I do not understand why nobody except Marvel gets that when you take a comic book and move it on-screen you do NOT do comic-book stuff. Yes, you can get away with comic-book physics, and comic-book mumbo-jumbo, but if you suddenly throw comic-book elements into a movie that has so far taken itself more or less at face value then you're going to ruin the entire thing.
Also, Matthew Vaughn should learn that he is not going to out-Tarantino Tarantino, nor is he going to out-Bond Bond. More to the point, there's a reason why the latest set of Bond films have dropped certain tropes in favor of more honesty and grit - it makes for better stories.
The racist stuff? Well, you have a black villain played by Samuel L Jackson trying to out-Blofeld Blofeld in the mad genius category, and an Arab (Algerian Sofia Boutella) assistant as his weapon-of-choice facing off against a bunch of white dudes. Guess who wins?
Sexism? There is a token female Kingsman agent (valiantly played by Sophie Cookson) who is the only one that needs reassurance (from a man) to do her job. The film does avoid the cliche' of having a female good guy just to fight the female bad guy. But see the spoilers below...
So there's a Scandinavian princess (Hanna Alström) who initially comes across as a no-nonsense has-a-backbone type. You see her standing up to Jackson's villain where her craven (male) prime minister instantly caves in. Good for her. Later you see her locked in a cell where she still won't give Jackson the time of day in exchange for her freedom. Two points up.
Then there's the big climax fight at the end, where Eggsy ends up outside the princess's door. And suddenly she's promising him sex if he gets her out of there - apparently at her own initiative, since all Eggsy asks for is a kiss (still a little icky but he asks politely). THEN, dear gods who thought this was a good idea, she has to add on that if he'll kill the bad guy for her then it's anal sex.
I was so stunned at that point I had to ask Pygment if I'd heard it correctly. WHAT THE EVER-LOVING HELL? How do you pack that much WRONG into so few lines that are so completely unnecessary to the movie?
Once upon a time there was a trope that Bond got the girl because he was sexy and charming. Sometimes the girl even threw herself at Bond. That was... um, thirty years ago? And we cringe about it now. We don't "update" that trope into gross (unprotected unlubricated anal sex OMFGSTOP THAT RIGHT NOW).
Oh, and let me please warn you about the fireworks exploding heads. See, our villain has implanted devices into his agreeable victims to ensure their cooperation. (Seen Agents of Shield much?) And these devices can be remotely controlled to detonate and blow up the victim's head. We got it - there's a nasty scene where this happens to Harry Hart/Galahad.
So when our heroes go in and steal a secured access point that lets them hack into the bad guy's computer, I can (comic-book-logic) buy that they could send that detonation signal to every one of those devices. If I was a mad genius and was worried about my chosen people revolting against me, I'd totally put fail-safe explosives into their heads.
But instead of repeating the not-quite-on-camera violent detonation of the first scene, Vaughn (because I have to blame the director for this) decides to give us slo-mo cinematic fully scored scenes of EVERYONE's head blowing up into cartoon fireworks. Multiple colors, even. With cute little mushroom clouds.
No I am not making this up. It's actually that dumb.
Look, I get that this is a coming-of-age movie done in spy comic style. It's about how a kid can transcend class and his preconceptions. It's a reasonable premise, and I actually liked the early interplay between Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Harry Hart (Colin Firth). But this film doesn't just jump the shark - it straps on rockets and attains jump-the-sharknado altitude levels of badness.