Matthew Vaughn’s 2015 spy-fi film “Kingsman: The Secret Service” was a thrilling, entertaining work from the veteran filmmaker. Combining great action sequences, a sleek neo-period piece look, as well as a plethora of fantastic performances from its all-star cast, Vaughn managed to create a movie that, in the vein of Quentin Tarantino, could be as hilariously heartfelt as it was dramatic.
Amidst its satirical lampooning of the spy genre, however, Vaughn managed to interject some very serious themes into Kingsman that have made it stand out the usual trend of popcorn comic book films. Being a supporter of the British Conservative Party (a Tory), Vaughn holds centre-right political viewpoints, much like the American Democratic Party, meaning that he supports common sense policies like environmentalism and gay rights while opposing quasi-socialist principles.
Many of these beliefs made it into Kingsman’s kinetic narrative, starting with the main villain’s, Richmond Valentine, plan; human extinction. Portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, Valentine recognizes that mankind acts as a virus on the planet Earth and initiates a strategy to exterminate a good portion of the populace.
This might come off as a criticism of radical eco-terrorists, but in an interview Vaughn clarified that this was a viewpoint he shared with Valentine, and no doubt implemented it to make Valentine’s motivations relatable or at least understandable:
“And I also feel that the planet is fucked, environmentally, and we’ve got to talk about the climate. When I read the Gaia theory about us being the virus on the Earth it struck me how, if we weren’t around, the planet would be fine, and so we’ve got to change.”
In addition to this, Vaughn touched on how Colin Firth taking the main character Eggsy under his tutelage was done to show how society shouldn’t demonize misunderstood adolescents, especially at an age where the world is confusing to them, thus making them susceptible to negative actions.
“I do believe that kids need to be given an opportunity. When the riots happened, half the people said ‘Just lock ‘em up, throw ‘em away’ but no, you have to ask them why they’re doing it. There are always some bad eggs, but then there will be good eggs caught up, and who feel like they had nothing to lose, who needed to be represented better and given a chance.”
And, of course, the film’s centerpiece is the famous church scene, wherein Colin Firth’s character participates in a brutal brawl with the other churchgoers. Prior to the grand fight, one of the church’s seminars is shown, revealing the participants to be racist, homophobic bigots that believe God will reign terror on their “enemies”. As if this wasn’t obvious enough, the entire scene in question is an attack on the reactionary hate group in the United States called the Westboro Baptist Church. Like most parts of Kingsman, it was fun to watch the church go down: