Before Marvel changed the rules of Hollywood and essentially created the notion of a Cinematic Universe — which has become the prime directive of all film properties these days — it was never a given that a film would get a sequel. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Setting aside classic franchises like Star Wars and Indiana Jones, the existence of sequels had very little to do with artistic merit. They were almost exclusively about money. (They still are, but as Marvel has shown, with a little planning — and a whole lot of marketing — sequels can seem narratively justified). Did there really have to be a Look Who’s Talking, Too? Did we really need a Fletch Lives? (I say that, but full disclosure: I actually like Fletch Lives better than the original. That’s called nostalgia: I saw the sequel first).
But, in any era, Kingsman: The Secret Service — a 2014 film starring Colin Firth as a British super spy who My Fair Ladys a street thug into a debonair, world-saving, ass-kicking machine — deserves a sequel. This is because Kingsman was one of those movies you didn’t realize you needed until you saw it. What could of have easily been an off-brand Bond rip-off turned out to be one of the most fun, thrillingly nihilistic (but in a good way) movies made in the last decade. You didn’t know you needed to see Kingsman, but once you had, you hoped you’d see more movies just like it.
We talk about movies that Know What They Are — films that are devoid of pretense, that revel in their genre pulpiness: they might not be great, but they are refreshing. Kingsman is maybe the platonic ideal of such a movie. You want to see suave, impeccably dressed gentlemen, fighting as if they walked off the set of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? Done. It’s the male id (including a dose of problematic gender politics) on the big screen.
And now, they’ve released the trailer for the not-inevitable — but certainly welcome — sequel. Eggsy is back, and so, tantalizingly, is Colin Firth’s Galahad who died in the first one. But, to add to the fun, especially for American audiences who maybe felt left out by all the Queen’s English in the original, we get to see the US equivalent of Kingsman: Statesman. And any time you get Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges kicking ass in cowboy hats…well, it’s like they know us too well.