I’m so excited it’s a free post week, as I can finally write out my comparison of the Kingsman movie and Crime and Punishment. I could honestly write a book of an analysis of the movie itself; it’s so good. For those of you who have never seen Kingsman: Secret Service, this post probably won’t make any sense to you. And for those of you who have seen it, I hope I don’t bore you.
There are so many similarities amongst characters and themes to be drawn between these two works. First of all, Raskolnikov and Richmond Valentine are both very prominent sociopaths. A sociopath is someone who acts on their own antisocial moral compass; their actions can be illegal or seen as wrong by the rest of society, but, in their mind, they see it as honestly doing the right thing. To Raskolnikov, murdering the pawnbroker is justified. She was greedy and malicious, and her practice was often deleterious to the lives of the desperate and impoverished. Raskolnikov feels that he is ridding society of a certain evil; what he is doing is right. In Kingsman, Valentine’s egregious plan and actions are heavily sociopathic, even though his contradictive, seemingly insane personality makes him appear nearly psychopathic. His “world healing” plot is so appalling to us that we view him as utterly depraved, but his motivations, to him, are pure. As mad as he seems, he truly believes he is doing the right thing, as he tells Gazelle, “A simple switch? This is an extremely dangerous machine. It should only be operated by someone as responsible and sane as me. Bad things could happen if this falls into the wrong hands.” Valentine says this in all sincerity, as if what he is planning to do with the machine isn’t bad. This description of himself seems almost mocking as we don’t consider him to be sane, but, as a sociopath, he is acting in full sanity and morality, as far as he is concerned.
Another similarity is that both Crime and Punishment and the Kingsman explore the idea of extraordinary versus ordinary men and the limitations, or lack thereof, on said extraordinary humans. Raskolnikov iterates this idea to Porfiry when he corrects his interpretation of Raskolnikov’s article, as he says, “an ‘extraordinary’ man has the right… to overstep certain obstacles… only in case it is essential for the practical fulfillment of his idea (sometimes, perhaps, of benefit to the whole of humanity)” (247). Raskolnikov believes that an extraordinary man, one with a revolutionary idea or world-improving plan, is right to cross lines, so to speak, whether that be a certain crime, murder, mass bloodshed, or other such means, only in order to further his idea. Richmond Valentine vividly actualizes this concept. He condones and initiates the taking of what is probably millions of lives with the goal of carrying out his idea that humans must kill off some of their population in order to save the earth. He is causing “the destruction of the present for the sake of the better,” as Raskolnikov would call it (248).