When you’re looking to replace Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore is the obvious choice

I was just having a conversation yesterday with someone about Kingsman: The Secret Service, a film that gets better every time I see it. If I ever end up with the free time to do so (ha!), I should write a piece about the way that film systematically dismantles every single idea that props up the James Bond franchise, and does so while also playing as a surface-level blast of big nasty fun.

Samuel Jackson's bad guy character in the first one was fun, an effete Randian weirdo with an almost pathological aversion to blood. His plan was a despicable one, and like most great movie bad guys, he genuinely thought he was doing something good for the world.

While it's a bummer that Colin Firth will not be returning for the sequel (and believe me, they tried to figure out a way to make that happen that would make sense for audiences), Taron Egerton will be back as Eggsy, the working class kid from London who was recruited into a top-secret spy organization in the first film. One could assume Mark Strong, who was so charming as Merlin in the first one, will also return, and I hope we see more of Roxy, played by Sophie Cookson as every bit the badass Eggsy was.

With Jackson gone for good, though, they've got to have another villain worth tangling with this time, and casting Julianne Moore is a positively delightful choice. Right now, according to Borys Kit, they're still wrangling with schedules to see if they can make it work, but they must be close if he's reporting it. Moore doesn't do a ton of popcorn films, but when she does, she seems willing to throw herself into these things wholeheartedly.

What I find really encouraging is seeing that Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman are back as writers and that Vaughn is directing again. I've known Vaughn now since before Snatch was released, and the word I'd use to describe him as a filmmaker is “restless.” He does not like to repeat himself, and sequels seem like a tough fit for him. If he's coming back to make a second Kingsman film, then that's a strong indicator that he is very happy with the script, and that's good news, indeed.

I love that there's an anti-Bond franchise out there now, a thumb in the eye of something I love that has grown ossified through repetition. Let's see if Kingsman 2 can use Julianne Moore to do something just as smart and subversive as the first film.

Kingsman 2 is set for US release on June 16, 2017.

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