Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ (2015)

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

Kingsman: The Secret Service seems pleased to be nothing more than a good-guys-save-the-world film. But at the archetypal level, the movie is way more than its display of outlandish, cartoon-like derring do. This is about legacy, fathers and sons.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn and based on the comic book series, Kingsman is the name of a London Savile-Row, generations-old tailor shop, which acts as a front for what is really an independent and highly discretionary global intelligence agency whose goal is to preserve peace and protect life (albeit violently).

This group of spy-kingsmen has two key father figures, both upper crust. There’s Arthur (Michael Caine), the patriarch to his male Round Table team. Next in valor is Harry Hart, who’s field name is Galahad (Colin Firth).

Nearly two decades earlier, Galahad erred on a mission, and his then protégé loses his life taking the fall for the team. The tragedy impels Galahad to take Saturnine, fatherly responsibility for the wellbeing of the deceased’s son, Eggsy, and gives the boy a phone number in case the he or his mum ever find themselves in a jam.

The lad grows into a street-wise, trouble-making, mouthy young adult with military training (Taron Egerton). In time he calls in the favor to Galahad. When another member of the Round Table loses his life, Eggsy – who was duly impressed with the understated Galahad’s fighting skills and murderous gadgets – winds up as part of recruits jockeying for that vacant spot.

Looked down on by most of his opponents because of his lower-class upbringing, Eggsy needs to prove himself. But, because Galahad has defined the quality of a “gentleman” as being superior to one’s former self, how can the door for Eggsy to rise above his socio-economic status through Saturnine self-mastery not be wide open?

Kingsman includes a feisty girl candidate (Sophie Cookson), a mentor-type trainer (Mark Strong), a lispy villain named Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) who’s figured out a way to thin down the world’s population, and Valentine’s assistant (Sofia Boutella) whose steel-blade legs do double duty as lethal weapons.

Kingsman’s wall-to-wall action sequences leave little room for dialog focused on the organization’s issues of succession and siring new blood. But the scenes between Galahad and Eggsy make enough of an impact to fill in the gaps. Wish there had been more of them.

Archetype: Father. Son. Legacy. Self-mastery.

Astrology Archetype: ♄ (Saturn)

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