So in keeping with this, the subject of this week’s blog post is the movies of Matthew Vaughn. Now, most people are likely not familiar with this particular director and producer for I do not think he is a household name. But in my opinion he should be as the movies that he has made and directed are of the highest quality and I’m sure that most of you have seen or at least heard of some of them. They are Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass, X-Men First Class, and Kingsman: Secret Service. He has also been active as a producer for many movies including Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and The Debt among others.
In my opinion the five movies that he has directed are all excellent. Layer Cake is a fun, gangster movie that was released in the 90’s and is among the best of the gangster movies released during that period and it stars Daniel Craig as he tries to leave the world of drugs behind him. Stardust is an incredible fairytale where we follow Charlie Cox’s character Tristan as he tries to retrieve a fallen star for his beloved but things take an unexpected turn when he finds that the star is a young lady in the form of Clare Danes. Kick-ass is a movie where our young hero, an ordinary boy played by Aaron-Taylor Johnson, dons a cape to fight crime and consequently gets his ass kicked (see what I did there!). X-Men: First Class is an incredibly fun X-Men movie that deals with the early formation of the team and stars James MacAvoy and Michael Fassbender as a young Professor X and Magneto respectively. Lastly, Kingsman is a James Bond-esque style movie, starring Taron Egerton, that cleverly parodies Bond without ever becoming too ridiculous and features incredible action sequences (I’m looking at you, church sequence) as well as the heart that I feel is characteristic of Mr. Vaughn’s movies.
Now, one of the really remarkable things about the movies of this particular director is that, in my opinion, three of the five movies are better than the source material on which they are based. And that is not an easy thing to do especially more than once. How many examples are there of movies that are thought of as better than the books that they are based on rather than the other way around? I am sure there are some, but I think the weight is rather balanced in the opposite direction. Now, I have not read the Layer Cake novel so I cannot comment on that. And I like the works of Mark Millar and enjoyed the graphic novels that Kick-Ass and Kingman were based on but there are other books from this author that I prefer such as Chronanauts and Jupiter’s Legacy. And I think both movies are far superior to their source material. And I am also a huge fan of Neil Gaiman, as you can tell if you read my previous posts, but even in the case of Gaiman’s brilliant book I feel it has been adapted into a truly magical movie. Actually, Stardust is one of my favourite movies of all-time.
Kick-Ass actually nicely illustrates my point. Matthew Vaughn, along with Jane Goldman on writing duties, has adapted a well-respected, but particularly brutal graphic novel, into a superb movie with a hell of a lot of heart, which I feel the comic lacks, and considerable panache. In my opinion Kick-Ass is a seriously brilliant movie. Vaughn and Goldman then pulled the same trick again turning Kingsman, an enjoyable graphic novel also from Mark Millar, into an incredible, spectacular adventure that parodies Bond with aplomb. And Kick-Ass 2 then aptly demonstrated what happens when these two are not involved. You get a movie with all of the brutality of the source material, but none of the style and heart that Vaughn and Goldman bring to the project. Kick-Ass 2 is a steaming pile of shit of a movie, a turgid mess that did not understand what made the first film so fantastic. It looked at its predecessor and thought it understood what made it so wonderful but it did not. And we got something that was just horrendous.
So, I guess that the point of this (always) Rambling blog post is that, if you don’t know the movies of Matthew Vaughn, then I would recommend that you hunt them out and watch them. Each is excellent, directed with a hell of a lot of style and heart and they are some of my favourite movies. And once you’ve seen them tell your friends and families how great they were and then maybe this director will get some of the acclaim that I feel he is due. And I eagerly await Kingsman 2, which is out in 2017. I actually wish that Matthew Vaughn made movies more frequently than he does but then his films are of such high quality that I guess I can endure the wait. Besides, I can always watch them again on DVD, as I often do. His directors commentaries are also a lot of fun. Check them out too but only once you’ve seen the movies. You won’t regret it!
Check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on comics, politics, self-publishing and my novel, ‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’ out now at all electronic retailers! Also follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!