How Lose is Loosely Based?

kingsman-secret-service-most-poster The_Secret_Service_(comics)

I happened to stumble across the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service this past summer. I enjoyed the movie, the action sequences were well done, it had some great moments of humor, and by the time I landed I was so excited to tell my friends about it. After telling one of my friends about the film, they immediately asked if I knew that the film was based off a comic entitled The Secret Service by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. I quickly looked it up and began leafing through it. By the time I was finished the first volume, I noticed something. The movie and the comic book seemed nothing alike.

You see the phrase “based off the…” more and more in advertisements for comic or book inspired films, but more often than not it seems the whole “based on” idea is much more of a looser guideline than a definite aspect of the plot. With Kingsman, one of the major glaring differences between the original comic and the movie adaptation are the back stories of the two main characters. In the film version, Eggsy, the up to no good teenager, loses his father (a member of the spy organization Kingsman) at a very young age but not being told who his father was or what he did inadvertently gives him a tragic backstory and puts him on the path to meet the gentleman spy Harry Hart. In the comic book universe however, Eggsy’s guide into the world of espionage is Jack London, his uncle that works for the real world British intelligence organization MI6.

The differences between the two don’t stop there. The motivation of the main characters differ rather dramatically between the two mediums. In the movie, Eggsy spends the majority of the story training to take the place of a fallen Kingsman member after being nominated by Harry Hart before taking on the evil villain. In the comics however, Eggsy’s uncle simply suggests that he join MI6 to keep himself out of trouble.

When trying to compare the comic to the movie and vice versa, one could argue that though they do share some similarities with characters that these two stories could possibly function separately from each other. You really don’t seem to need to have read the comic to enjoy the film, or seen the film to enjoy the comic. Loyal The Secret Service fans may have some complaints about the noticeable differences between the two, but not having the film retell the story of the comic book word for word may make it more accessible to a broader audience.