My first encounter with this story came from it’s film trailer, months before the film was actually released. I remember at the time thinking it was just another inception of some British James Bond wannabe (it’s no secret that I actually love Bond films – classic spy films). But then, my mind was changed.
Only a few months ago, my significant other was raving to me about Kingsman: The Secret Service, and how good it was compared to the comic. Comic, I thought? I’d never realised it was based on a graphic novel. In my own time, I gave the film a chance. I slapped it on Netflix one night over another hearty meal cooked by yours truly. We must’ve been about 30 minutes in (you know, to the point where things start getting really meaty in terms of story) when we’d finished eating.
‘Shall we watch the rest upstairs?’
Boy, should we!
And you know what? I bloody loved it. I’m a sucker for rags to riches films (and ones in which Samuel L Jackson plays a villain). Shortly after watching the film, the graphic novel arrived for me in the post as a small present from the fiancée. Brilliant. I was also impressed that I hadn’t ever known that it’s illustrated by none other than Dave Gibbons of Watchmen fame.
Interestingly for me, this one-shot comic was a very short read, and also paralleled really well with the film. But also interestingly for graphic novels adapted for screen in which Dave Gibbons has had an instrumental role to play, it actually worked better for screen with some of the tweaks (see: Watchmen. I may or may not have ever raved to you back in 2009 – almost 10 years ago, bloody hell – that I thought the mammoth change to Watchmen for film worked much better than it’s famous graphic novel ending would have). And I think the same about Kingsman.
I’m not so sure why the filmmakers decided to change Harry’s relationship to Eggsy, and this was one of the decisions that I don’t think was truly necessary compared to the source material. However, I do think that the film actually enhances the source tremendously in other areas. The training montage, for example, is awesome – we see more of Eggsy’s relationship with the other selected few. We see more of his motivations. We see character growth.
The villain is more believable, although admittedly more annoying. Jackson is exactly the sort of person in real life that I hate (but also admire – self made billionaires need credit where it’s due).
So, no. I’m not going to bash the film of this graphic novel, although some would argue with me that adaptations of GNs are often terrible and changes made are only made to the benefit of the film. Not so in my opinion for Kingsman. I’m not sure whether it’s my long-standing trend of preferring the film over the book if I saw the film first (Horns stands out to me right now as a good example). Or whether Millar’s GN really does benefit from the adaptation material that gained him a whole new audience.
I’ll always prefer this film – and am definitely looking forward to the sequel out this year.