Movie Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service [Movie Review]

In Kingsmen, we revel in a plot that’s as unbelievable as it is fun. But its low points are the scenes that are supposed to reflect our everyday reality. 

By Mark HadleyWednesday 11 Feb 2015MoviesReading Time: 3 minutes

Looking for Jason Bourne and Daniel Craig’s version of James Bond? As the cast of Kingsmen are fond of saying, “This is not that sort of film.” Instead we’re allowed to revel in a plot that’s as unbelievable as it is fun. The low points, though, are those scenes that are supposed to reflect our everyday reality. 

Movie Review: Kingsmen: The Secret Service
Kingsman: The Secret Service is an extravagant ‘blokes night out’ from the explosion-delivered opening credits. As the dust clears we’re introduced to the definitive gentleman spy in the form of Colin Firth’s Agent Galahad. His lethal skills are only surpassed by his refined manners and impeccable dress. But will these be enough to cope with the malevolent plans of technologist Richmond Valentine? Enter Samuel L. Jackson as a lisping billionaire with a catastrophic scheme for starting a new planet earth. Step one, get rid of all the existing inhabitants you won’t require by using a mobile phone network to turn them into mindless killers. But it’s not long before we realise that the fate of the world will actually be in the hands of ‘Eggsy’ Unwin, a lad from downtown London who is the son of one of Galahad’s former partners. If he can survive the Kingsmen’s rigorous selection process we’ll find out just how well old world charm can combine with street-rat smarts.

Straight up, the considered viewer should be warned that this film well deserves its MA15+ rating. The language is often blue and there are all the usual deadly encounters you’d expect from a high octane action film. However the violence is regularly elevated to ridiculous levels with the intention of evoking laughs, Circus Maximus style. Something else in common with the Roman arena though is to make Christians the focus of that violence. When Valentine wants to test his process for turning normal human beings into mindless killers he chooses a Bible-thumping church in the American South as his target. Presumably no-one will mind watching a bunch of ‘mindless’ Christians mindlessly slaughter each other. Strangely, though, that wasn’t the most disturbing part of the film…

Don’t be fooled by the dress-ups. This is not a spy version of My Fair Lady. At its heart Kingsman is a story about the older aristocrats realising they need to adapt to make room for a younger generation. The suggestion is that the perfect spy shrugs off the class consciousness and combines the best from both. But it extends beyond fighting techniques. Like the early Bond films it mimics, Kingsmen concludes with our hero Eggsy arranging some private time with a rescued princess. However, rather than adopting any traditional approach Eggsy educates his old-school minders by revealing that anal sex is what the kids are all into these days.

Films regularly reflect and participate in the shifting of social mores, and so we shouldn’t be surprised that they do the same for sexual expectations as well. However Christians should be aware that Kingsman does viewers a positive disservice when it seeks to normalise ‘love making’ that is fundamentally unloving. The apostle Paul had to deal with a type of Christianity emerging in Corinth that failed to reflect God’s servant heart, and so he offered the following guideline for all behaviour, including sex:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. (1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NIV)

Regardless of how cool or exciting characters like Eggsy might make something look, we need to be reminded that the Bible sees sex as a means of serving our partner first. Beyond the obvious physical pain and potential for injury, anything we might be tempted to experiment with that causes our partner emotional distress or has the potential to reduce their trust in our relationship falls short of God’s good plan. Sex is not a matter of simply personal pleasure or preference. Nor is it, ‘Whatever couples do in the privacy of their bedroom is their own business…’ – that’s this world’s mantra. Ours is ‘God first, others next, myself last.’

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Rating: MA15+
Distributor: Fox
Release Date: February 12