One of the most intriguing film franchises is the Kingsman series, an homage to the Bond flicks of the 1960s with a contemporary sensibility and excessive brutality. Despite being successful and well-liked, Kingsman films have never achieved the same level of box office success as other similar franchises. It strongly resembles a franchise from a different time period, but paradoxically, it feels extremely current.
The Kingsman organization is a fictional British Secret Service that specializes in spy espionage using code names drawn from Arthurian legend and is known for its signature Kingsman-style suits and accessories that double as weapons.
The film series is based on the comic book of the same name by writer Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and artist Dave Gibbons (Watchmen). Three movies have come out of the franchise, all of which was directed by Matthew Vaughn.
A fourth Kingsman movie, dubbed Kingsman: The Blue Blood, is now in the works and will serve as a suitable trilogy finish to the previous two movies. A television spin-off centered on The Statesman, the group’s American division, is also in the works.
For seven years, the Kingsman franchise has defined director Matthew Vaughn’s filmography; with Kingsman 3 slated to start production this year, it appears he will be sticking around for longer. The movie series is a passion project for Vaughn, who passed on directing X-Men: Days of Future Past in order to helm the first film.
Despite the series’ ups and downs since the release of the first film in 2015, it stands out from other espionage series like James Bond or Jason Bourne as well as high-budget comic book adaptations like those in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe. These are the Kingsman films, in order of best to worst.
3 Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which was released in 2017, starts up a year after the first movie. After Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) and her narcotics gang, “The Golden Circle,” hold the world prisoner, members of Kingsman must work with their American counterparts, Statesman. Also learning that his mentor Harry Hart (Colin Firth) is still alive is Eggsy (Taron Egerton).
The movie keeps up the high-stakes action from the first movie since director Vaughn is undoubtedly skilled at creating a visual spectacle with exciting action scenes. It includes some intriguing discussions regarding how the world views those who use recreational drugs or those who are addicted, but the lack of nuance and tone in the movie serves to muddle the message.
The greatest weaknesses that afflicted Men in Black 2, another sequel to a popular movie that established a hidden organization, are also present in Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Though Harry Hart’s death had a significant effect on Eggsy’s future character development, Kingsman: The Golden Circle brings him back, much like Agent K in Men in Black 2 (Tommy Lee Jones).
The film also exhibits the usual sequel flaw of replicating and enhancing the standout jokes from the original, staging the bar brawl once more with Harry fumbling up, and doubling down on the contentious sex scene in a way that is significantly worse.
2 The King’s Man
The King’s Man, which was originally scheduled to hit theatres in 2019 but was frequently postponed due to the COVID-19 epidemic, was finally released in December 2021 and actually sort of puts the franchise back on track by going back to the beginning.
The film, which is set during World War 1, builds on the expositional speech that described the Kingsman organization in the first movie. The King’s Man depicts the causes and effects of the war through the eyes of aristocrat Orlando Oxford (Ralph Fiennes), a man of peace who founds the Kingsman organization to put an end to it.
The mysterious evil organization, The Flock, which is made up of historical figures like Grigori Rasputin, Mata Hari, Erik Jan Hanussen, and Gavrilo Princip, is also shown in The King’s Man.
The King’s Man displays Vaughn’s passion for combining real-life historical events and exaggerating them with a comic book sensibility, much like his work on X-Men: First Class, even with an after-credits ending scene that looks like a history teacher trying to incorporate some comic-book lessons into their class.
Although the director does widen the visual language with a grounded trench sequence and an emotional meditation on the loss of life in war, the film has a great sense of energy and features the big set pieces spectators have come to expect from the Kingsman franchise.
A spy movie, which has its roots in the 1960s, is transplanted and placed at the turn of the 20th century, giving it a fresh perspective on both the era and the genre.
1 Kingsman: The Secret Service
The movie that started the Kingsman franchise is perhaps its best entry, Kingsman: The Secret Service. The movie still feels new and exciting and opens up a wide world of possibilities even seven years after its premiere.
The first Kingsman chronicles the tale of Eggsy’s admission into and training at The Kingsman intelligence agency. While this is happening, Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), a wealthy megalomaniac who wants to deal with climate change by eradicating the majority of humanity, poses a serious threat to the world.
As an international super spy, Eggsy must team up with the Kingsman to stop Valentine’s threat and save the world. The movie’s pitch is fantastic; it combines British boarding school tales (like Harry Potter) with super spy stories like YA novels, but with a lot of cartoonish violence and stakes based on traditional supervillain plots from comic books and serials. These elements felt both very familiar and incredibly original.
The action in Kingsman: The Secret Service is fantastic, and it’s a wonderful homage to the best James Bond films from the past, which much of the spy fiction of the twenty-first century has tried to distance itself from.
The film established the formula for the franchise as an action show with a political issue as its major conflict; this time, it was about class consciousness and privilege, a theme that has only grown more relevant among audiences since the film’s premiere.
Despite the fact that the sequels have fallen short of the first, it is easy to understand why this movie’s success led to a long-lasting series.
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