Kingsman: The Secret Service is not just one of the best non-Bond Bond films. Kingsman is better than James Bond. All James Bond. Every movie, every actor, every gadget, every villain. It's a bold claim, but it must be written. Before you go Twitter-raging, keep in mind this list was written by someone raised on Bond from childhood. Who isn't intoxicated by vodka martinis, gadgets, cool cars and a bevvy of beautiful woman? After 55 years in the spy game, Mr. Bond has aged surprisingly well.
In 2017, Kingsman is flat out cooler. If you've seen the film, you know why Kingsman: The Secret Service is awesome. It's one of the best spy movies in years and, like other Matthew Vaughn movies, gleefully stretches the genre without breaking it. Time will tell whether the sequel can keep the franchise going.
Here's a list of SPOILER-FILLED ways The Kingsman is a faster, sleeker spy vehicle than Bond. Rank away.
You Get To See Eggsy Become A Kingsman; Bond Is Always 007
Casino Royale begins with a prologue showing how blonde Bond got his 00 status after his second official murder. Call it his Bar Mitzvah for British spies. Thing is, Bond's already a rather polished spy and assassin by then, unlike The Kingsman's Eggsy. A scrappy kid from the streets with parkour skills to spare, Eggsy is taken in by Colin Firth's Harry and molded into the elegant killer.
The training sequences & tests are some of the best scenes of the film: one part My Fair Lady (or Pygmalion, for the literary set) and one part Batman Begins.
'Kingsman' Is Just So Damn Fun
One of the best parts of Kingsman is its wicked sense of humor, which adds just the right tone. Take this quote from Firth's Harry, for instance:
"I'm a Catholic whore, currently enjoying congress out of wedlock with my black Jewish boyfriend who works at a military abortion clinic. So, hail Satan, and have a lovely afternoon, madam."
It's also more than a little meta, with knowing winks to James Bond and to the simple fact that we're watching a movie.
"Valentine: 'Sup man? Is this the part where you say some... really bad pun?
Eggsy: It's like you said to Harry: This ain't that kind of movie, bruv.
[Valentine takes his last breath and slumps down]"
Self-aware movies are a lot more fun for film junkies than straight-faced pictures, in part because they exist as pieces of entertainment and loving homages to the culture from which they come. Whenever Bond references itself, it borders on self-parody, such as the awfulness that pervades nearly every moment of Spectre.
Pound For Pound, The Action Scenes Are Better
Of course, James Bond has its share of remarkable action scenes. The opening of The Spy Who Loved Me is just about perfect, if you ignore the green screen close ups of Roger Moore. However, the series also has Moonraker's ridiculous laser fight scene in space, and Die Another Day's tsunami surfing. If Kingsman makes more than 20 sequels, there will probably be an equally absurd space shoot-out at some point.
(Writer's Note: As a little kid, Moonraker was my first Bond film. My dad - the biggest Bond fan ever - told me it was just like Star Wars. It wasn't... but I still loved it.)
Colin Firth Is The Best Actor To Ever Play Bond, And He Isn't Even Bond
"Dave Gibbons: I think he’s a great secret agent. Perhaps he’s the James Bond that never was but should have been – but now he gets to do all that cool James Bond stuff anyway. I think there’s a nice backstory to it as well that makes him even more of a hero.
Mark Millar: The weirdest thing is, I think if he had gotten that Bond gig ten years ago, he’d have been bored – because this [Kingsman] is cool. James Bond cries in the shower now in these movies but [Firth] gets to do cool stuff – like firing these gadgets and all this stuff. I think he got the best gig in the end."