There are all sorts of memes going on in the film Kingsman, which focuses on a super-secret society of James Bond-like guardians of all things good. Or mostly good. Because the Kingsman, while modeled on the Knights of the Round Table and King Arthur, are a pretty confused group of people. At least they are in the sense that they seem to make a lot of mistakes and kill a lot of people on the way to whatever sort of justice they are pursuing.
Which makes Kingsman a wonderful representation of the real world, but in a fantastical sort of way. You might ask why this is important at all? Isn’t Kingsman just a throwaway action movie? One to watch and forget?
It’s a fun enough film to see. It’s rather like jamming the Tim Burton movie Mars Attacks together with the latest James Bond films with Daniel Craig in the mix. There’s an entirely not-too-serious tone to Kingsman that gets its ultimate expression when heads start exploding like fireworks because the technology installed by the villain in the necks of hundreds of wealthy acolytes gets reversed by some laptop trickery by the so-called good guys.
But that’s not the only violently meta-weirdness about Kingsman. There’s also a scene in which the Colin Furth character goes crazy in a Southern Pentecostal church. The preacher is spewing hate when the arch villain sets off the cell phones of all the parishioners turning them into maddened psychopaths. Now, the underlying message in this scene is that their ugly beliefs are already evidencing themselves in what the preacher is saying. But when technology sets off their manic brains they all go crazy attacking each other with crosses, axes and bare fists. A few guns go off as well, suggesting the idea that concealed carry may not be such a good idea after all.
The Kingsman handily dispatches all 100 people in the church. He kills them all. One is not sure if this is the result of his own skills at survival or the conclusion of a very bad sermon. At any rate, when he walks out the door he is confronted by the evil villain himself played by a lisping Samuel L. Jackson who shoots the Colin Furth character straight in the head after a short little monologue mocking the James Bond/Austin Powers tradition in which the villains usually set up some sort of torturous way for the good guy to die. “This isn’t that kind of movie,” the villain says.
In fact the villain stands for everything wrong with the world. He’s a megalomaniac that wants to kill off much of the human race to protect the earth. So there’s a liberal bent to his character. Yet he’s a merciless billionaire willing to use technology to dispatch anyone that stands in his way. So there’s a conservative will to his methodology.
The fact that he lisps is supposed to represent the fact that he has overcome his most obvious character flaw. Jackson recently played another genius character in the movie Captain America in which his legs were so fragile he was susceptible to easy breakage. Apparently these physical “defects” are an attempt to commiserate with all those who live with disabilities. Consider that Jackson’s sexy accomplice is a female ninja with razor sharp blades for feet. What does she represent? That sexy women are deadly.
I’m here to propose that Kingsman is a perfect symbol for the mess that modern religion has become. More specifically, it characterizes the brand of meta-Christianity that has turned its back on anything resembling common sense with the goal of appealing to everyone as some sort of grand inside joke. There is a very real and politicized faith that has emerged in collusion news media such as Fox News along with Right-leaning politicians who want the authority of religion without any of its cumbersome calls to care for the poor or to watch that the love of money does not lead to the root of all evil.
The worst of liberal society is mixed in with this new movement because the issues that a hyper-material and hate-loving conservative religion loves to resist include science and academia. These are called lies or something worse; a deception of the spirit perpetrated by the liberal left.
The fact that the villain is killing people right and left using technology while the Kingsman go around shooting sophisticated, military-grade guns is an expression of the meta-fantasy that only violence can solve problems. That is the lurking suspicion under the modern day conservative alliance which uses the very liberal Constitution of the United States to achieve very conservative aims of guaranteeing the right to kill in the event that the government or some other force should overwhelm regular society.
That’s how crazy the logic is behind the brand of meta-Christianity now threatening real democracy in America. Insanity is now the rule of the day. What meta-Christianity seeks is an exorcism of all it fears. How ironic that Hollywood, its apparent worst enemy with all its liberality, should so perfectly capture the twisted nature of what meta-conservative faith and politics has become.
Of course you can’t point these things out to a meta-Christian. Their own view of conspiracies is rampantly obsessed with liberals as the bad guy. They would quite literally choose the Kingsman as protectors of all things good in this world. That’s the collective narrative of the movie, that we need men of secret will and massive force to protect the good cause of civil order. The fantasy sold through the Kingsman is that you and I are actually those men and women of secret will and massive force. We must choose leaders that represent those ideals.
That’s why the character Iggsy comes from such humble roots. That’s why why he initially resists the stuffy manner of those who seek to turn him into a solo superpower, but ultimately “sees the light” that men who communicate great authority are the only ones that can “save the world.” From there it’s a question of identifying the enemy and pointing fingers through subliminal messaging and dog-whistle communication. It is no coincidence that the villain in the movie Kingsman is a black genius who accuses his adversaries of “talking funny.” To meta-Christians of a conservative bent, the Samuel L. Jackson character is President Obama.
So the real message is loyalty against such adversaries. Iggsy ultimately submits to this ideal by wearing a perfectly-tailored suit representative of his newfound fealty to a powerful tradition of kingly behavior. In other words, democracy be damned. The New World Order harkens back to a time when kings ruled the world and oligarchy was the only way to maintain or restore order. How perfect a message for the new American oligarchy of laissez-faire capitalism and hatred for all things intellectual that might question this new kingly authority. It’s no coincidence that this movement accuses Obama of acting like a king. They’re afraid he’s stolen their mission.
It’s a sickly subversive message when it comes to America. But that’s where meta-Christianity and meta-conservatism wants to take the nation with its call for breaching the Constitution and installing Christianity as a state religion. And for killing off unions so that bargaining rights with the super-wealthy are illegal.
The Kingsman are none other than the Kochs and those zealous politicians willing to buy out the political process and install those sworn to fealty of the masters.
Of course the real master known as Arthur in the movie Kingsman turns out to be just as corruptible as anyone else. He dies as a result, done in by a sleight of hand by the common man Iggsy, That’s the lone message of real good in the entire mess of force and counterforce in the movie Kingsman. In the end real victory often comes down to a simple deception. Fair and balanced, as it were. That’s the end game of meta-Christianity. It’s all about who can win the game of trickery.