Kingsman: The Secret Service movie review: forgets its manners

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Kingsman The Secret Service red light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
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 a 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 for Kingsman: 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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Rhoopy
Rhoopy
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 5:49pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Rhoopy
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 6:28pm

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
james
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 7:13pm

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.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  james
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 7:39pm

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

Also, equality is not about not noticing differences.

Truman Burbank
Truman Burbank
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Mon, Feb 23, 2015 9:34am

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?)

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Truman Burbank
Mon, Feb 23, 2015 5:48pm

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.

SaltHarvest
SaltHarvest
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Tue, Feb 24, 2015 3:48pm

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

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Truman Burbank
Mon, Feb 23, 2015 7:00pm

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

RogerBW
RogerBW
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Feb 23, 2015 7:03pm

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

SaltHarvest
SaltHarvest
reply to  Truman Burbank
Tue, Feb 24, 2015 3:43pm

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

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  james
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 7:57pm

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
James
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 8:06pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  James
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 8:16pm

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
james
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 8:36pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  james
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 9:31pm

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.

james
james
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 11:47pm

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?

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  james
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 3:20am

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

james
james
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Sun, Feb 01, 2015 10:25pm

Bloggers are not critics. Your trolling is inane.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  james
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 11:59am

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

james
james
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Feb 01, 2015 10:31pm

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
Bluejay
reply to  james
Sun, Feb 01, 2015 11:39pm

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
LaSargenta
reply to  james
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 12:34am

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.

james
james
reply to  LaSargenta
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 10:56am

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?).

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  james
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 1:04pm

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
LaSargenta
reply to  james
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 2:32pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  james
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 4:06pm

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.

bronxbee
reply to  james
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 2:56am

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

james
james
reply to  bronxbee
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 10:57am

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

cmon
cmon
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 10:59pm

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.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  cmon
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 11:55pm
Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  cmon
Tue, Feb 03, 2015 12:08am

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.

rusty
rusty
reply to  james
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 5:51pm

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?

SeeJay the WeeJay
SeeJay the WeeJay
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 3:26am

“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?

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  SeeJay the WeeJay
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 12:14pm

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.

JG18
JG18
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 11:18am

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.)

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  JG18
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 4:16pm

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?

JG18
JG18
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, Feb 07, 2015 11:46pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  JG18
Sun, Feb 08, 2015 2:00pm

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.

JG18
JG18
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Feb 12, 2015 6:35pm

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

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  JG18
Thu, Feb 12, 2015 7:32pm

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

Kevin L
Kevin L
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Mar 02, 2015 7:12pm

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
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Kevin L
Mon, Mar 02, 2015 9:49pm

How arch. Ho ho.

Kevin L
Kevin L
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Tue, Mar 03, 2015 11:58am

Gee, thanks Doc.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  JG18
Sat, Feb 14, 2015 4:33pm

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.

JG18
JG18
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Thu, Feb 26, 2015 7:22am

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  JG18
Thu, Feb 26, 2015 12:32pm

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.

JG18
JG18
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Mar 02, 2015 12:37am

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  JG18
Mon, Mar 02, 2015 8:02am

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.

JG18
JG18
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 4:29am

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.

Matthew
Matthew
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Mar 15, 2015 12:11am

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.

Kevin L
Kevin L
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Tue, Mar 03, 2015 3:43pm

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.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Kevin L
Tue, Mar 03, 2015 4:41pm

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
Kevin L
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Tue, Mar 03, 2015 4:49pm

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
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Kevin L
Tue, Mar 03, 2015 5:41pm

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
Kevin L
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Tue, Mar 03, 2015 6:16pm

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
JG18
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 4:32am

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.

Kevin L
Kevin L
reply to  JG18
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 3:08pm

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”.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Kevin L
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 7:34pm

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
Kevin L
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 7:47pm

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
Kevin L
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 7:51pm

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.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 8:54pm

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

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

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Kevin L
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 8:12pm

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

Kevin L
Kevin L
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 8:18pm

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?

RogerBW
RogerBW
reply to  Kevin L
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 8:48pm

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
Kevin L
reply to  RogerBW
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 8:52pm

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

RogerBW
RogerBW
reply to  Kevin L
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 9:10pm

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
Kevin L
reply to  RogerBW
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 9:18pm

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?

RogerBW
RogerBW
reply to  Kevin L
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 9:33pm

You’re repeating yourself.

Kevin L
Kevin L
reply to  RogerBW
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 9:38pm

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
Bluejay
reply to  Kevin L
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 10:16pm
Kevin L
Kevin L
reply to  Bluejay
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 10:24pm

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
Danielm80
reply to  Kevin L
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 11:24pm

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.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Danielm80
Thu, Mar 05, 2015 12:40am

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Kevin L
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 11:40pm

You’re gone.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  Kevin L
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 9:31pm
Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  JG18
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 7:03pm

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.

Kevin L
Kevin L
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 8:24pm

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.

SaltHarvest
SaltHarvest
reply to  JG18
Fri, Mar 06, 2015 3:08pm

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

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Kevin L
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 8:21am

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
Kevin L
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 11:51am

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Kevin L
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 2:13pm

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.

Kevin L
Kevin L
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 2:31pm

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.

Charlie
Charlie
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 12:27pm

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!

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Charlie
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 2:15pm

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

Kevin L
Kevin L
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 2:33pm

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.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  Kevin L
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 3:55pm

“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
Kevin L
reply to  Danielm80
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 4:39pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Kevin L
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 9:06pm

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

Kevin L
Kevin L
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Mar 04, 2015 9:13pm

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”?

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  JG18
Thu, Feb 26, 2015 9:27pm

*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.

JG18
JG18
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Mon, Mar 02, 2015 12:33am

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

Kevin L
Kevin L
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Tue, Mar 03, 2015 12:01pm

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
Danielm80
reply to  Kevin L
Tue, Mar 03, 2015 12:41pm

When has she tried to backtrack?

Kevin L
Kevin L
reply to  Danielm80
Tue, Mar 03, 2015 1:20pm

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.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  Kevin L
Tue, Mar 03, 2015 3:59pm

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
Kevin L
reply to  Danielm80
Tue, Mar 03, 2015 4:06pm

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?

Shela
Shela
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Fri, Feb 06, 2015 3:53pm

Depends on how handsome the stranger is…

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Shela
Fri, Feb 06, 2015 6:59pm

*Really*?

PowderedToastMan
PowderedToastMan
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Feb 25, 2015 8:29am

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.

rusty
rusty
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 5:42pm

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.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  rusty
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 6:26pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  rusty
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 10:16pm

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

Tonio Kruger
reply to  rusty
Mon, Feb 09, 2015 11:41pm

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

cmon
cmon
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 10:59pm

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.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  cmon
Tue, Feb 03, 2015 12:10am

Well, you’re certainly all class.

PowderedToastMan
PowderedToastMan
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Feb 25, 2015 8:26am

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.

James
James
reply to  james
Fri, Apr 10, 2015 8:03pm

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.

Junio Estevez
Junio Estevez
reply to  james
Sun, Aug 20, 2017 3:04pm

The point is you think those horrible old 60’s cliches are fun some of us don’t, some of us don’t want them brought back as if the last 50 years didn’t happen. We quite like the progress the world has made we don’t think a return to that sexism is “fun” like you do – forgive us.

Cinophile
Cinophile
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Feb 22, 2015 10:34pm

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.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Cinophile
Mon, Feb 23, 2015 1:05am

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

SaltHarvest
SaltHarvest
reply to  Cinophile
Tue, Feb 24, 2015 5:08pm

An excellent summary of the church scene. *Applause*

Zagreus
Zagreus
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Mar 09, 2015 9:01pm

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.

Dr No comment
Dr No comment
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, Mar 21, 2015 2:46am

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!

Wolfe
Wolfe
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Tue, Feb 03, 2015 11:46pm

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
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Wolfe
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 12:31am

You’re adorable.

Wolfe
Wolfe
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 1:16am

Ain’t I? Thanks for noticing. :)

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Wolfe
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 4:52am

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

Bye now.

Wolfe
Wolfe
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 5:13am

Ta-ta!

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Wolfe
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 3:51am

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
Wolfe
reply to  Bluejay
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 4:40am

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

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Wolfe
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 2:07pm

Cut it out or get banned from posting here.

Wolfe
Wolfe
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 3:17pm

By all means, ban away then! :D

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  Wolfe
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 4:59am

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
Wolfe
reply to  Danielm80
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 5:14am

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

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Danielm80
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 12:44pm

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
RogerBW
reply to  Bluejay
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 1:02pm

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
Danielm80
reply to  RogerBW
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 1:24pm

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.

Cinophile
Cinophile
reply to  Danielm80
Sun, Feb 22, 2015 10:16pm

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.

J Craig Anderson
J Craig Anderson
reply to  RogerBW
Mon, Feb 16, 2015 8:39pm

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.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  Bluejay
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 1:16pm

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
Danielm80
reply to  Bluejay
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 8:57pm

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

http://xkcd.com/1480/

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Wolfe
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 2:06pm

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

Wolfe
Wolfe
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 3:18pm

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
Bluejay
reply to  Wolfe
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 3:25pm

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

Wolfe
Wolfe
reply to  Bluejay
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 4:33pm

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

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Wolfe
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 4:44pm

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
Wolfe
reply to  Bluejay
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 4:52pm

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

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Wolfe
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 4:54pm

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

RogerBW
RogerBW
reply to  Bluejay
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 4:57pm

Please do not feed the troll.

Wolfe
Wolfe
reply to  Bluejay
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 5:10pm

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

mazooma
mazooma
reply to  Wolfe
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 2:43am

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?

David Dunne
David Dunne
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Mar 15, 2015 3:22am

“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?

Michael Flack
Michael Flack
reply to  David Dunne
Wed, Sep 30, 2015 10:51am

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.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  Rhoopy
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 7:39pm

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.

Whity
Whity
reply to  Danielm80
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 3:20am

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

Hamish
Hamish
reply to  Rhoopy
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 9:40pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Hamish
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 11:11pm

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

RogerBW
RogerBW
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 8:47pm

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?

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  RogerBW
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 9:32pm

Maybe I should write that book…

Stephen Burnett
Stephen Burnett
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 12:01am

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.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Stephen Burnett
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 3:19am

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

SeeJay the WeeJay
SeeJay the WeeJay
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 3:27am

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

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Stephen Burnett
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 12:00pm

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

Stephen Burnett
Stephen Burnett
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 12:13pm

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

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Stephen Burnett
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 4:28pm

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

cmon
cmon
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 11:02pm

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

Wolfe
Wolfe
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 4:36pm

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

The Movie Waffler
reply to  Stephen Burnett
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 1:49pm

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

Enjoi1991
Enjoi1991
reply to  The Movie Waffler
Sun, Feb 01, 2015 8:38am

SaltHarvest
SaltHarvest
reply to  RogerBW
Tue, Feb 24, 2015 7:16pm

Wizard of Oz would be a possible starting point.

Jozhster
Jozhster
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 10:12pm

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
Steven
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 11:33pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Steven
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 11:59am

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).

Steven
Steven
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 10:37pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Steven
Sun, Feb 01, 2015 9:50am

Maybe you’re not reading enough into it.

cmon
cmon
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 11:02pm

Maybe you’re HYPERSENSITIVE

nathan
nathan
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 12:53am

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?

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  nathan
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 2:11pm

You’re hilarious.

Yes, clearly, I am the sexist one here.

Wolfe
Wolfe
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 4:37pm

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

J Craig Anderson
J Craig Anderson
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, Feb 14, 2015 3:12am

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  J Craig Anderson
Sat, Feb 14, 2015 1:45pm

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

J Craig Anderson
J Craig Anderson
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Feb 15, 2015 1:33am

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?

nathan
nathan
reply to  J Craig Anderson
Thu, Feb 19, 2015 11:56am

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

J Craig Anderson
J Craig Anderson
reply to  nathan
Thu, Feb 19, 2015 8:49pm

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.

Nathan
Nathan
reply to  J Craig Anderson
Wed, Feb 25, 2015 2:17am

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

SaltHarvest
SaltHarvest
reply to  J Craig Anderson
Tue, Feb 24, 2015 3:02pm

“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.

Cinophile
Cinophile
reply to  nathan
Sun, Feb 22, 2015 9:49pm

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
Cinophile
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Feb 22, 2015 10:09pm

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.)

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Cinophile
Mon, Feb 23, 2015 12:38am

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.

SaltHarvest
SaltHarvest
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Tue, Feb 24, 2015 7:22pm

“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.

SquigglySatires
SquigglySatires
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 1:11am

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
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  SquigglySatires
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 3:28am

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  SquigglySatires
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 12:11pm

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.

SquigglySatires
SquigglySatires
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 8:05pm

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
SquigglySatires
reply to  SquigglySatires
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 8:10pm

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.”

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  SquigglySatires
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 10:06pm

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

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  SquigglySatires
Sun, Feb 01, 2015 6:45am

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  SquigglySatires
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 10:06pm

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.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 3:29am

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
SeeJay the WeeJay
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 3:31am

You mean more people disagreeing with her?

OH THE HORROR

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  SeeJay the WeeJay
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 3:33am

No, I mean more contentless dick-wiggling.

But also more plonking. Bye now.

SeeJay the WeeJay
SeeJay the WeeJay
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 3:35am

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
LaSargenta
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 6:29am

Drinking cheap, red wine while posting?

What’s plonking?

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  LaSargenta
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 4:27pm

Long week.

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

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  SeeJay the WeeJay
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 12:15pm

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.

The Movie Waffler
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 1:41pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  The Movie Waffler
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 2:36pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Enjoi1991
Sun, Feb 01, 2015 9:54am

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
DaFlipp
Sun, Feb 01, 2015 8:12pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  DaFlipp
Mon, Feb 02, 2015 4:01pm

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

Exactly.

SaltHarvest
SaltHarvest
reply to  DaFlipp
Tue, Feb 17, 2015 3:14am

“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..

Hhbbgg
Hhbbgg
Sun, Feb 01, 2015 9:39pm

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

Totally Agree
Totally Agree
Tue, Feb 03, 2015 6:44pm

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.

radiowarsx
radiowarsx
Wed, Feb 04, 2015 6:53am

You’re not very good at your job.

FeelMyPuddle
FeelMyPuddle
Thu, Feb 05, 2015 1:53am

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***.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  FeelMyPuddle
Thu, Feb 05, 2015 10:48am

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
sam
Thu, Feb 05, 2015 2:13pm

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
King416
Thu, Feb 05, 2015 2:56pm

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
Thailand Move
Fri, Feb 06, 2015 2:09am

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
Elle
Fri, Feb 06, 2015 6:51am

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

rosesroses111
rosesroses111
Sat, Feb 07, 2015 1:57pm

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.

Moi
Moi
Sun, Feb 08, 2015 11:34am

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
Fred
Sun, Feb 08, 2015 12:30pm

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
RogerBW
reply to  Fred
Sun, Feb 08, 2015 12:54pm

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?

Sam
Sam
Mon, Feb 09, 2015 3:11am

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

Thomas Watson
Thomas Watson
Tue, Feb 10, 2015 5:47am

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

Hank Graham
Hank Graham
Thu, Feb 12, 2015 5:39pm

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
Hank Graham
reply to  Hank Graham
Thu, Feb 12, 2015 5:42pm

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

Tonio Kruger
reply to  Hank Graham
Fri, Feb 13, 2015 1:52am

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. ;-)

Hank Graham
Hank Graham
reply to  Tonio Kruger
Fri, Feb 13, 2015 4:29pm

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

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

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  Hank Graham
Fri, Feb 13, 2015 4:51pm

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

I’d still go with Tom Stoppard, though.

Tonio Kruger
reply to  Hank Graham
Fri, Feb 13, 2015 1:52am

I vote for the Angel of Verdun.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Tonio Kruger
Sat, Feb 14, 2015 3:39pm

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

SaltHarvest
SaltHarvest
reply to  Hank Graham
Tue, Feb 24, 2015 7:42pm

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

tsa
tsa
Fri, Feb 13, 2015 8:34am

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”

J Craig Anderson
J Craig Anderson
Sat, Feb 14, 2015 2:47am

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.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
Sat, Feb 14, 2015 4:10pm

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
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Sat, Feb 14, 2015 4:41pm

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.

SaltHarvest
SaltHarvest
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Tue, Feb 24, 2015 7:44pm

An idea that didn’t hatch, I guess.

Quentin
Quentin
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Mon, Jul 24, 2017 12:06pm

OMG. I know this is a super old thread but I have to chime in. This film made me feel so strangely queezy in much the same way as the equally atrocious “Wanted” you mentioned ! Something about the tone & casual way it handles violence. I can’t think of many films that had this affect on me. Also the way both films were widely celebrated w/ big name actors colluding I think contribute to the surreal feeling it gives me. The crazy thing is I have no prob w extreme gore or sex . In fact my taste in film is likely too extreme for most people. We’re talkin “Serbian Film” level shit . Yet I found that anal “joke” extremely cringey , bordering on sickening. The films sexism, misanthropy, suspect politics, the church scene/ music video & the fans attacking MaryAnn w/ this MRA bullshit to me is more disturbing than most of the hard core dramas/ horrors that I’m usually drawn to! Someone please help me understand!
Excellent review btw !

SquigglySatires
SquigglySatires
Sat, Feb 14, 2015 6:51pm

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
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  SquigglySatires
Sun, Feb 15, 2015 12:01am

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!

SquigglySatires
SquigglySatires
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Sun, Feb 15, 2015 2:15am

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.

J Craig Anderson
J Craig Anderson
reply to  SquigglySatires
Mon, Feb 16, 2015 9:43pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Sun, Feb 15, 2015 1:16pm

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.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Feb 15, 2015 4:07pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  SquigglySatires
Sun, Feb 15, 2015 12:13am

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

SquigglySatires
SquigglySatires
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Feb 15, 2015 2:17am

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  SquigglySatires
Sun, Feb 15, 2015 1:21pm

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.

MAIRE
MAIRE
Mon, Feb 16, 2015 12:56pm

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  MAIRE
Mon, Feb 16, 2015 2:11pm

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
MAIRE
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Feb 16, 2015 2:29pm

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?

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  MAIRE
Mon, Feb 16, 2015 3:16pm

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

SaltHarvest
SaltHarvest
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Feb 18, 2015 11:31pm

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

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  SaltHarvest
Thu, Feb 19, 2015 10:55am

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.

SaltHarvest
SaltHarvest
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Feb 19, 2015 2:20pm

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.

graabergfan
graabergfan
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Mar 30, 2015 11:34am

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.

SaltHarvest
SaltHarvest
Tue, Feb 17, 2015 3:23am

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

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  SaltHarvest
Tue, Feb 17, 2015 10:47am

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.

SaltHarvest
SaltHarvest
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Feb 18, 2015 2:22pm

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.