I felt brilliantly entertained by the spy film Kingsman: The Secret Service. It has pretty much all the themes and jokes a nerd could wish for. Here’s a list:
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- The supervillain doesn’t have some evil plan, he has the ultimate evil plan: kill everybody, except the people he likes. This is very relatable because it is the fantasy of the average male teenage nerd in its simplest and purest form. In fact, as teenagers, Malik and I worked on a film script titled Omega in which the supervillains put pretty much this plan into action, except they like a different kind of people than Valentine in Kingsman. Valentine also has an interesting ecological justification reminiscent of my favorite joke, in which a planet complains about a bad case of homo sapiens.
- How the evil plan is put into action is a nice take on the “smartphones are turning us into zombies” meme.
- The movie plays with class in British society. An aristocrat spy mentors a working class youth. On that, here’s a very satisfying quote for the linguist: “So you gonna teach me how to talk proper like in ‘My Fair Lady’?” – “That’d be absurd. Being a gentleman has nothing to do with one’s accent. It’s about being at ease in one’s own skin.”
- The Kingsmen have awesome Augmented Reality glasses. Also, I thought the gallery of unrelated Sun title pages to commemorate secret operations was a really nice idea.
- “Now do your very best impersonation of a German aristocrat’s formal greeting.” What happens then is hilarious.
- In one fight scene, a single man in a suit kills an entire congregation of a Christian fundamentalist hate church. Very Tarantinoesque.
- In the end, most of the bad guys’ heads explode, literally – to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance.
- The hero gets to free a captured blonde princess, literally.
- The obvious meta-jokes about hero vs. villain tropes are all there, of course. I also liked the one about “how there’s no recognizable name for the Chinese secret service” (hint: it’s MSS).
Also see Herr Rau’s review (in German).