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Kingsman: 5 Reasons It's Utter Crap

Several friends of mine recently saw the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service and enjoyed it. My brother, on the other hand, said that he would not see it on account of several things he had read regarding it containing blatant racism and classism. When I put this to the people who'd seen it, though, they said that they didn't see it and that it was just a fun romp.

I should have listened to my brother, because not only was he right, he was more right than he even suspected. So here, as concisely as I can manage, are the five reasons I hated Kingsman:

  1. The villain is a blatant and vile racial stereotype—or, rather, several.
    Samuel L. Jackson plays the villain, and the character is about sixteen different varieties of wrong. He is personally cowardly, has no taste or class, is constantly cheerful and smiling, and seems incapable of perceiving irony—all of which feed into one or more stereotypes of black Americans (Sambo, Steppin Fetchit, minstrel shows, etc.). Even his positive qualities are portrayed in a negative light, such that high intelligence equals social awkwardness, financial success equals unscrupulousness, and environmentalism equals a complete lack of empathy for humanity.

  2. The hero is entirely unsympathetic—especially when he becomes what he hates.
    The main character (the kid, not Colin Firth) is a white lower-class Londoner, or what some would call a "chav". While it is true that he has honor (which no one else in his social class displays) and wants to improve his lot in life (which others of his social class do, but only by becoming crooks and bullies), he's such a pretty-boy and has such an off-putting attitude that I, for one, just wanted to punch him in the face. A lot! And when he finally "succeeds" (as all such peasant heroes do), he does so by becoming the very kind of upper-class twit (albeit a very competent upper-class twit) that he quite eloquently and rightly trash-talks in the beginning of the film.

  3. There are only three important women in the whole movie, and all are stereotypes.
    The first is Eggsy's mother, who is actually quite sympathetic and strong in her first scene, but then becomes the epitome of the "white-trash beaten wife" for the rest of the film. The other two are essentially sidekicks, one for the hero and one for the villain, both of whom are of the "hot and hypercompetent" stereotype.

  4. There are no people of color in important roles except for the villain and his sidekick.
    At least they didn't make all the villains black (or in some way non-white, anyway), but there are ZERO people of color on the good guys' side, period. And all of the good guys, even the ex-chav hero, are lily-white, upper-class assholes.

  5. The testing and training methods employed by the Kingsmen are those of a terrorist organization.
    There's not much I can say here that won't spoil something, but suffice to say that I've heard about some of the methods employed by the instructors for the Navy SEALs—and what the Kingsmen do to their cadets would sicken those guys.

I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I came out of that theater angrier than a hornet's nest that had been kicked by a horse.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 6th, 2015 09:26 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed it as a fun romp, personally. There's a lot of British stuff that to me, were probably more British than American, to be sure. And hey, maybe a super-secret organization really needed to have extreme testing and training methods. Of course later learning that some things were faked, and some things weren't....

One line, several times in the movie, "It's not that kind of movie" really stuck out. Yes, it's not that type of spy movie where the bad guy explains his evil plans to the hero, while the hero has time to escape. Also, the villain, being black (Samuel L. Jackson), to me spoke of the fact that a black guy was the CEO and founder of a computer type company, with inventions, and things (I forget), not necessarily that a black guy was the villain. He could have been Bill Gates, or Branson.. both white guys.

Also, his funny speech patterns. Evidently, Samuel L. Jackson, spoke a lot like that as a speech impediment before he became an actor. The story is that he first started this character with that funny lisp, and the director said. "Hey, wait a minute!" And Mr. Jackson said something like, "Well, what do you think?" They liked it, so he went with it.

I dunno, I probably could have gotten mad at a lot of things in the movie. Starting with "Violence solves everything." But I just chose to enjoy it instead and consider it an alternate universe of some sort. :)

Just my 2 cents.
Mar. 6th, 2015 10:18 pm (UTC)

Don't forget that they also kill off Obama and make sure to have the middle eastern terrorist right at the beginning.

The hyper competent part was a bit deflated by her fear of heights or whatever so she needs male reassurance to actually complete both missions.

Mar. 6th, 2015 10:49 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes. Very good points. The whole "termination of the villain's allies" scene (set to a rousing patriotic tune, no less) was just kind of sickening.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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