wanted to be there, he could have done a couple of things like disarming himself or wearing some sort of ear protection. If he weren’t wrapped up in the notion of obeisance he could also have taken a cue from Eggsy and resisted the input internally. As for the audience, why don’t they know (now)?

    RS: Well, be fair: you’ve been so insistent on being coy or whatever about exactly what scenes you’re referring to, and what exactly you think they mean, that I can’t respond, now can I?

    SH: Presumably you have both seen this movie and have seen the character in all parts of the movie where the character is featured. Can you not recall where she was featured? Should I rob you of the chance to recall the scenes on your own muster? Is it not worth examining why you can recall the anal scene with a degree of clarity not afforded to those other scenes? Is what you think they mean so unimportant that what I might say directly about them should automatically replace whatever ‘pointlessness’ you have in mind?

    RS: It’s speaking the way any movie speaks: with what it shows the audience, and what it tells the audience. It’s not speaking telepathically. But even then, just because it shows or tells us something, doesn’t inherently make it meaningful or necessary. Case in point: prior to offering to “do it in the asshole”, nothing the princess does or says is meaningful or necessary to the plot. Similarly, Mark Hamill’s character exists only to have his head blow up. In both cases, the characters are given meaningless things to do, so that they will be present to do one meaningful thing (for certain values of “meaningful”).

    SH: Anyone else detecting a pattern?

    {SH: “How about audible poisons (or visual ones, for that matter)?”

    RS: Ooh, ooh! How about telepathic poisons!!}

    SH: No credit for sarcasm. I’m also suggesting the presence of visual poison in an irksome scene.

    RS: Sure, but you think maybe there’s some middle ground between here and ultimate villain?

    SH: Yep.

    {SH: “So was he in total control of the outcome, or… (?)”

    RS: Now I’m curious.}

    SH: Good…

    RS: What school of film and film criticism are you coming from that would hold writer-producer-directors blameless for the outcome of their films? I mean, I can understand not buying into auteur theory, but c’mon,}

    SH: The question as stated~ I don’t come from such schools. I just don’t give them all the blame either.

  • J Craig Anderson

    I think it was Roger Ebert who said he loved the movies because they are “a machine for creating empathy.” Telling stories about people whose dreams and desires and aspirations and weaknesses and flaws you can relate to is at the core of what makes film such an entertaining art form. Also, people in the real world don’t always show their humanity? What are you talking about? That’s ALL people in the real world EVER do. Not like the characters in these post-meta-ironic-wink-nudge movies that Vaughn likes to make. All his movies are really saying is that it’s cool and clever and awesome to literalize movie behavior that was only implied in previous movies of the same genre. It wasn’t a very clever joke the first time when he did it with Kick-Ass, and at this point it’s been totally played out. And it has nothing to do with real life. If you listen to Vaughn’s interviews, he uses that as his defense when criticized. I say it’s a cop-out.

  • Elim

    I do it slowly ;)

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    “He did not need to be there.”

    No, but if he doesn’t go, his investigation stalls, as does the movie.

    “he could have done a couple of things like disarming himself or wearing some sort of ear protection.

    he could also have taken a cue from Eggsy and resisted the input internally.”

    We’ve been over these. Repeating them won’t make the former likely nor the latter true.

    Regarding the princess: I get it, you’re not going to tell us what you think she did and when. Now I’ll thank you to keep the condescension to yourself, especially while refuse to present your own evidence and make your own argument, instead waiting for me to do it for you.

    “I’m also suggesting the presence of visual poison in an irksome scene.”

    Based on? I mean things that actually happen in the film, not things that might have been happening, and would be convenient for your point if they were, but which the film neglected to show or tell us about.

    Edited because fucking Disqus

  • I feel like we’re talking on two different frequencies entirely.

  • SaltHarvest

    Probably.

  • SaltHarvest

    “No, but if he doesn’t go, his investigation stalls, as does the movie.”

    Remote observation, notably done by the villain’s sidekick and Eggsy.

    “Regarding the princess: I get it, you’re not going to tell us what you
    think she did and when.”

    Remember when you said you were starting not to care. Your issues with this source are affecting your perception. I did suggest asking MaryAnn ( a source you’re more inclined to trust, yes?). Where is she getting that “backbone” interpretation from?

    “Now I’ll thank you to keep the condescension to
    yourself, especially while refuse to present your own evidence and make
    your own argument, instead waiting for me to do it for you.”

    You initially said there was only one reason for the princess’s involvement: sexual exploitation. When asked about a count of the scenes in which the princess was involved, you responded with 4, 2 of which involved the offending “joke.” Clearly 2=/=4, so there’s a mismatch on your end when it comes to mapping scenes in which she appeared to meaning(s) her role expressed.

  • SaltHarvest

    I’m replying to my own post because I feel like making this accident more apparent (and it slipped the first go around):

    “especially while ___ refuse to present your own evidence”

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Meh. Either Disqus is dropping words (it’s pretty shitty but better than most) or I’m thinking faster than I’m typing. You can deal.

  • SaltHarvest

    Yes, I can, usually by mind-reading or inserting the most probable choice (if I’m being charitable). If that’s how you want it…

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    *massive eyeroll*

    Scene 1: Dinner. Swedish PM is intrigued by Valentine’s plan. Princess is appalled. Princess tries to leave, her guards are killed, she’s captured.
    Scene 2: Princess is in her cell. Valentine pleads with her to change her mind. She refuses.
    Scene 3: “If you save the world, we can do it in the asshole.”
    Scene 4: Princess and Eggsy do it in the asshole.

    So, pretty please, with sugar on top, I really have to know: what important thing does the princess do in all that?

    (Incidentally, the Swedish PM can get cut too. We already see other heads of state agreeing to Valentine’s plan, Eggsy can steal anybody’s laptop in the base.)

    Oh, no, my condescension hasn’t really started. Oh, wait, there it went…

    Let’s see, after the anal scene? Which one? The first? That’s followed by the climactic battle. The second? That’s the second bar scene and the credits? Did I forget something? And where’s the “visual poison”?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    We’re clearly not operating on his thetan level

  • SaltHarvest

    RS: *massive eyeroll*

    So, pretty please, with sugar on top, I really have to know: what important thing does the princess do in all that?

    SH: Thank you.

    RS: Scene 1: Dinner. Swedish PM is intrigued by Valentine’s plan. Princess is appalled. Princess tries to leave, her guards are killed, she’s captured.
    Scene 2: Princess is in her cell. Valentine demands her to change her mind. She refuses.
    Scene 3: “If you save the world, we can do it in the asshole.”
    Scene 4: Princess and Eggsy do it in the asshole.

    (Incidentally, the Swedish PM can get cut too. We already see other heads of state agreeing to Valentine’s plan, Eggsy can steal anybody’s laptop in the base.)

    Let’s see, after the anal scene? Which one? The first? That’s followed by the climactic battle. The second? That’s the second bar scene and the credits? Did I forget something? And where’s the “visual poison”?

    SH: Bolding and minor alterations were made.

    It’s important to note that Princess Tilde is not a Kingsman agent (willpower is not something Kingsman training instills, quite the opposite really) and while being bid on by Valentine, she is capable of refusing his temptations (although escape is not something she can accomplish by herself). For some reason, Valentine chooses to lock her in prison and not have her killed along with her guards (or in the later mass brawl). She is an object for Valentine in another way (I’d suggest human husbandry).

    Scene 4 is the visual poison (scene 3 hypes it up, and those expectations could have been broken ;) ). The second bar scene has an intriguing opening.. if one is not still overly distracted by the centrally-placed ass in the preceding scene.

  • I did suggest asking MaryAnn ( a source you’re more inclined to trust, yes?)

    Why don’t you just answer a direct question instead of dancing around it?

  • SaltHarvest

    Two general thoughts:

    A) We already know that we give different meanings to 2 of the scenes in which Princess Tilde is involved. My presenting a meaning on my own behalf would only repeat that knowledge. I’m more interested in figuring out how Dr. Rocketscience reached his conclusion and I can explore issues at some intermediate steps. There is the possibility my conclusion is less correct and in discussing his path a better one could be found.

    B) Dr. Rocketscience that the scenes are pointless. I could suggest a counterargument. I think you could, using the “backbone” route. I think Vaughn and Goldman could each present an argument. Maybe even a random viewer of the movie. Pick one -> Refute. Pick another —> refute. Pick yet another -> Refute. We don’t need the best possible meaning, only a trivial one is needed (one example). Dr Rocketscience suggests no such example is possible. Show (ie refute all possible arguments).

  • Again, I am unable to parse what you are attempting to communicate.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    We could have had that conversation, but you were (and still are) more intent on showing off your intellectual tap dancing. Between this and your last comment yesterday (which I won’t be responding to), I’ve become convinced that you are constitutionally incapable of giving a straight answer. Like you literally cannot do it. I imagine you’ll probably chalk that up as a win, and feel free: I honestly feel defeated by your unwillingness to engage honestly, and by my being fool enough (or bored) to try for so long.

  • SaltHarvest

    You insist on a straight answer instead of a curved or point-blank answer. Win? No. This is a loss. On the flip side, I’m glad you could humor me as long as you did.

    Parting morsel: “Engage directly.

  • SaltHarvest

    Disqus is a mess when it comes to preserving the order of posts. I’m going to find the one where I initially interjected.

  • She has backbone. She has no agency. Nothing she does impacts the plot in any way at all.

  • SaltHarvest

    As I said to Dr. RS

    ________________________________________

    RS: “but literally any character could have done that.”
    SH: It must have been a small fireworks display.

    RS: She’s locked up during the fireworks.

    SH: Uh huh. How about the characters that aren’t locked up? (At least in a visible sense).

  • Mr. P

    “Biast”??? Are you trying to write “biased”?

  • SaltHarvest

    Three lines down there is a critic’s minifesto link. Click it.

  • Again, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I recognize the words as English, but they have no meaning as a response to what I’ve written.

  • BINGO!!

  • Cinophile

    That is true. While many people don’t believe it (and it doesn’t happen that often) men can be taken advantage of too. (PS this is an opinion of a female who has dealt with abuse and rape cases of both women AND men in various relationships)

  • Cinophile

    Are some of forgetting the female character of Roxy aka the next Lancelot? Or Gazelle, for despite her being a villain she was equal if not better than many of her male foes, and was a paraplegic. So despite one sex driven Swedish princess who chooses to perform anal sex with a man she just met… the female characters are still very powerful. (however I am not supporting this scene, I did find it crude, distasteful, and somewhat ill fitting with the rest of the film, and ultimately could have been done with out. I am only establishing that this was in fact not rape.)

  • Cinophile

    Agreed. What matters in this case is your personal opinion. If a movie critic, friend, family, random person, etc. disagrees with you, well sure you can argue with them but BOTH parties should attempt to remain in the mindset of not being able to change the others mind, and remaining respectful and un-patronizing.

  • Cinophile

    Personally I didn’t view that scene as something to be laughed at. No one in my city’s theatre was laughing, everyone was dumbstruck. I feel that it wasn’t meant to be cool or for laughs. It was horrifying. And I think that was the point. Here the viewers witness this bigot sermon, and we know this devise is going to be tested on this hate group and in the dark recesses of our minds were saying “ya it might be a good thing for something to happen to these people, their awful!” even some going as far as “these people should be erased from the planet” yet when we see these thoughts realized in the brutality we are horrified, not only at the graphic bloodbath placed before us but at our own thoughts, just as Harry (while he obviously didn’t like these people) was horrified at what he did without any inhibitions. So, whether the director intended it or not, we lost our inhibitions slightly in watching the scene, making us in a mental state the same as how Harry was acting physically. If you look at it that way it is an extremely horrific, yet powerful, idea. The horrors humanity could commit without inhibition or self control.

  • Forgetting? No. Roxy is mostly sidelined. And being a sidekick is not the same as being the villain (or hero).

    she was equal if not better than many of her male foes,

    So why wasn’t she the villain?

    Female characters who are smarter and more capable and cooler than the guys but who aren’t the central characters is a *huge* problem.

    And I don’t think “paraplegic” means what you think it means.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Anecdotally, plenty of audience members laughed when I saw it.

  • Truman Burbank

    Americans are hilarious. Does every work of ENTERTAINMENT need to conform to your personal justice agenda? How boring. (Not to mention, missing the entire point of the Moore-era satire?)

  • SaltHarvest

    A number of people received the “fireworks” treatment. Tilde did not.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    And here I thought Americans were the uncouth ones. I also didn’t realize a “justice agenda” was a bad thing. Most people have positive connotations for the word “justice”. (Then again, I don’t understand how “social justice warrior” could be considered a pejorative. Also, I think of myself as more of a social justice ranger, or maybe a social justice druid.)

    Having already stated that Mark Millar and Mathew Vaughn could hardly be compared to Jonathan Swift, I’ll further assert that neither is Allan Moore as well.

  • Why do so many works of entertainment seek to reinforce the status quo, and punch down instead of punching up?

  • RogerBW

    Because they have to be paid for, which means they have to please people with money?

  • KindosOfAphrodite

    So, I watched this movie on 2/13/15 (or 13/02/15 for the Brits). I’m in the US, and for a great deal of the movie, I was really excited, the action for a great deal of the movie was solid, Colin Firth owned the screen, and I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the jokes that were made. I was also super excited about some of the female characters (we have female recruits to the Kingsmen, we have an interesting female henchmen [who would have been a solid solo villain in any other movie], and a princess who refuses to bend to the will of others, but Eggsy’ mom was rough for me to process; however I understood how she got to this point. The idea of the knights of the round table was super cool, and I could imagine some sort of Morgan Le Fay villain happening.

    Then I saw the last 1/3 or half of the movie. And I felt so frustrated and confused. Numb. Numb is the best sort of description. I went back home, and my mom heard about how excited I was to see that movie, and she asked me how it was. I couldn’t even give her a solid feeling.

    I was so frustrated about how the women were represented in the movie after that midpoint: all just helping the men and doing nothing of their own volition.

    I couldn’t even watch most of the church scene either, and after about two or three minutes I just waited for the end (I just closed me eyes and waited for the majority of the violence to end, and I am definitely an action fan, but it was just excessive).

    I get the excessive violence spiel, it isn’t always interesting or helpful, unless there is a specific reason for it (like the Game of Thrones violence that is done to highlight he barbarism of the specific culture and mortality of every character). And excessive sexuality is also not a big issue, unless there is no reason for it.

    Kingsmen used sex and violence simply because they could, to look cool and edgy, not for a reason to talk about a specific topic or in a way to show multiple sides or ideas, or even a way to be interesting and thought provoking. Even good action movies try at least one of these things.

    I also stuggled with the idea of the gentleman that (((((spoiler))))) has anal sex with a prisoner that probably will have sex with anyone to get out of imprisonment for at least a few months (the pug ages from very tiny pup to a couple months old pup, hence my approximation). The mom’s storyline was also very hard to swallow after this.

    I was hoping for a great movie, and at the beginning it was delivering, then it fishtailed and left a bad taste in my mouth. I was really bummed, as I thought this would be a smart thoughtful action movie, as it was being touted as such, and then it was just a lie.

  • SaltHarvest

    “This whole issue can be boiled down to the fact that some people lack basic sensitivity and empathy toward other human beings.”

    Good points, even if you go off the rails a bit in the next sentence.

    “Including the director of this film and those who are defending it.”

    That’s a rush to judgement, and it seems odd given the movie delivered through Vaughn/Goldman.

    “And nothing you say is going to make them understand why movies such as
    this are so repellent to those of us who actually care about movie
    characters and regard them as human beings rather than animated props.”

    Pathological (or intensely self-serving) personalities tend to do that.

  • SaltHarvest

    “Did we see the same film? The gentlemen of the film — whom you are
    equating to the 1 percent — are battling the 1 percent! The villain is
    of the 1 percent. Your argument makes no sense at all.”

    I find this interesting in light of our recent comments. Bond films support the 1%.

  • SaltHarvest

    For Americans specifically? The answer to the question is YES. That’s how they are programmed (in theory).

  • SaltHarvest

    Warrior can be meant in an analogical sense to the real deal.

  • SaltHarvest

    An excellent summary of the church scene. *Applause*

  • SaltHarvest

    Wizard of Oz would be a possible starting point.

  • SaltHarvest

    “So why wasn’t she the villain?”

    Her supremacy was merely of a physical sort. It’s questionable whether she was smarter or more domineering than Valentine.

  • SaltHarvest

    For some reason Simon Pegg jumps at me for Emmett Peel.

  • SaltHarvest

    An idea that didn’t hatch, I guess.

  • Nathan

    Just had a look at Roger Exert, seems like a good critic. Was interesting reading his review of kick ass (as I saw it as a similar movie to this) and it actually, in a way, supported my first point. He mentions something about how he felt sad that the little girl in kickass had not had any emotional reaction to killing numerous people. And this was my original point, I agree that the last scene in kingsman was unnecessary and made me feel uneasy, but why can’t it be eggs who is considered traumatised and it is the princess taking advantage of him. I think I’m right in thinking she suggested it to him. As a law student, I can tell you there are numerous cases of men (usually young) being taken advantage of sexually by woman

  • PowderedToastMan

    Jesus Christ shut up. God people like you are annoying. If you can’t suspend disbelief about a subject like this in a movie where people’s heads literally explode into psychedelic colors and the villain has a lisp and dresses like Russell Simmons, then there’s no getting through to you.

    You clearly don’t understand the context under which the scene takes place. I thought the “joke” was in bad taste, but everyone was consenting at least. She was the one offering. You’re such a typical antagonizing social justice warrior with a blog, crying “MISOGYNY!” and “SEXISM!” any chance you get. What a miserable existence you must lead. You must be a riot at parties. God forbid someone offer you a drink, you might think they’re trying to rape you.

  • PowderedToastMan

    Real professional, using such vulgar language to describe a situation and losing your cool because someone doesn’t agree with you. You’re everything wrong with journalism these days.

  • JG18

    Seriously, you’re seriously asking where she got the nightgown? My guess is the same people supplied it as supplied the plush color-coordinated furniture in her jail cell, which is bigger than my first apartment.

    There is no question this is a male fantasy because it is parodying male-fantasy spy movies from the 1960s. Was the scene tasteful? Not even remotely. Was it sexist? You bet.

    But there’s a big difference between sexist and misogynistic. As I already noted, *in the movie* she is not being forced into this, she is the one who suggests the activity and not the hero, and she clearly *in the movie* is happy for it to occur.

  • Oh! So if a scenario is designed to put a woman in a terrible position and puts words in her mouth that makes it seem like she’s perfectly look with this terrible situation, that’s not misogynist?

    Got it. Thanks for explaining. I am so much more enlightened now.

  • EnoughAlready

    Here is my take.

    The princess has enough (self
    esteem, pride, strength and Balls) to stand up against the villain. I think she was just standing up for what she
    wanted (anal). I hope you were not
    offended by the use of the term “Balls” or is that another term that should be
    removed from our vocabulary because it might hurt someone’s feelings
    MaryAnn
    I really like your reviews in general but something hit a nerve with you in this movie.
    I suggest you seek counseling.
    How can you be expected to be taken seriously when you are attacking the director so venomously. Just do the reviews and be done. Enough already!

    Before you slam me let me say
    one more thing. I married the perfect women because she is intelligent, beautiful,open minded and very sexual. Look in the mirror do you see any of these traits.

  • EnoughAlready

    Sorry for the crazy format I posted this from the new Ipad coming out this fall we need to work on a few things still.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    *sigh* Yes, the film made sure she had all the stuff she needed to deliver the awful joke. How nice.

    it is parodying male-fantasy spy movies

    If the movie had maintained a tone of parody throughout, it would have done a better job setting up the joke. But it didn’t.

  • mazooma

    Is this possibly the most cynical, jaded, self loathing, miserable, kill joy of a reviewer ever??why dont you just perhaps watch films your more predisposed to like, for example period dramas. They tend to be largely inoffensive and they’re full of dull, boring, lifeless unlikable characters like yourself. Probably right up your street i’d imagine

  • mazooma

    haha quality, its like she gets some kind of twisted, perverse satisfaction from intentionally going to a film she knows shes going to end up hating, just so she come on here and have a moan about it.
    Her review for raid 2 is a complete joke, a lame paragraph and that was it, obviously our definitions of a decent review differ somewhat..i quote: arthouse martial arts action thats incredibly dull!!Arthouse, what>!Seriously dont know what planet shes on,toys in the attic that one..Id say its one of the most exciting, exhilarating, innovative, action packed martial arts films ever made..
    Why dont you just toddle off to a screening of pride and prejudice with a bunch of your feminist loving pals instead?

  • Hamish

    No it wasnt. It was crap and that joke at the end just shows what a suzzbucket pervert you are if you thought it was funny.

  • It’s not necessary to call names. We can discuss even this like civilized adults.

  • cleric20

    Hey – I like a lot of your reviews and respect your opinion but we’re miles apart on this one… For me (comic book fan of the graphic novel source material) Kingsman is a fun homage / update to Bond films and it breaks all the rules to provoke (Gentlemen these days are different beasts) – here are my thoughts on it but Kingsman is going to make my top 10 films of the year at the moment!! http://darkmatt.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/darkmatters-review-kingsman-secret.html

  • Why don’t you share some of your thoughts here? (Otherwise, you’re just spamming.)

  • cleric20

    Hi – I was just looking for a comparison of views – didn’t want to write a screed of my thoughts here when a like suffices and happy to link over to you from my blog too in the recommended reading list!

  • So don’t write a screed.

  • SEXcyanip

    The reviewer is so feminist! Shes obviously a virgin repelled by penises. Menopause and saaaaggay tittayys!

  • JG18

    I’m not the one who asked the self-evident question

  • JG18

    Perhaps you’d be even more enlightened if you (1) would accept that the woman was in a fantasy extremely comfortable prison cell alongside other pampered world leaders to be freed as soon as the evial plan was accomplished, not Alcatraz, and (2) that perhaps not everyone has the same opinion about anal sex that you do.

    Yes, I am indeed trying to explain that there is a difference between being sexist, which portrays women as sex objects, and being misogynistic, which portrays a hatred and disgust of women.

  • You think anyone fantasizes about being imprisoned?

    not everyone has the same opinion about anal sex that you do.

    This is not about anal sex, and you have no idea what my opinion of it is. This is about vulnerability, abuse, and a sexist jerk of a filmmaker who thinks he’s witty.

  • Kevin L

    Why, exactly is “volunteered” in quotes? Is it because she “volunteered” only verbally and that doesn’t count for you? Perhaps women who have been locked in a cell for months are not allowed to want sex according to you? Regardless, I do agree that a mere verbal consent is clearly not sufficient. Maybe in addition to a lengthy legal contract, women could request your approval as well? I mean, sure you’ll be awfully busy for a while, but who else is going to protect women from their own agency? This is anal we’re talking about and not merely a smooch, suggesting that women can decide on their own whether or not they want such a thing is obviously very dangerous thinking. Thanks MaryAnn, for showing non-thinking people everywhere just what stupid tripe should offend them.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    How arch. Ho ho.

  • Kevin L

    Gee, thanks Doc.

  • Kevin L

    I think conflating consensual sex with sexual abuse is very, very sick. You’ve tried to backtrack from this awfulness, but it’s extremely clear for anyone to see. Just gross.

  • Danielm80

    When has she tried to backtrack?

  • Kevin L

    Conflation of consensual sex with sexual abuse: “No. I’m arguing that the sexual abuse of women not be seen as appropriate for comedic fantasy.”

    Reviewer is called out for such a sickening comparison: “I see – you’re arguing that a woman voluntarily offering to have anal sex, and dressing in a sexy nightgown in anticipation of it, is sexual abuse”

    Reviewer responds and backtracks on the gross, infantilizing comments: “I am arguing that no gentleman would take advantage of a vulnerable woman in her situation, even if she “volunteered.””

    So, she realizes she actually spoke her mind for a second and conflated consensual sex with sexual abuse (apparently, it’s only NOT sexual abuse if she approves of the behavior), then reduces his behavior to taking advantage of her (still incredibly daft and still denies women free agency). It’s a step in the right direction, but still head-numbingly dumb.

  • Kevin L

    You are aware that screen writers put words in characters’ mouths, right? I mean, that’s their job. Actors in movies generally aren’t truly emotionally invested in their dialog, they say what they do because of their scripts and sky-high salaries. So suggesting that putting words into actors and actresses mouths is a bad thing is kind of hilarious coming from a “critic”. Your real concern is not that words were put into the mouths of others, your concern is that those words aren’t the words that YOU would have chosen.

    You are oh so offended that a woman would choose to engage in sexual behavior that you wouldn’t agree to. You asked earlier if it would have been appropriate if a man asked for anal in his first moments of freedom. Well, if it was a gay man and he enjoys anal, yeah, that would seem rather appropriate. Some people really enjoy sex and would find it to be the thing that they missed most during their time locked up. But because of the issues YOU have, you deem willful, consensual sex to be ‘sexual abuse’. No matter which gender you are, that’s extremely creepy.

  • Danielm80

    MaryAnn never said that Eggsy forced himself on the princess. She’s talking about a different kind of sexual abuse. The princess was traumatized after being locked in prison and wasn’t thinking entirely rationally. A decent person would have recognized that and waited until she recovered, or tried to help her recover. If a significant amount of time went by and the princess said, “I still love anal sex. Take me now,” a gentleman might act differently.

    That’s the argument. You may think it’s “head-numbingly dumb,” but MaryAnn has been making it consistently.

  • Kevin L

    And I never said she did, I said she said it was sexual abuse, which is utter bovine excrement. Are you suggesting that the protagonist wasn’t utterly traumatized as well? Are you forgetting that the princess was the one who made the offer? Why, of all the people making these asinine comments, have none of them suggested that the princess was the one taking advantage of the poor, traumatized man who just witnessed and participated in all kinds of awful things? Is it because the people making these comments are the true sexists here? All these dedicated “feminists” here insisting that only they know what women truly mean and say. Tut tut, only we feminists know what women truly want, screw what they actually say. Do you realize how incredibly infantilizing and sexist your argument is?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    You just argued:

    1) that film critics can’t have personal opinions (what other kinds of opinions should they have?); and

    2) that this scene is both a made up fantasy, and an accurate depiction of reality (first, you can’t have it both ways; second, this is not how real people engage in anal sex, and anyone who thinks it is is gonna have a bad time).

    I think it’s time you took a break, maybe go for a walk or something, because you’re really losing the plot here.

  • Kevin L

    Nope, didn’t argue that at all. You’re just making shit up. I never argued that this “critic” couldn’t have personal opinions, I argued that her personal opinion that a man obliging a woman who asks for sex is “sexual abuse” is an incredibly stupid one. Go on and tell me where I said that she can’t have a personal opinion.

    I also didn’t argue that the referenced scene was a made up fantasy OR an accurate depiction of reality. I said that complaining about a director putting words into someone’s mouth is incredibly stupid. She’s not upset that someone put words into another’s mouth (movies wouldn’t exist if that didn’t happen). She’s upset that those words aren’t the words that she’d choose. Again, comparing consensual sex to sexual abuse is the disgusting and sexist thing here. I’ll decide on my own what to do for recreation, thanks. The plot is so lost on you that you’ve never found it to begin with.

    Are you capable of having a discussion without making shit up out of whole cloth?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh, but you did. You’re doing it again right now (mostly by repeating the argument almost verbatim).

    Not liking the dialog and want different dialog are effectively the same thing. Saying MAJ can’t do one is saying she can’t do the other, and both are tantamount to saying she can’t have a personal opinion.

    Similarly, saying that the situation is made up, but defending it as something people actual do is trying to have that argument both ways.

    Making up something “from whole cloth” would require me to say something like, “You’re wrong because you already admitted to kicking puppies for fun.”

    As for your point about consent and abuse, consider: there’s a reason the consent of an impaired person is not legally considered consent. Certain apologists like to pretend they can, but no, they can’t.

    Clearly, you’re very upset about this review. One might even say you were becoming hysterical. So, seriously, go take a nap or something. Come back tomorrow, and if your posts still feel like they make total sense, give it another day.

  • Kevin L

    Wow, I was considering calling you thick, but I’m beginning to think that’s a compliment. Just where, exactly, did I say that she couldn’t do one or the other? You can’t show me that, because that little bit of fantasy exists only in your confused, little mind.

    “Not liking the dialog and want different dialog are effectively the same
    thing. Saying MAJ can’t do one is saying she can’t do the other, and
    both are tantamount to saying she can’t have a personal opinion.”

    Christ, I’m at a loss to respond to this wacky bit of schizophrenia. Where exactly did I defend anything in the movie as something people actually do? I was simply describing how insanely stupid it is to equate consensual sex with sexual abuse? I’ve said this a half dozen times already and your simplistic mind refuses to acknowledge that.

    Now on to your next huge heaping of ignorance:

    As for your point about consent and abuse, consider: there’s a reason
    the consent of an impaired person is not legally considered consent.
    Certain apologists like to pretend they can, but no, they can’t.

    Ahhh, another fine token of feminism from you. So now women should be considered impaired, so THAT’S why they can’t consent to sex unless you sign off on the deed. Please tell me more about how women are completely unable to make decisions on their own.

    And then you go on to accuse me of being hysterical? Tsk, tsk. I’ll assume you’re not familiar with the sexist history of that term (as you seem to not be familiar with a whole lot of anything), so I’m going to let that one slide. Still, seems rather awkward coming from a “feminist”. But then again, you’re defending another “feminist” who thinks that women are utterly incapable of deciding who they fuck.

    In all my years on the internet, I can honestly say I’ve never seen a more ironic username. As an actual scientist, I can tell you that no matter how much you enjoy science, science wants nothing to do with you.

  • JG18

    First of all, it wouldn’t surprise me if some people *do* fantasize about being imprisoned but that is totally not the point. You seem to be arguing that the princess was kept a prisoner and so therefore she wanted to please her captor/was not in her right mind. Meanwhile, as I keep noting, the prison was a luxurious room probably larger than my first apartment (note the large pillows and decor, and her sexy nightgown), and she was obviously well taken care of because the villain made a point of saying that the world leader he imprisoned would be released after the wholesale slaughter. This was not exactly Alcatraz. And there was absolutely *nothing* in the scene to indicate that the princess felt she had to offer this in order to be set free.

    And, as I also keep repeating, I complelely agree that the scene was sexist. You, however, are taking it an extra step by saying that portraying a woman voluntarily offering to have anal sex is misogynistic, and that is where we fundamentally disagree.

  • JG18

    Where is the evidence that the princess was “an impaired person”? And this had nothing to do with consent – the character *offered* to have sex, she wasn’t ordered or asked whether she’d do so.

  • She’s upset that those words aren’t the words that she’d choose.

    No, I’m upset that someone put words into actors’ mouths that allows people like you to look at behaviors that is unequivocally uncool and defend it as freedom of sexual expression.

  • Kevin L

    Christ. Again, movies are nothing but putting words into actor’s mouths, you are having a fit over the choice of those words. That’s all well and good, but it’s utterly sick when you call it sexual abuse and without a doubt denies women free agency. You know, words mean things, but they don’t mean whatever you want them to mean. As a “critic”, this is something you should know.

  • Charlie

    Also thought this joke was out of place. Just my two cents, I’d like to point out that this ending joke can actually be considered equally sexist to guys, not that it makes it any better. I for one as a guy find it offensive that it is implied that guys would jump on the offer of anal from some random princess they don’t really know. If I’d asked a princess for a kiss and in return she offered anal, I would probably reconsider even the kiss. I definitely would not be rushing to bring her a bottle of champagne after saving the world. In a sense I have to agree with certain posters that this joke was probably meant as some form of satire, as that is the only reason I can even explain its existence. It is too crass to be accidental. But in the end I definitely agree that the joke misses its mark, and was rather unnecessary and out of place. Thanks for a good review, and follow up discussion!

  • movies are nothing but putting words into actor’s mouths

    No. You’re wrong. Movies are the collected words and actions the filmmaker puppetmasters actors into saying and doing. You seem unable to comprehend that this happens in a larger context. You seem unable to comprehend it is not an accident that these words and actions happen in the way they do.

  • As I have said *many* times, gendered expectations are bad for men as well as for women. Patriarchy hurts men, too.

  • Kevin L

    It’s becoming a bit like arguing against a brick wall. Once again, you are unable to address the actual issue at hand and instead spew frothing non-sequitors. Now that you at least seem to understand that “putting words into mouths” is part and parcel of the film making process, you should now begin to understand that you are not always going to like what those words are. That’s all well and good, and you’re welcome to criticize movies on that criteria, but to suggest that consensual sex you don’t agree with is sexual abuse is sick and wrong and the exact opposite of feminism. What you are doing is not criticism, it’s infantilism that’s offensive to both men and women. You know nothing of what it means to be a gentleman, you only have a fantasy that exists solely in your head. Sexual authoritarianism is not something to aspire to. What consenting adults do in the dark should be of no concern to you, they really couldn’t care less about your ignorant judgement.

  • Kevin L

    And I find this just too crazy to not respond to:

    “No, I’m upset that someone put words into actors’ mouths that allows
    people like you to look at behaviors that is unequivocally uncool and
    defend it as freedom of sexual expression.”

    Actually, you would be referring to artistic expression, not sexual expression as this is a movie, not a brothel, right? Two completely different issues. And am I to assume, based on your comment, that you do NOT defend this movie as freedom of artistic expression? Serious question, but I’m not so sure I’ll get a serious answer.

  • Kevin L

    Apparently just being female is impairment enough. Since men are apparently on a whole different level, it’s up to them to make sure that women TRULY consent. And we’re not talking about mere verbal consent, that means nothing nowadays. A TRUE gentleman would write up an anal contract and make sure that it’s signed with at least two forms of government ID. At that point, a polygraph would be administered and, assuming it is passed, Maryjane would provide final approval. Then, assuming both parties are still interested, and the male has thoroughly read the handbook “Gentlemen Don’t do Anal”, the sodomy may commence.

    This dystopian hell brought to you by – “Chivalry”.

  • Danielm80

    “Freedom of artistic expression” usually refers to the fight against censorship. MaryAnn isn’t asking for the film to be banned. She just thinks it’s a bad movie.

  • Kevin L

    Film criticism is almost entirely subjective, sexual abuse is decidedly less so. I have no qualms with MaryAnn providing her opinion on movies (although I’m inclined to respect her opinion on films about as much as I respect her opinion on sexual abuse, which is almost none). However, her mockingly deriding people who would defend the movie as freedom of sexual expression is even more ignorant and awful than deriding those who would defend the movie as freedom of artistic expression. Freedom of artistic expression actually means something, freedom of sexual expression is just an amorphous concept without any grounding, constitutional or otherwise (or, before someone accuses me of being U.S.-centric, there is no mention of it in international human rights law). That is obviously not to say that it doesn’t exist, but that it’s derived from other freedoms (and primarily addresses sexual orientation and not private activities between consenting adults). Frankly, I didn’t realize that freedom of sexual expression was something that needed to be defended, but when nanny-staters insist on labeling consensual sex that they don’t agree with as “sexual abuse”, apparently it does.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The fact that she had been imprisoned, against her will and in isolation, by a genocidal psychopath, for months. Any rational person (i.e. anyone why isn’t an irredeemable asshole) would consider such a person to be, at least, not in their best frame of mind.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I already had you basically plonked for pedestrian stupid (and therefore not worth the time) but now you’ve veered into dangerously stupid. Kindly take this cry-baby MRA bullshit and GTFO.

  • Kevin L

    Ahhh, brilliant reply there, doc. Now I see why you spent 8 years in fake medical school. I bow down to your superior intellect which is clearly on display by your use of “plonking”, “MRA” and GTFO. Truly a sterling example of the Dunning-Kruger effect, you are. Just so I can regale my friends with tales of this breathtaking discussion, I want to make sure I’ve accurately summed up your argument. I’m guessing it’s something like this? “Fuck you asshole male, I’m smarter than you are!” . Granted, I’m not as eloquent with words as you are, but I think that’s the gist of it.

  • Kevin L

    Oh yeah, I forgot the “Get the fuck out!” That’s the piece de resistance. None of your brilliant discussions would have the same wit without a cake topper like that one. I would call you a troll, but the trolls I’ve encountered have been at least somewhat educated.

  • You’re thisclose to getting kick off. Quit it with the MRA crap.

  • Kevin L

    I’m honestly interested in discovering what it is that I’m doing that’s MRA. It’s “MRA” to be offended when consensual sex is conflated with sexual abuse? I can’t imagine that it’s just males that would get offended by that, I’d imagine anyone who has ACTUALLY been sexually abused would find that to be nauseating, in fact, I’ve spoken with several who find that well beyond offensive. THAT is what you have a problem with? Really?

  • Kevin L

    Uh huh. And the guy who spent the past several days seeing his loved ones and many others get killed and being forced to kill himself? He IS in the best frame of mind? Funny how no one making this utterly bone-headed argument seems to care about the male who was solicited for sex. It’s almost as if they are judging the two differently solely based upon their gender. Seems pretty asinine if you ask me.

  • RogerBW

    It’s MRA to claim that rape or abuse is consensual, especially by claiming that anything which doesn’t involve violence is agreement. That’s what the entire MRA movement is about.

  • Kevin L

    OK, just so I can get this straight, you think that the movie depicted rape when the protagonist accepted the princess’ request for sex?

  • Danielm80

    Many of the conversations I’ve had recently have reminded me of Monty Python:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAYDiPizDIs

  • I said “freedom of sexual expression,” and that is what I meant.

  • RogerBW

    I haven’t seen the scene in question. That’s why I haven’t been joining in. I certainly regard consent as dubious in someone who’s just been rescued from imprisonment and death threats, so when you say “wa-hay, that’s definitely consent” I tend not to agree.

  • Kevin L

    So, who used the term “freedom of sexual expression” or anything like that? I’d also suggest that, due to the fact that this is a movie we’re discussing, freedom of sexual expression has nothing to do with this. And again I’ll say that “freedom of sexual expression” is really a term that means nothing to anyone but the individual (i.e. completely subjective). Perhaps you’re referring to the Right to Sexuality, that is a term that’s actually tangible, but deals with sexual discrimination and not anything approaching a silly movie. However, if “freedom of sexual expression” IS in fact what you mean, then you must be confused. But I’ll assume for a moment that you’re not and ask you the following question: Do you think that this particular scene should NOT be defended as “freedom of sexual expression”?

  • Kevin L

    How can consent be in question when it was the princess who made the request? Also, if you consider her request to be dubious because it followed an imprisonment, then SURELY you must think that it’s the princess who sexually abused the man who had just seen numerous loved ones die and who has been forced to kill on behalf of his country. I have to imagine that’s FAR more traumatic than spending a few months in a cushy jail. Why is it that her request is not considered to be sexual abuse, but the protagonist’s acquiescence to that request is?

  • Danielm80
  • RogerBW

    You’re repeating yourself.

  • Kevin L

    So, you have no answer? I may repeat myself, but none of the half-wits that have made the argument that the princess was molested have even attempted to answer that question. And it does seem rather odd that you’d say that you haven’t seen the scene in question so won’t comment and then basically say: “Yeah, the princess who offered sex to the protagonist was definitely raped, stupid MRA.” The above posted pic of Ouroboros is fairly fitting in this discussion. Attempting to elucidate the saps around here is an entirely sisyphean task.

  • Bluejay
  • Kevin L

    Awesome, I can add yet another half-wit to the list. And let’s be honest, no one has attempted to answer the question because if they attempted to do so, they’d come off even more idiotic than they already have been. Also, by you replying, you’ve kind of just destroyed your argument. But nice try.

  • Danielm80

    You’re obviously never going to get an answer that you find satisfactory. You may think that’s a reflection of our poor reasoning skills. We may think it reflects our frustration with your style of communication. But when you keep posting the same comments over and over again, often in the same words, it doesn’t enhance the discussion. It just prolongs it. I’m sure you know the saying about the definition of insanity.

  • You’re gone.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m just convinced he’s a horrible horrible person. We’ve seen some strange characters, with some weird ideas about effective communication (and a decided lack of any sort of sense of humor) in the last few weeks. But I don’t think any of them have managed the kind of sustained awfulness of this dude. The rest have been either one or two post trolls, or they’ve at least gestured in the direction of interesting discussion. But this asshat has his two bad, stupid ideas, and he’s just gonna hammer them, all the while bleating at everyone around him for not bowing to his clearly superior intellect in increasingly shrill tones.

    In short, screw this guy. And screw any and all of the rest of the Red Pill rejects who wander in here from now on.

  • B

    Pssht. Not really even worth of a response. But I’ll throw a bone; I’m a rising independent film maker, and I loved this film. It’s definitely in my top 10. Near the likes of Citizen Kane and Shawshank Redemption. Why? Because it will market itself. This movie found a way to make bein offensive ambiguous whole also throwing a hell of a party for those who don’t worry about petty issues. The modern gentleman uses profanity when it’s appropriate, and violence when it’s necessary. As for the church scene, again , ambiguously offensive. This entire movie is basically a filter that will allow overly sensitive critics that get butthurt over the smallest issues to post negative reviews that will talk it up. While all the rest of us enjoy as it is

  • Ooo, you threw me a bone. I feel so special!

  • Danielm80

    You’re a rising independent filmmaker in spite of your utter inability to construct an English sentence? Actually, that would explain Under the Skin.

  • Bluejay

    Not really even worth of a response.

    After which you write around 10 more sentences. Be consistent in your contempt!

    I’m a rising independent film maker

    So what? I bet there are other filmmakers who DIDN’T like this movie. If you’re a rising filmmaker, you’d better get used to people disagreeing over your work.

  • SaltHarvest

    Inferred from being in a jail cell (along with quite a few other prisoners, I’d add) and Valentine’s ‘conversations.’

  • LJS

    I wonder if Eggy had explained his response differently, he would have passed. As I recall it, he tries to comply and hesitates. He can’t pull the trigger. And he refuses, then points the gun at Arthur. If he had instead responded immediately that it was an inappropriate or illegal order, rather than trying and failing to carry it out, would he have passed. (As soon as the cute puppies were introduced, I was pretty sure I knew where that was going.)

  • helloworlder

    I think the main problem is that the movie has a split personality. There’s no way I can take a movie like this seriously, yet I can’t walk away thinking it was a comedy. It seems like a patchwork of serious storytelling and then an aftertaste of a spy movie targeted at teenage kids. The only likeable character in the cast to me is Eggsy. Even the good guys aren’t that likeable. The smugness of the Kingsmen makes it a bit annoying to watch at times, honestly. At least Samuel L Jackson is a comic relief in his ridiculous portrayal (in a good way) of the villain. For me 3 stars :)

  • Yaya

    Dear MAJ, Thank you for saying what I’ve been thinking for the past few hours since seeing this film. The scene in the church left me speechless and disturbed, and the ending was the nail in the coffin for me. As you mention below, the princess was one of the few characters in this film who stood by her beliefs, so it made no sense whatsoever to have her do such a turnaround at the end. This was a film with so much potential; it did not need to go in the direction that it went.

  • Clare

    I totally agree with this review. I was annoyed throughout and then utterly disgusted with the end scene.

    As a young, independent, professional and liberal woman, trying to make my way in today’s world is difficult enough without crass and seemingly pointless “jokes” like this one.
    What is this teaching young men? What is the saying about women?
    In my mind this reinforces that it is a man’s world. It is disappointing that this was included, and it is completely unacceptable to me, it should also be unacceptable to women and men all over the world. As long as we continue to excuse this type of objectification of females, we will continue to see rise in broken relationships, domestic violence and inequality between genders. All seem to go hand in hand.
    It had no place in an otherwise harmless and fun movie, that I watched until this point and then felt I had lost two hours of my life that I will never get back.
    I am not against anal sex, I am against this being made into humour and sending men the message that this is okay. Our youth are exposed to online pornography, sex everywhere they look, instant gratification, NO WONDER men have unrealistic expectations of sex and the rate of broken marriages continues to rise… And we wonder why?
    None of what I say here has any relation to religion and people who know me would hardly call me a prude…
    I am just offended. I will not watch or support another movie by this director. And I don’t care to be labelled a “feminist” if that’s the tag that he feels insults me and turns the tables.

  • Zagreus

    Well, the Princess, as presented (which you may or may not believe) looked cool, and confident and willing. There is no reason to believe that Valentine mistreated her in any way- other than holding her captive. This was, in no way, a realistic take on a man “taking advantage” of a traumatized victim- and was not presented that way- AT ALL. That is a far stretch from what is presented. This woman WANTED to reward this agent with sex, and also wanted sex with this agent, and at the end seemed more than happy to copulate, anally, with him. It was wink and joke, sure, and a fun one. It was not horrifying. Twist it all you want. But that is all you.

  • Jim Harris

    I found Kingsman very disturbing. I know it was meant to be a comedy, but I felt more like a Roman at the Colosseum. Sure, everything was played for laughs, but there was a constant background of hate behind them. When does mass killing become uplifting?

  • Matthew

    You call yourself a film expert, you’re a joke, you’re twisting this movie to fit your agenda. She offers the sex, instead of being womanised like Bond’s mistresses back in the day. A “feminist” like you should appreciate that fact. I say “feminist” since from what I have read you seem like the typical person who gives feminists a bad name, by going overboard and caring only about woman’s rights. Then again, I don’t know you. Stop giving feminists a bad name, because it means guys such as myself don’t want to be called feminists because of the bad connotations that people like you give the term. Good day.

  • David Dunne

    “So tell me what you think was “doing what’s right” about what Eggsy does with the woman in the cell at the end at the film. Go on: I’ll wait.”

    methinks you’re being a touch prudish here, maryann. ‘what eggsy does with the woman in the cell at the end of the movie’ was perhaps a tiny bit graphic and unexpected, but the princess (tilde) seemed quite willing, even eager. she volunteers ‘something more than a kiss’ on the proviso that he saves the world. he succeeds and returns with champagne and glasses. perhaps a gentleman in the truest sense of the word would have given her a chaste kiss on the cheek and escorted her to the plane, but then she’s horny and willing, he’s horny and willing. she probably hasn’t had any in weeks or perhaps months and likewise for him, they are both consenting adults who have just managed to avert disaster on a global scale, so understandably, they wish to celebrate with each other. any questions?

  • Unfortunately, much of what passes for entertainment has a quality of bread-and-circuses about it.

  • Toni

    As a very devout feminist and incidently also a merry lesbian I have to say I thought this movie was hilarious and very touching. It was great seeing a strong female character (Roxy) who is trained side-by-side of hero without any romance. The church scene starts with the self-rightious wrath, and takes it to logical extension – senseless violence, the humour comes from seeing something suggested which we are used to, to outright happening which is a bit shocking and cathartically hilarious. And the final scene takes the usual ending scene from James Bond – an innuendo about sex as reward for saving the world, to outright showing ‘ if you save the world you can do it in the ass-hole’ – a little bit shocking and so cathartically funny. I actually find it far less offensive then the usual delicately implied suggestion that women are a mans reward. And instead of the fragile young damsels in distress of bond, the princess is much older than the hero – she shocks and enthralls him with the suggestion of anal sex. She isn’t portrayed as traumatised – but strong and sane.

  • What did you find “touching” in this film?

  • Toni

    1. The relationship protagonist develops with strong female
    character who is ‘respected colleague’ rather than love interest;

    2. The relationship protagonist has with mother and baby
    sister;

    3. The relationship protagonist develops with his mentor;

    4. The relationship protagonist develops with dog –
    something he is responsible for and would rather sacrifice a dream career rather than harm.

    All a little sentimental, but I found it very touching.

  • Jim Harris

    Yeah, and Kingsman even featured persecution of Christians. I hate comic book violence because everyone is becoming desensitized to larger body counts. My friends all love Kingsman, and most of them have been women. When I ask about the undercurrent of hate and misogyny they merely reply, “But it’s such a fun movie.” I wrote a blog post about the ending of Kingsman, and only one of my lady friends agreed.

  • Dr No comment

    This film was yet another half baked slog right to the unnecessary crude ending where the ultimate prize for the hero is breaking in a princesses back door. (Nice touch to put this in a film, don’t see enough of it being pushed in porn these days.) As with a lot of these average films they make, I find myself asking “why am I watching this shite?” rather frequently but with such good actors, cute doggies and never seen before gadgets I soon get dragged back into it. I was being serious about the actors and the dogs by the way. People who are saying that this film is a good one are just dumbed down to the usual mainstream tat we are so used to now. They are easily pleased and thats why films like this exist. At the end of the day its a pile of horse shit but as long as it has a bit of violence, vulgar references and a few jokes about how divided the world is then its bound to make a few quid through sales. And what else matters ey! Why even argue about it guys, who cares about it that much anyway. Only a film!

  • graabergfan

    So far, I’m tired of you representing yourself as a film critic and using language that should be beneath a film critic. You despise this film for its vulgarity (your right), yet you use vulgar language.

  • graabergfan

    You shouldn’t feel it Mary.

  • graabergfan

    I’ve read your review and all the comments and agree with DR. You Maryann obviously have something deeper inside you that is offended by this film. Isn’t Johanson a last name of swedish descent? I’ll help you out. It is. It seems that is where your indignation stems from for your hatred and vulgar language, something that should be below a film critic.
    This whole film is based on satire and cheap tricks to get people talking which will make others go see the film which will make the film industry make money which is what it’s all about. Haven’t you seen Fight Club or Boogie Nights? Same cheap trick to put an unnecessary spin on the end.

  • corporate refugee

    This is the first film I have been to see in a long time where the audience spontaneously applauded at the end. Great fun, for the open minded that is.

  • People applaud all sorts of things. No one applauded at my screening. Does this mean the movie is simultaneously awesome and not-awesome?

  • CB

    “Not very Kingsman” — a friend, on the ending of Kingsman.

  • James

    She’s clearly putting her own agenda into that scene. He in no way took advantage of her and I think this reviewer ha some real issues on the topic of sex.

  • Jake Mason

    Absolutely terrible review of a very enjoyable film

  • What’s enjoyable about the film? What’s terrible about the review?

    (See how I’m trying to shut down disagreement here?)

  • JoeThePimpernel

    If you like vapid, hate-filled, one-dimensional stereotypes of every Left-wing boogeyman, this movie is for you.

  • JoeThePimpernel

    At first I hated it, then I figured out the actual plot. It turns the envirowacko climate-change debate on its head. It’s about time somebody started telling the truth about what the UN has in mind for the peasants.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Shine on, you crazy diamond.

  • JoeThePimpernel

    Samuel L Jackson is a billionaire former environment activist who finally decided that CO2 was a “red herring” (his character’s words) and that the only way to save the planet was to get billions of peasants to kill each other. He gathers fellow billionaires and corrupt government officials to a safe place where they initiate a program that will cause the peasants to annihilate each other so they can all live in a Walden paradise.
    But Samuel underestimated our hero, and he and his cohorts are annihilated instead.
    That’s the plot, whether you like it or not.

  • Climate conspiracy nutjob alert.

    Let me guess: Does it involve black helicopters? Contrails?

  • I don’t think anyone is denying that this is (basically) the plot.

    But it *is* fiction. You seem to believe otherwise. Not sure who you’re arguing with here. Someone imaginary, I suspect…

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh, there’s more? Excellent. Hang on, lemme grab some popcorn… OK, I’m ready. Please, continue.

    But, do stop before you get to the Jews, because dude, c’mon, don’t make it obvious.

  • JoeThePimpernel

    Samuel L Jackson is a billionaire former environmental activist who finally decided that CO2 was a “red herring” (his character’s words) and that the only way to save the planet was to get billions of peasants to kill each other. He gathers fellow billionaires and corrupt government officials to a safe place where they initiate a program that will cause the peasants to annihilate each other so they can all live in a Walden paradise.

    But Samuel underestimated our hero, who annihilates him and his cohorts instead.

    That’s the plot, whether you like it or not.

  • JoeThePimpernel

    I enjoyed your ox being gored for a change.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    No no, you already posted this. I need some new!

  • JoeThePimpernel

    I wasn’t talking to you.

  • Don’t post the same comment twice. (I deleted your repeated comment.)

  • JoeThePimpernel

    If you read my previous comment, then I don’t understand why you asked the question in the first place.

  • amanohyo

    So Joe, you think you’ve got it all figured out? MaryAnn, a woman who runs an independent movie review site is part of a global conspiracy to kill billions of people orchestrated by an organization that is consistently ridiculed for its impotence. You’re certainly on the right track, but you’re thinking too small.

    The movie is merely phase one of an even more sinister plan. The precise moment it grosses five hundred million dollars, the UN will use the generated reward points to purchase the secret army of Scarlett Johansson clones from an Amazonian shopping cartel.

    Each clone will be inserted into a depleted uranium torpedo and dropped into the center of the Bermuda Triangle. Upon reaching the Earth’s core, they will harmonize the vibratons in their genetically modified vocal chords and create a raspy singularity known as “The Final Surge.” This is the song that will end the universe.

    There is no stopping it. The left-wing Ecofemipetaveginazis have infiltrated the highest echelons of Sea Borg – even Ambassador Granpantsu, our staunchest ally, has been bought off with a lifetime supply of Sourpatch Kids. How did our enemies learn of her weakness? They must have spies everywhere.

    Now that you’ve seen what lies behind the mask, you understand that there is no hope left. We may as well stop fearing the inevitable and enjoy our last few decades on Earth by being kind, generous, rational human beings. Whatever you do, don’t use the internet or watch movies! That’s when the betawave scanners extract your secrets. It’s rumored that scanners cannot read the thoughts of calm, medicated minds, but I don’t know, that sounds pretty far fetched to me.

  • You think this movie is a blueprint for reality?

    I can’t even.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh, this guys is amazing. He’s just showing us the tip of the iceberg of crazy that is Joe.

  • People are so fucking butthurt nowadays.

  • John T

    I think it was great.

    All the super elite, locked away in their own special world, forcing the poor to kill each other. It’s a message. You’d think a flickfilosopher would have picked up on it.

    In the end, the poor sodomized the rich.

    Flippin awesome.

  • What makes you think I didn’t notice that? What makes you think anyone could have missed that?

    A “message” is not enough. The “message” here certainly does not overcome my objections to it.

    Perhaps you missed the “message” that the filmmaker clearly thinks it’s flippin awesome when poor people are forced to kill one another.

  • NickVanderGraaf

    Absolutely agree with your review. Childish, obnoxious, grotesque, certainly not funny. I knew it was gonna be crap, but my wife figured “Colin Firth, how bad can it be?” Well, the answer is REALLY bad.

  • fightingporn

    Tasteles & porn-influenced end scene. I was appalled when I left the cinema & am delighted to read a similar opinion to mine. Women are objectified in every form of the media & I think film & tv producers are pressurised to include porn style shots to increase ratings. What did the anal sex scene add to the storyline? It just reaffirmed to me that porn is gradually becoming normalised & young men see women as objects. Read articles on the normalisation of porn in mainstream media & see who funds it.

  • Kile Pryme

    Aaah, the ending – give a real-world name to the imprisoned princess (say, Stephanie of Monaco?), and could you even question it?

  • No idea what you’re suggesting. That using a real person’s name would make it all okay?

  • Imran

    waste of time nonsense movie. i am amazed however that you didnt dislike mad max fury road too. for me both of these movies were just different brands of the same non-sense oriented action movies. like the expendables movies. id love to hear your thoughts in-short about why madmax wasnt as bad as kingsman for you. consider it a humble request :)

  • Bluejay

    I think her opinion is already very clearly explained in her reviews and “Where Are the Women” analysis for both films, as well as in her comments in the comments sections. Just read them.

    (Hint: for one thing, Kingsman and Mad Max treat their female characters VERY differently.)

  • Wasn’t as bad? *Fury Road* isn’t bad at all. I should think my reviews of the two films make it clear how these two films aren’t the least bit alike.

  • DeliaDelilah

    This was a thoughtful and accurate review. I was shocked to find all the positive reviews this movie got. Although Kingsman was stylish and exciting in its way, it ultimately adds up to a good example of bad filmmaking. The tone was very confusing—what was he trying to say (about environmentalists? about Bond films? about English gentlemen?) and how was he trying to say it (was it a comedy? a parody? a satire?) Damned if I know. The violent scenes went on way too long and the ending, well, all I can say is WTF? Confusing, offensive, and disaffecting outweigh stylish and exciting any day. I think that because it was so sophisticated in its choreography and cinematography, its faults were all the more glaring and disappointing.

  • Urglefloggah

    I got a sour taste for this movie already in the introductory scene: the British gentleman spies (bear in mind that we don’t yet know that they do not belong to the official secret service) are seen violently interrogating a suspect whose only crime we see is living in the Middle East, having dark skin and the beginnings of a beard. And they were presented as heroic for doing so!

    For anyone with an ounce of knowledge of international politics this is the kind of behaviour both British and other western intelligence agencies have been involved in for a long time and it’s hardly seen as heroic by most moviegoers.

  • Oh, but many people *do* see such behavior as heroic.

  • Urglefloggah

    A fact that I’m sadly aware of, though they are presumably in a minority. Mindless action where cardboard cutout badguys are terrorists is one thing, cold blooded torture of a potential innocent is harder for even those seeing movies with their prains on standby to swollow.

  • fred

    ok, reading the comments here is really a wild ride…

  • Michael Flack

    The article seems to miss the point completely, our society is made up of everyone doing what they think is right and with many groups of power thinking themselves to be of moral the moral high ground while effectively doing whatever it takes to push their agenda.

    So even a group of gentleman will be prepared to do what ever it takes/ hold beliefs that would open their gentlemanliness open for debate.

    Also what happened in the church and later on underscores a very dangerous perspective held by many, which in return fulled the dangerous perspectives of others.

    A common reaction to seeing a hate church go down like that would be of just deserts and a feeling of “well if only something like that happened our world would be a bit better” why so? because such hate groups are responsible for so much pain and suffering both directly and indirectly (when one looks to justify their actions such groups in every demographic are just the key to giving oneself the reasons to spread the hate and suffering even further)

    Why is this mentality a problem is because we become just like the hate demographic and this leads to people eventually falling into line with one of the many breeds of hate.

    the end goal of everyone going fight club on each other (though forced by the main villain) is what can also be seen as the unveiled hatred we humans have against everyone around us (the struggle for quality of life underscores our worlds finite resources and a growing unstable population that’s destined to be at odds with itself unless this issue is addressed properly and earnestly.

    So when the heads of so many leading figures goes up in colorful smoke, the common reaction is also of support for the demise of so many leaders seen to be complicit with human tragedy while the average person is also guilty of that same complicity.

    So in the end while punishment is dolled out to many people seen as responsible and the human race was brought to its knees, the issue that brought a madman to such conclusions remains and the world still on its path to human created doom, only to fuel the crazed actions of future madmen/women to commit horrible acts against humanity while seeing themselves as knights of justice.

    Mass ignorance does not change a problem it only compounds the suffering felt by those who the problem effects first.

  • Michael Flack

    The problem is with perceived situational circumstances.

    Because such scenes are vague when compared to the level of detail required to avoid any miss understandings from the many viewers who will perceive the princess circumstances differently.

    In this case because the conflict is of two types of conflicting perceptions.

    One of a woman who has been locked up (for being the first major character to speak against the villain) and has entered a state of trauma induced insanity, which is why she looses touch with her moral compass and offers sex as a victims use of self sacrifice to find an escape from her situation.

    The other is of a woman who having gone though the ordeal, has lost her prim and proper mind set, but is still the empowered strong woman who was a fierce objector to the villains plans. her offering of sex was but her letting loose at the end of an ordeal with someone who she is grateful to for saving her and everyone’s life.

    Now if the movie were to be prim and proper and to try and address any possible conflict of misconception it would be very long and would go though a lengthy and awkward series of discussions in which the princess is questioned on her mental state and is offered medical attention for her mental well being for a preconceived notion that may or may not be true to the writers intent.

    Movies are longer than TV shows but are still limited to both budget and viewing length based on the average attention span (pacing and plot progression is easily lost if a movie becomes bogged down with the details)

    Also the more successful movies are successful because they are vague to a certain degree making their characters and overall plot more easily projectable for people to place their selves and their own ideals into the hot spots of the movie so the movie finds it easier to connect with the viewer though not being left a little vague.

    Any conflict of perception then leads to a debate and this is good for any of the underlying social issues.

    For instance, should the underlying concept of hero saves day and gets banged be reviewed, of course its out dated and self centered.

    The idea that one must be immediately rewarded for doing whats right is also a misconception.

    a role model that actively seeks to empower though the understanding of a victims mental state, would be a great addition to our current hero trends.

    But back to the point the movie does not cover all its bases like most movies, as this would be too time consuming and with the massive range of differing beliefs and mind sets almost impossible to do without angering a lot of people.

    Thus movies are left vague enough for us to give it the best fit of what we think it means and how we feel we should react or regard the movie and what it entails.

  • BrannigansLaw

    I’m way late to this party, but felt compelled to post anyway because I finally watched KINGSMAN last night. I have to say that, even though I didn’t agree with your assessment of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, you are spot on with this review. SPOT. friggin’. ON.

    The movie was passable until that last bit. But even before that, I as a bit annoyed that the woman, deemed a better agent, was left hanging in the sky from what must have been a not-so-inside joke. Why didn’t we get to see her in action? Well, that last sequence gave me the answer to that and then some.

    I was shocked that this so-called blockbuster movie so blatantly displayed its hate of women… in this day and age.

  • BrannigansLaw

    I skimmed through some of the comments here and I have to say, MaryAnn Johanson is not missing the point, and is not being sexist when she points out the misogyny in KINGSMAN.

    If a movie was intended as a spoof of misogyny of the genre, then it wouldn’t simply regurgitate that misogyny; and that’s just what KINGSMAN did.

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