Secret’s out: ‘Kingsman’ delivers pretty bad film

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First Posted: 2/17/2015

It’s appropriate that “50 Shades of Grey” and “Kingsman: The Secret Service” were released on the same day because they’re basically the same kind of movie: depressing soft core porn, wish-fulfillment fantasies.

Both have their appropriately nerdy roots. One being based on a poorly written novel that was repurposed from a “Twilight” fiction series; the other a poorly written comic book that felt like “James Bond Jr.” fan fiction repurposed by a Men’s Rights Activist.

Both are the kind of movies that should be seen in theatres with a bag firmly placed over your head. However, being that “50 Shades” is mildly explicit, aunt-approved porn, the bag is slightly heavier and more burlap-y than the one that’s required to sit through “Kingsman,” which is lighter and translucent to a point where you can almost make out the embarrassed features of its shame-filled wearer.

But wipe that smug (yet still pained) expression off your faces. Just because you get to wear the more comfortable bag, doesn’t mean that “Kingsman” is the better movie. Quite the contrary. At least “50 Shades” is honest with itself. Ostensibly, “Kingsman” thinks it’s a kinetic, Tarantino-esque skewering of (tribute to?) the Roger Moore era of James Bond. In reality, it’s a regressive, juvenile power fantasy that is far ickier than anything you will find in “50 Shades of Grey.”

From the mind of a puddle of Mountain Dew: Code Red and congealed Doritos’ dust that brought us the equally toxic “Kick-Ass” comes “Kingsman: The Secret Service” a festive, good-time-abration that suggests the only thing keeping the world from hurtling toward total chaos are old, rich white men in well-tailored suits.

Yes, that’s right. “Kingsman” is less a movie and more of what Ron Paul sees when he masturbates. At any rate, in “Kingsman” Taron Egerton plays Eggsy a South London street youth (or ‘chav’ for those who might be impressed to realize I know hurtful British slang) who is swept away from his humble council estate surroundings by Harry Hart (Colin Firth) a secret agent who sees potential in car-thieving, parkour enthusiast Eggsy. As Eggsy trains to become part of the Kingsman spy organization, a lisping Samuel L. Jackson and his lovely double amputee assistant (Sofia Boutella) plan on taking over the world by giving out death phones to poor people.

As vile as “Kingsman” can be, there are some slightly mitigating factors. Some of the spy gadgets used in the film are genuinely nifty (like the Austin Powers-ish, ‘NHS spectacles’ the Kingsmen use to see ghost-like holograms) and the performances are good, particularly Egerton and Firth who share an easygoing chemistry. But everything else about “Kingsman” is equally troubling and obnoxious.

This movie hates – and I mean haaaates – poor people. According to writer/director Matthew Vaughn, the poor are either feral monstrosities or, much like Eggsy’s mother, weak, ineffectual parasites who are quick to blame others for their personal failings. Comparatively speaking, the wealthy villainous characters are merely depicted as snobby. It’s this lopsided portrayal that belies Firth’s lip-service about how “anyone can be a gentleman spy.”

Additionally, much in the same way that “Kick-Ass” thought it was genuinely subverting the clichés of a superhero movie, “Kingsman” thinks it’s reinventing the spy genre. The supervillain’s evil plot is stopped, but not before it accidentally causes the President’s head to explode.

The girl is still a prize to be won but now she says the hero can “do it in her asshole” as eyebrows suggestively waggle up and down and all over. All of this is presented with banal, smirking nihilism of a 14-year-old flipping you off in his Facebook profile picture. “Kingsman” isn’t a film you watch, it’s a film you grow out of.

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is such a horrible movie it made me wish I was sitting through “50 Shades of Grey” because at least with “50 Shades” there is the possibility that it could be unintentionally hilarious or not make you feel like you just suffered through a two-hour ice cream headache.