Kingsman: The Golden Circle and James Bond

Note: Spoilers for Kingsman

I wasn’t sure how to feel when a Kingsman sequel was announced a while ago. While the first film was a pleasant surprise I was worried that a sequel wouldn’t be able to recapture the same level of magic. This is the main reason I refuse to see Bad Santa 2, even though the first is one of my favourite comedies. I was also more hesitant about the Kingsman sequel when I heard that Colin Firth’s character will return. While Firth was amazing in the role I was also worried that his resurrection would introduce some nonsensical plot point that tarnishes the impact of his death in the first film.

So, with those reservations in mind, I was still intrigued. Taron Egerton was amazing as Eggsy, and his performance in Legend also demonstrated that he is a versatile figure and one to look out for. Aside from Egerton, the sequel sports some other amazing cast members, including Pedro Pascal (best known as Oberyn in Game of Thrones). As much as I hate Channing Tatum overall, he was enjoyable to watch in the Jump Street series so I am hoping this role is geared towards his comedic strength. I checked out the first trailer and was immediately sold.

However, I detected a common sentiment as I made my way through the YouTube comments, which can be summarized as: “The Kingsman series embraces the fun of the old James Bond films. This will be so much better than those dreary Daniel Craig movies.”

Now, Kingsman has made it no secret that it set out to emulate the older, more fantastical bond films. Firth and Samuel L Jackson’s characters even express this explicitly in the first film.

I don’t have a problem with people wanting to embrace something fun. My issue is when anything that isn’t “fun” gets criticized purely for its tone. Maybe Harry is guilty of doing it here, but it is interesting to see that fans react the same way to the Daniel Craig Bond films. I have talked about this numerous times on this blog or in my YouTube videos, but normally it is in reference to comic book films. However, it is interesting to see this mindset also filter into other genres.

I am perfectly willing to embrace the outlandish fun of Kingsman, but that desire to embrace fun, doesn’t lead me to criticize other good films. “Fun” is not synonymous with good, and “serious, dark, gritty, dreary” etc. are not synonymous with bad. A film can be serious or dark, but also be good.

Quantum of Solace and Spectre were both disappointing, I will give you that. Personally, I loved Skyfall and Casino Royale. Yes, they aren’t “fun” Bond films. No over the top henchman or gadgets. However, that doesn’t stop me from liking them. That doesn’t make them bad Bond movies. I can like Kingsman, while also liking these supposedly depressing Bond films.

Casino Royale came along after Pierce Brosnan drove an invisible car around an ice fortress. It seems like people were all funned out and ready to have a more serious Bond. Now that Kingsman has whet their appetite for fun, Casino Royale becomes a terrible film.

Since when is something considered bad only because it doesn’t make us laugh and smile? Obviously this criteria doesn’t apply to “Oscar-bait” films, yet. Maybe in twenty years only “fun” films will be present at the Oscars. No more depressing exploration of issues or characters, just more one-liners and over the top action.

 

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