How to Fix Kingsman: The Secret Service
Kingsman: The Secret Service is an uneven movie. It’s trying to both subvert and exploit spy movie clichés, and it doesn’t always work.
The easiest way to fix it is if we just swap Roxy (the female Lancelot) and Eggsy’s roles, making Roxy the protagonist.
The opening scene becomes Galahad giving the medal to his comrade’s daughter, not his son. The daughter grows up watching men abuse her mother and feeling powerless to stop it. Galahad plucks her out of poverty and brings her in to train for the Kingsmen.
We make one more change, and make her the first woman they’ve ever had compete for a spot. Now she’s got two things to prove: that both women and lower-class people can make it into this elite service.
Eggsy can be the supporting character, one of the other competitors that’s also lower-class. He cracks self-deprecating jokes about it being positive discrimination, that none of the lower-classes ever make it, etc. Roxy can give him confidence, teach him to believe in himself, and help him reach the #2 spot. When her mentor (Galahad) gets killed, and everything goes “tits up”, he’s the one she calls, even though he failed the dog test (Roxy still passes that; there’s a great character scene to be had there).
By reversing the two characters, we move the movie away from the clichés that it tries and fails to subvert, and into “I’ve not seen this before” territory. Every emotional beat gets stronger, every fight becomes more interesting.