The American Villain: The Portrayal of Richmond Valentine in 'Kingsman: The Secret Service'

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By investigating the significance of cultural heritage in the portrayal of the villain throughout popular British spy cinema this thesis aims to demonstrate how the villain from Kingsman: The Secret Service is both a continuation as well as a discontinuation of the British spy villain archetype. It will do so by studying archetypal villains in all kinds of cinema as are already established in academic literature on villainy in film, which includes several interpretations on how to classify and distinguish between types of villains and by investigating which of these types fits the villain from the film Kingsman: The Secret Service best and argue why that is the case. The choice to portray the villain as American is discussed in light of the function that a villain inherently occupies within the narrative. Since that function is generally perceived as representing an anti-type to the hero, both of which represent cultural identity in terms of “self” and “otherness”, this particular villain’s heritage compared to the main outline of the plot and the cultural heritage of the actors chosen to portray the main characters is telling, especially in a transatlantic framework.
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