With Kingsman: The Secret Service coming out in February and trailers already doing the rounds in multiplexes I thought it was time to do a quick recap of the career of Matthew Vaughn.
When you look at some peoples credits on IMDB, you can’t help but feel a little in awe of the work they’ve done, or how they’ve managed to genre hop. Matthew Vaughn is one the best. Starting out as a producer, his second movie was the much imitated Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, which he worked on with Guy Ritchie. Ritchie then made Snatch, again with Vaughn producing.
With these two movies alone, Vaughn could be forgiven for stepping into the role of Producer for all of Ritchie’s work, but it seemed this man had his own dreams of being a director. As a movie lover and fan of his work, I’m so happy he did.
After doing some other producing work, he produced and directed his first movie, Layer Cake. Layer Cake is a fantastic crime thriller starring Daniel Craig. This wasn’t a Lock Stock wannabe movie, this was its own thing, sleek and story driven. It would come as no surprise to think it was this performance of Craig's in this film that inspired the Bond producers to tap him to become the new 007.
So he makes a great crime movie, he should follow it with another, right? Make another movie along the same lines and get the same audience back? Nope, not if you're Matthew Vaughn. You make a family, fantasy, adventure movie of course! Not since Rob Reiner's dance about the genres at the beginning of his career has there been such a diverse director and, in fact, Stardust should, by rights, be the younger generations Princess Bride. Vaughn nails it again, this time with an all star cast, Robert DeNiro, Ricky Gervais, Mark Strong and one of Michelle Pfeiffer's best performances.
Vaughn was high on the studios wish list and got the job to direct X-Men 3 but sadly Vaughn had to pull out for family reasons.
2010 saw him return to the Producer's AND Director's chair with, indeed, a comic-book movie. It wasn't a big time studio super hero though but instead the Mark Millar created Kick-Ass. The screenplay saw Vaughn team up with Jane Goldman again after their Stardust success. This was a huge kick the comicbook movie genre needed. It had attitude, a real world setting and gave cosplayers around the world new characters to dress up as. Vaughn, remarkably, put his own money into the movie as he truly believed in Millar’s world. A favourite amongst comic book fans and movie lovers alike, the movie really has everything, including the introduction of Hit-Girl. Chloe Grace Moretz is fantastic in the role and it really put her on the map as an actress to watch. The movie got a sequel in 2013, that some felt wasn't as good, with Vaughn returning only as a producer this time. Maybe if he had co-written it and directed it, the out come may have been different.
In 2011 Vaughn finally got his X-Men movie. After the last X-Men movie, fans of the series were feeling very let down and the studio decided a new direction was needed. The new direction was to go back to the beginning with, a fan favourite storyline, X-Men First Class. An origin story set in the sixties, it seems to combine a lot of different genres: sci-fi, spy caper, action, adventure. The cast are strong, the action is good and, with its sequel released this year to great acclaim, it seems to have been just what the franchise needed. Vaughn made a largely Wolverine-less X-Men movie brilliant, although Jackman’s cameo is genius.
Matthew Vaughn, after a diverse producing and directing start, has apparently, finally found his niche (or Hollywood has for him) as he returns in early 2015 with another comic-book movie - Kingsman: The Secret Service. It's not only a return to a genre he has had great success in and has helped to change but it's also a return to his partnership with Mark Millar. I’ve read the comic and I really enjoyed it but can Vaughn pull off another comicbook action classic? Of course he can! It’ll be great! Vaughn doesn’t direct duds, he doesn’t know how to.