Review: Enraging butt stuff courtesy of Kingsman

Having never been a huge Bond fan, I go into other spy films with a wary eye. When I saw the trailer for Kingsman: The Secret Service though, I was all in and completely impatient for it’s Australian release date. Who wouldn’t be for Colin Firth as a middle-aged spy in a dapper-as-fuck suit, and some sort of Hunger Games-esque trial for new recruits? (unintentional poetry btw)

I should start this review by saying that I enjoyed 95% of this film. The cast gave some really good performances, the action and the fight scenes were god damn impressive and there was a lot of hilarious swearing, which, if you know me, you know I get a kick out of that kind of thing. There was also a heavy use of the term “bruv” that threw me back to my London days, and that gets an immediate A+. Members of the Kingsman secret service had Arthurian knight codenames (Galahad, Lancelot, Merlin… and Arthur reserved for head-of-the-table Michael Caine), which actually murdered me in my chair with history-nerd appreciation.
Samuel L Jackson was superb as the weirdo tech-villain, as was Colin Firth as the master and newcomer Taron Egerton as the apprentice – who, btw, looks immaculate in a suit. Jussayin’ ladies.

But that’s kind of where the fun stops for female audience members. Beware, spoilers to come.

Out of 10 young people chosen to complete training/compete for the one opening in Kingsman, two of them are female. TWO. One of those ladies dies within 5 minutes of us meeting her, and the other – whilst super intelligent – is preeeeeeeetty nervous about the physical stuff that the boys don’t blink at. It takes a pep talk from heroboy to get her to jump out of a plane while everyone else has already launched themselves out gleefully. She ends up being a super vague love interest and not much else.

(Oh yeah, wanna take a guess how many non-caucasian recruits there are as well? Spoiler, you don’t. There aren’t any. Way to go diversity.)

Eggsy – a nickname which doesn’t make sense at all – is a pretty dodgy kid who steals cars, has an abusive criminal stepfather and a mouth that always seems to get him into trouble. After being bailed out of jail by Firthy McGodInASuit, Eggsy is persuaded to take up the training program, and celebrates by doing some sick parkour off blaconies n shiz. Yeah.

As an extra exercise to the spy training, Firthy teaches our Eggsy the underlying principles of being a gentleman, because that’s what Kingsman: The Secret Service is all about. Being a gent is not about the accent, but about your conduct as a human being. It’s not about the life you’re born into, but the one you make for yourself. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin. Manners maketh man is repeated at least three times, so you know they’re heavy on not being a douchebag.

The basic premise of the story is how you can go from chavvy kid from the East End with relatively no prospects to ass-kicking gentleman who loves pugs, right? So I’m sure you’ll have a bit of a furrowed brow when I tell you that the final scene pre-credits involves an imprisoned damsel in distress who offers “sex in the asshole” if Eggsy old chum saves the world from the villain. The line is as jarring as you’d expect, though not out of the realm of the world the film sits in, so there are a few laughs around the cinema and it’s soon forgotten when the final battle kicks off.

Of course, our hero does save the world. He grabs some champagne flutes and an expensive-looking bottle, and begins running in the direction of the imprisoned Scandinavian princess (no lie, that’s actually who she is). It’s pretty funny because we all know Eggsy gon’ get some, and why shouldn’t he? He played a solid part in stopping global mass genocide… that deserves a reward right? Pfffffffffffffffff.

The problem from here on in is that the film continues rolling on the scene; E walks into the cell and the Nordic princess is sprawled coyly on the couch. The problem is when Eggsy’s spy glasses transmit what he’s seeing back to IT headquarters and we watch as she literally presents herself – or, her bare ass, really – to him. Full view. Ass. Assassassassass.
It’s that the filmmaker chose to explicate what even the dumbest idiot in the audience understood. It’s that instead of ending subtly and you know, not pissing off half the viewers, Matthew Vaughn decided just to casually objectify the prisoner and flash unnecessary butt to – I assume – satisfy lusty thoughts about his wife Claudia Schiffer..? I really have no idea tbh, it’s so unnecessary.

And I think for me that’s the worst part. That all this frustration – which apparently isn’t only mine – could have been avoided. Vaughn could have shown Eggsy with champagne in hand walk into the cell, wink at the camera and close the door. Simple. It satisfies everyone’s personal creativity that way. I can imagine he’s being incredibly romantic and sensitive before tearing her clothes from her body and getting down to serious business. Others can fantasise what they please. It’s win-win.
But when you tell us exactly whowhat goes down and how, and you’re an offensive twat about it, you take away the onus of the viewer to use their brain. That’s called being a condescending prick, and generally that’s frowned upon. Throw in naked ladies as sexual objects and you’re being a sexist condescending prick. Neither of those options is great, but one is definitely worse than the other.

The problem I have is that the scene added a twisted, crappy-porno feel to what – at one point – was the most fun action film I’ve seen in three years. And that Matthew Vaughn didn’t trust viewers to infer that Eggsy was going to get to do butt stuff with a European babe. Like. We fucking got it dude. You had her say it explicitly before he went to kill the bad guy, and “sex in the asshole” really can’t be mistaken for much else. Unless it was his asshole, which would have been an interesting spin…

The problem is that throughout the entirety of the film, we’re expected to get behind the morals of the gentlemanly assassin, and in the final minutes, Vaughn’s choices go back on that entire ethos. The anal sex thing is actually fine, that’s not the maddening part (because judging people’s sexual preferences is bad guys) – it’s that total objectification of the woman involved. She is his prize for saving the world, and rather than treat the scene with a bit of class – as you’d expect from a gentleman spy film – it’s completely gratuitous nudity thrown in to please creepers. Although those creepers probably could have done without the booty shot too. Not everyone needs to have ass in their face to get it.

I’m actually so frustrated by this scene that it’s wiped any good feelings I had about the two and a half hours before it, and disabled my ability to analyse in a coherent manner. Soz, and well done for making it to the end of this ranty post.

I live for the day ladies in film get to be kickass in their own right not as a side for the man of the hour.

Have 5 umbrella shotguns. I want to give you more than this, but right now I hate everything.


12 thoughts on “Review: Enraging butt stuff courtesy of Kingsman

  1. Dthole says:

    Totally agree…. Took my teenage kids and had a great time…. Till end. Not to be prudish but, it wasn’t classy, we got the point without the butt talk and butt shot. Left me disappointed.

    • staceyclair says:

      No I completely agree with you, it wasn’t classy at all. And I don’t think it’s prudish to think so, because it was so utterly unnecessary to go there. Especially after having done so well in the two hours beforehand!

  2. Maxx Fisher (@MaxxFisher) says:

    Roxxy didn’t have a problem with the physical stuff, just the sky dive and with the nervousness she had with her final task I put that up to being afraid of heights. I didn’t see it as weakness on her part. Plus she helped Egsy at the beginning & he helped her on the plane. I saw it as friends having each others’ backs.

    But there was only 1 female recruit as we found out later, so they could have done better with that.

    • staceyclair says:

      I definitely agree with you that it was friends having each others’ backs Maxx, but it was only Roxy who had an inhibitive fear. None of the boys had that level of fear during the trials, it had to be the only girl in the group who did, which I find pretty frustrating.

      And yeah, there could have been a few more ladies recruited too!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well, let’s be honest here: “This isn’t that kind of movie” (hehehe, see what I did there?). That is what the director is driving home, I think. You’d expect a sort of classy, “James Bond” kind of “hero gets the girl” ending, but instead we get a clear, if not lowbrow, straight forward anal sex ending. Could it have been done better? Of course. Then again, 10 seconds of ass shouldn’t ruin the whole 2.5 hours of the movie! Or maybe that’s just me being a sexist prick or what have you. Either way we should all just enjoy the movie for what it was. And besides, that amputee lady was pretty bad ass if you ask me, but if you want to see a movie where the woman gets to be kick ass, watch Kick Ass (granted she’s a little girl, but don’t tell her that)!

    Well, I hope you see where I’m coming from here, and I don’t just end up sounding like a dick. Cheers!

    • staceyclair says:

      Thanks for your thoughts Anon, I do see where you’re coming from 🙂 I agree that old scissor legs was pretty badass, but why can’t more of the badass people be ladies?
      The thing is, I enjoyed most of the movie for exactly what it was, but the final scene really came out of left field. A friend of mine texted me their thoughts the other day and it 100% reflects my feelings too: “I’m actually fine with her saying “dude if you win I’ll let you do my butt” and the champagne walk, but the rest was excessive.”
      It’s the fact Vaughn didn’t trust the audience enough to get it. He didn’t trust that having her explicitly offer anal sex before Eggsy went to fight wasn’t enough for us to understand what was going to happen when he walked back to the cell.
      At the end of the day, we didn’t need to see anything after the victory walk with champagne in hand. It was just overkill.

  4. Buttstuff says:

    Yea, the end kinda tarnished the cheekiness of it all. It was kinda like that guy that keeps explaining the joke after you clearly understood the punchline. I feel worse because before I saw the movie or reviews or anything I suggested to my co-worker he could take his 9 year-old step daughter to see it because it looked Percy Jackson-esque. Oops, my bad.

    • staceyclair says:

      LOL oh nooooooooooooo… Did said co-worker pay you a visit afterwards?

      I agree with you though, the explanation of the punchline is just so insulting 😦

    • Syk says:

      You suggested someone take their 9 year old daughter and was upset because of the buttstuff? How about the intensely gory MURDER SCENES? You’re ok with that, but horrified at the butt scene….typical woman logic there.

      • staceyclair says:

        Firstly, where did the commenter say they were a woman? Secondly, whenever you’re about to post something online and find yourself writing “typical woman [insert noun here]”, do yourself a favour and stop right there. Delete comment, close browser, and go out into the sunshine to think about your choices.

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