Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Based on: Mark Millar’s and Dave Gibbons’ comic
Sequel to: Kingsman: The Secret Service
Cast: Taron EgertonMark StrongHanna AlströmJulianne MooreColin FirthMichael GambonChanning TatumHalle BerryElton JohnJeff BridgesPedro PascalBruce Greenwood 
Seen on: 20.9.2017
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Plot:
Eggsy (Taron Egerton) has very much settled into being a Kingsman agent, and into dating Swedish Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström). But just when everything seems to calm down, a devastating attack that strikes at the very heart of the Kingsman HQ leaves Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) the only survivors of the agency. When they follow emergency procedure, they discover that there is another agency in the USA: Statesman. They fly there to look for help in tracking down their attacker.

I very much enjoyed the first Kingsman film and was very much looking forward to this sequel, but unfortunately I was disappointed with it, despite some pretty good ideas.

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Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

Kingsman: The Secret Service
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Based on: Mark Millar’s and Dave Gibbons’ comic
Cast: Colin FirthTaron Egerton, Mark StrongSophie Cookson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Boutella, Hanna Alström, Jack Davenport, Mark Hamill, Michael Caine
Seen on: 20.03.2015

Plot:
Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is a specialist for getting in trouble. When he’s arrested and facing actual jail time, he calls a number on his dead father’s medal that Eggsy got from a co-worker of his father, with the instruction to call if he ever needed help. A short while later Eggsy is released and introduced to Harry Hart (Colin Firth). It turns out that Eggsy’s father belonged to a privately run spy organization – the Kingsman and Hart still works there. The Kingsmen have taken some serious hits recently and are recruiting. Hart sees potential in Eggsy and so Eggsy finds himself in an entirely unknown world a short while later – not only the spy world, but also the mostly snooty upper class.

Kingsman was a fun film that proves not only Vaughn’s talent for directing action movies with awesome soundtracks, but also that the spy genre can be made fun of very easily and very lovingly. It is not completely issue-free though, even if the good parts outweigh the issues.

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The Secret Service (Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons)

The Secret Service is a comic, written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Dave Gibbons.
Finished on 07.03.2015.

Plot:
Jack London works for the MI6, a very special division. They have recently started to investigate the kidnapping of several celebreties, but their last rescue mission (of Mark Hamill) was a catastrophic failure. And then Jack gets a call from his sister-in-law: her son Gary was arrested and could Jack please help. Jack agrees reluctantly and actually finds that Gary has potential – so he starts to train him for entering the Secret Service, all the while trying to figure out the plans of cellphone tycoon James Arnold.

I’m not much into spy stories, so I’m afraid that I am not much the target audience of The Secret Service – which is a love letter to the genre. But it was rather enjoyable nonetheless, even if it didn’t blow me away.

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Watchmen (2009)

Watchmen is the adaptation of the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (Here’s my review of that), directed by Zack Snyder and starring Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffery Dean Morgan and Patrick Wilson.

Plot:
In a parallel world, it’s 1985 and Nixon is still president of the United States. In the 40s, actual masked vigilantes appeared, which led to a ban in the 70s. Now, most of the vigilantes are retired. The story follows several of these more or less retired figures, namely Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson), Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman), Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
The Comedian is murdered and Rorschach, the only vigilante left, who is not retired and doesn’t work for the government is convinced that someone is killing off their old group. His investigations lead him deeper and deeper into the problematic world of the “superheroes”.

I was afraid that movie would suck because the original material is just so complex and layered and it’s hard to get this into one movie that still makes sense. But Snyder and his writers (David Hayter and Alex Tse) did a very good job, changing the right things, while still sticking close to the original. Though there are weaknesses in writing where they deviate from the original material. Despite some cringe-worthy scenes, it’s definitely a movie that I enjoyed.

watchmen

[SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS]

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Watchmen (Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons)

Watchmen is – as probably everybody who ever knew a geek knows by now – a graphic novel by Alan Moore (writing) and Dave Gibbons (illustrating) (and was recently adapted into a movie, review follows tomorrow).

Plot:
In a parallel world, it’s 1985 and Nixon is still president of the United States. In the 40s, actual masked vigilantes appeared, which led to a ban in the 70s. Now, most of the vigilantes are retired. The story follows several of these more or less retired figures, namely Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandias, The Comedian.
The Comedian is murdered and Rorschach, the only vigilante left, who is not retired and doesn’t work for the government is convinced that someone is killing off their old group. His investigations lead him deeper and deeper into the problematic world of the “superheroes”.

This comic is considered a mile stone in the history of this art form, and rightly so. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons show the possibilities graphic novels have (and novels or movies don’t) and at the same time tell a fascinating and thoughtful story about ethics and morale, without ever becoming moralistic themselves. Unfortunately, the ending was a bit incongruous with the rest of the graphic novel.

watchmen-cover

[SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS]

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