How ‘Kingsman’ is Beating Bond and Bourne at Their Own Game

Chris Tilly

There’s a new Kinsgman movie hitting screens this September, and if the footage recently screened at Comic-Con is anything to go by, Kingman: The Golden Circle will be one of the most thrilling movies of the year.

It coincides with the last entries in both the Bond and Bourne series being somewhat lacklustre. SPECTRE was instantly forgettable and managed to balls up Blofeld, while Jason Bourne was a bore that failed to hit the heights of its near-perfect predecessors.

The time might, therefore, be right for Taron Egerton’s Eggsy to supersede James and Jason. And here’s why…

Inventive Action

Action doesn’t get better than Bond, while Bourne became known for brutal hand-to-hand combat that became something of a trademark. But SPECTRE‘s ‘Day of the Dead’ sequence aside, can you remember any action from the most recent entry in either franchise?

Kingsman: The Secret Service was working with a much smaller budget (a reported $81m vs Jason Bourne‘s $120m and SPECTRE‘s $245m), but they say that necessity is the mother of invention, and the Kingsman action sequences are endlessly creative.

In that first film, director Matthew Vaughn turned a bar-room brawl into a balletic orgy of violence, while the memorable moment Colin Firth kills scores of worshippers in a church really has to be seen to be believed. Vaughn also knows how to shoot a car chase, with the sequence we’ve seen from early in The Golden Circle topping a similar scene in the first film.

Indeed, the action in this one looks to be larger in size and scale throughout, and if what we’ve heard on the grapevine is true, features Elton John as you’ve never seen him before…

Star-Studded Cast

James Bond is the star of Bond, and Jason Bourne is the star of Bourne. Understandably. Their films rarely bother with guest stars. And when they do, it oftentimes doesn’t work (I’m looking at you again, Christoph Waltz).

Kingsman is different. Based on a comic created by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, central character Eggsy was hardly a household name when the franchise launched. And so Matthew Vaughn filled the film with recognisable faces, most notably Michael Caine, Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson. All of whom looked like they were having an absolute blast lending support to this new breed of hero.

And there’s even more star power in the sequel, with the likes of Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum joining proceedings as the American version of the Kingsmen – namely the Statesmen.

It means the films are filled with charisma and star-power wherever you look, a welcome contrast to Bourne and Bond, and one that could lend the franchise real longevity.

Terrifying Villain

Often, a spy movie is only as good as its villain, which is why Skyfall was sooooo much better than SPECTRE, and it’s hard to remember much about Jason Bourne.

Kingsman: The Secret Service featured Samuel L. Jackson playing a megalomaniacal version of Steve Jobs, and while perhaps the weakest element of that film, his plan was nevertheless a memorable one.

In the case of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Vaughn and his co-writer Jane Goldman have come up with a superb baddie in the shape of Poppy. As played with smiling malevolence by Julianne Moore, she lives in a recreation of 1950s America hidden in a jungle, and kills those who cross her while delivering homespun wisdom.

Vaughn calls her ‘Martha Stewart on crack’, which fits with her drug-smuggling plans, while FANDOM has seen a scene in which she does something truly terrible to Keith Allen, and all we’re saying is, if Poppy offers you a burger, don’t accept.

Great Gags

What sets the Kinsgman movies apart from most spy flicks is the fact that they are driven as much by comedy as action and drama. Bond delivers the odd one-liner, but his films are hardly laugh-riots, while there’s barely a light moment in any of the Bourne movies.

But in spite of Eggsy’s story being a sad one, and the Kingsman movies having serious moments, they are also hilarious. The dialogue is sharp, the jokes come thick-and-fast – largely at the expense of Britain’s class system – and the likes of Mark Strong and Colin Firth deliver them in deliciously deadpan fashion.

The Kingsman films also manage to gently rib the Bond movies while at the same time paying homage to them. So a knife comes out of a shoe, a car turns into a submarine, and in The Golden Circle, a parachute appears to mock The Spy Who Loved Me.

And yet the films aren’t spoofs. Instead, the Kingsman movies are a very different beast, taking the best bits of other spy flicks, then adding elements that are fresh and original to create something that’s quite unique. In the process, they’ve kicked off a franchise that looks set to run and run. And is beating Bond and Bourne at their own game.

Chris Tilly
FANDOM Managing Editor in the UK. At this point my life is a combination of 1980s horror movies, Crystal Palace football matches, and episodes of I'm Alan Partridge. The first series. When he was in the travel tavern. Not the one after.
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