Now that the last superhero movie of the year has hit cinemas (*sniff) in the form of Big Hero 6, you may be getting a little antsy about waiting until April for [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035). Well, never fear, because there is another movie that is ready and waiting to impress you with some super-spy action; Kingsman.
Ok, so it doesn't have any superheros in the traditional sense; no lab accidents, alien life forms, mutated genes or insect bites. However, I feel like anyone arguing that these guys don't count should do it quietly....if Natasha Romanov hears you putting down the super spy, there'll be hell to pay!
It's not out till early next year, but Kingsman will definitely bridge the gap between now and Ultron, and from the trailer, it looks absolutely incredible.
This is one of those films that hasn't yet had the kind of hype that we are used to from the big studios, so here are a few things you should new about the new Bond on the block.
1. It's Classic Superhero Stuff, With a Twist
At it's heart, this is the quintessential story we know from so many superhero movies; a guy who is somewhat ordinary, who is definitely flawed, gets the chance to become something so much more than that. However, rather than focusing on the nerd, this one follows the transformation of a punk kid; a genius who dropped out of school/the marines to live on the estate and start a promising career in...petty crime. After yet another arrest, he is picked up by a member of the Secret Service and offered a chance to do something different - use his skills to do some good. Kingsman follows his training, and his problems fitting in in a situation where his new classmates are extremely privileged, and he is the outsider for once.
As per usual, we've got a secret government agency, a diabolical super-genius villain-shaped-person, and a chance to save the world. The trailers also promise a plethora of hand-to-hand butt-kickery, heart-pumping action, and gadgetry to put Bond to shame. Hand grenade lighters, coat hooks to secret passageways, and the ultimate umbrella (and stungun. And gun. And shield. And possibly Batmobile).
It's the classic formula, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There is a reason that it works, and if it ain't broke, well, you know.
2. It's Based on a Comic Book...
Marvel and DC may be dominating the comic-book-to-movie world, but they aren't the only players in the game. [Kingsman: The Secret Service](movie:713143) is actually an adaptation of a short series published by Millarworld, the brainchild of Mark Millar. Most book stores (comic and otherwise) are stocking up on the collected editions in anticipation of the film release, so it's a great time to head out and pick yourself up a copy. At only six issues in total, this is something you can read in an afternoon, unlike trying to read all of, say, The Avengers (my brain hurts just imagining trying to do that before Age of Ultron is released!). Maybe this is another reason that I consider Kingsman worthy of "superhero movie" categorization; super-spies based on a comic book? Yup, I'm in.
3. ...But Doesn't Match It Exactly
While it is an adaptation, there are elements from the series that you won't be seeing in the movie. For one thing, a big part of the comic book character Eggsy/Gary is his devotion to his (admittedly horrible) mother, and his family connections to the Kingsmen. It's something of an explanation for why this particular yob was hand-picked for training in the books, whereas the film has chosen to gift him with a much higher IQ and no relation to Harry Hart, superspy (originally Jack London). There are a few other tweaks, such as the gender of Gazelle, (a particularly interesting henchman) and the identities of some of Eggsy's classmates, but these are minor differences, and largely for the sake of gender equality, as the book features all of two women.
I will be interested to see how the loss of the family element plays out in the movie - presumably Gary's mother will still play a part, just a smaller one, otherwise I would wonder at his motivation. Of course, they could fall back on the old standby of "jail or government training", or the idea that who wouldn't want to become a super-spy, but I wonder if that would make Gary as sympathetic a character. His relationship to Harry/Jack, well, that's much easier to do without needing him to be an uncle. A father figure is a father figure, whether blood related or not.
4. The Director is also a Creator of the Comic
One of the biggest comic-book-fan complaints is about movies not living up to the spirit (or the details) of their favorite series. Well, no fear of that with Kingsman, because one of the creators is also a writer and the director of the film. Matthew Vaughn (of Kick-Ass, fame, and producer of Snatch and Lock Stock) joined forces with Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons to create the series, so if anyone knows what "the creators" were trying to do with the comic book, it's him. There's something quite glorious about knowing that whatever they have decided to change for the sake of the film, the heart and soul of the books will be kept just the way they are.
We also know that Vaughn has previously brought a Millar comic to life in the form of Kick-Ass (which was awesome), so this should be one step further in terms of adaptations, as he has been involved from the beginning.
5. It's Rated R
For all those who are furious about the lack of gore in superhero movies, never fear, Vaughn is here! Kingsman is most definitely rated R, which is a huge point in it's favor. Sick of seeing Wolverine with blood-free claws, or Avengers with nothing more than dirt on their faces after a battle? Enter, Kingsman. Even some of the trailers involve tooth-flying goodness, and I can only imagine what kind of violent shenanigans we will be treated to.
The book involves an impressive array of boobs and bullets, and I assume that the movie will offer up the same. Thankfully. The Justice League may have been originally aimed at children, but Kingsman most certainly isn't, and so we end up with an uncompromisingly adult film.
This is one of those movies that may surprise you. In amongst a bit of a mash-up between James Bond, Spiderman and XXX, there is a messed up kid turning into a hero. It's pretty much guaranteed to be an entertaining action-movie, but I think that it will be more than that. There is something hugely appealing to the excitement that we see in Gary/Eggsey. Tough exteriors aside, there is a sense of wonder to him, the kind of reaction to this opportunity that I think anyone can relate to. The usual suspects when it comes to spy/action movies are just a little too cool, a little bit jaded. Having someone actually respond to a secret door with almost childlike awe and enthusiasm? Yes. It's something present in Kick-Ass, in Stardust, and it's the heart that makes me such a fan of Matthew Vaughn, and so excited to see Kingsman.
Kingsman is out Feb 13, 2015. (So I guess we know which movie is my Valentine's day choice!)