Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

Not that Kind of Tailoring

From time to time in these comments, I remark on my surprise at how sophisticated young viewers are, and how they demand ever more complex and subtle self-referential folds. It gives me pleasure to realise that my flower children cohort were and still are largely incapable of this level of abstraction. It gives me hope for the future because introspective abstract reasoning is the central factor in reasoning about the world.

Then again, from time to time, the nearly suicidal revelation appears that these kids have lost much of what we knew, learned at great cost. We knew that governments shouldn’t spy and torture; that women deserve level humanity; that death is not comic. We knew that feeding stereotypes, especially those of blacks, can be fun only when we know the game. We knew this, and still do.

I was patient enough with the excess until the church massacre. After all, I liked Kick-ass and Layer Cake. These had a different balance: yes, they were comic-influenced compositions of set pieces; yes they shamelessly exploited stereotypes and had unexpected nonchalant pleasure in the violence. But they placed the audience and filmmaker outside the film.

Here, the opposite is emphasised. This is not Bond or Bourne. No, it is not that kind of movie we are told. It is Bauer, who would shoot the dog after abusing it.

But after the church scene, I felt myself tumbling into a dead future. Who would tolerate this? Who would enjoy it?

Posted in 2015

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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