Friday, July 29, 2016

WBI: Richmond Valentine

Kingsman: The Secret Service is the dopest spy movie I’ve seen in a long time. I blame Daniel Craig. Anyway, let’s chat before the sequel comes out next year.

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Richmond Valentine put all his money towards protecting the environment only to realize one thing: it wasn’t going to make a damn bit of difference. Earth is sick and humanity is its virus. The solution? Be the one to cull humanity first, before humanity destroys itself and its home.


WBI Profile

Classification :: A023567$#*
Role :: Alpha (plotting and idealistic mastermind)
Motivation :: chaos (exterminating humanity), idealism (Earth must be saved), insanity/psychology (megalomaniac), lifestyle (remaining rich and elite), desperation (humanity’s survival), personal/material gain (Earth and humanity’s survival)
Bonus :: money (and lots of it), minions (Gazelle, personal army), lair (a mountain)

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His Significance To…

Harry Hart—as a Kingsman agent it’s Harry’s duty to put a stop to Valentine’s plan; however, Valentine has more information and the power to bend his very will

Eggsy—as a green recruit, Eggsy has little to do with Valentine until he is the one person standing between the villain and a successful world takeover

Gazelle—she is his partner in crime and Valentine trusts her completely to help him (although she enjoys killing folks more than he does)

the world’s elite—Valentine wants humanity to continue after they cull the species; these are the chosen ones who will fulfill that prophecy

ordinary people—since it is the sizable quantity of ordinary folks overwhelming Earth, these ones must die for the world’s salvation

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Notable Actions

surveillance—Valentine pays attention to people, because they all have the power to bolster or break his project. In the end, people make all the difference.

planning and testing—as twisted as he is, Valentine knows he wields dangerous power and he puts firm limits on how far he’s willing to go. That’s why he makes careful plans and tests them before making the final launch.

succeeding—his diligence and attention make Valentine’s plan work in the end; the Kingsmen need to stop him after his plan has started working.

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Big Idea

he turns around so he can have deniability—Valentine vomits at the sight of blood and the first time he kills a man with his own gun, he doesn’t like it. What’s the problem, when he arranges the deaths of so many others? He didn’t kill them; “they killed each other.” The literal act of keeping his hands clean is what matters to Valentine. He puts murder in motion but places full responsibility on those who commit it. Even if they didn’t have a choice.

charisma, good intentions, and logic work—Valentine is a likable person. He wants to save the world and devises a rational way to do that. As horrible as his plan is, it’s easy for him to convince so many people to join his cause because he’s smart and he’s charming. That makes people trust and believe him.

some lives matter—certain fears surround contemporary movements like #BlackLivesMatter. Many people perceive this means that black lives matter more than others, when they really mean to address injustice that often presents itself as inequality under the law. Valentine shows what a real superiority movement looks like. He handpicks some thousands he thinks worthy of keeping, discriminating by a single factor that puts over 99% of the world to death. And then he lets the chaos ensue. It’s scary.


Because of that last idea, it seems a little insensitive to make Valentine and Gazelle the only notable people of color present in the film. Race isn’t meant to be the point, of course. The point is that Valentine values money as a status symbol, and so the people he saves for his new world belong to a specific group. The rich. The elite. The powerful. Whether they are politicians or philanthropists, musicians or teachers, he wants the people that matter. This really hits a nerve with our protagonist, Eggsy, because he didn’t grow up with status. He grew up poor and abused and struggling and he can’t walk away from it. Even when he’s out saving the world he has a mother and sister he needs to get to safety.

We sympathize with Eggsy because he isn’t the megalomaniac who wants to murder seven billion people. And I don’t blame us for that. Still, when I think about whose lives we value more as a planet, I have to wonder whether Eggsy and Valentine are appropriate representatives. Maybe in some ways. But in others? I have to wonder. Because Valentine isn’t the only one who believes in superiority, and the ones who do might look a lot like Eggsy.


Have you seen
Kingsman? (Despite my criticisms just now, I do seriously love this film. Go see it!)


2 comments :

  1. Kingsmen was the best, wasn't it? And I loved Valentine, he was pretty awesome. I thought it was really cool how he hated blood and he didn't like taking responsibility for his actions because usually villains are like YES I DID THAT THANK YOU VERY MUCH ALLOW ME TO REVEL IN MY GLORIOUS MURDER. So that was cool.

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    Replies
    1. Right? I adore this movie, haha. I think they did write Valentine with breaking stereotypes in mind, and that added to the great humor present in the story. :) Of course, Gazelle seemed to fit that role plenty. XD

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