Kingsman: The Secret Service took the overly serious and stuffy nature of spy films and turned that back towards camp and funny, more reminiscent of a Roger Moore film than anything Matt Damon or Daniel Craig might star in. Yet it wasn’t simply a response to that world it was stylish and violent and fit in well with the current mainstream obsession with comic books. It was an entertaining film but also was a bit of a tonal mess. The sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a more polished experience yet for everything it makes up for in confident film making it fails to elicit the charm of the previous film and its lesser for it. Find out more in our review.
Eggsy and Merlin are now heading up the London Branch of the Kingsman group when they come under attack by drug monopoly baron Poppy. Her evil plan only begins with this act of espionage and her real plan comes about when she put poison in all her illegal narcotics to hold the world ransom and make drug legal. Eggsy and Merlin turn to their American counterparts
Kingsman: The Golden Circle unsurpisingly never takes itself too seriously and that’s the tone that it sets itself from the beginning which opens with a ridiculous and exciting car chase through London. It involves robotic arms and implausible stunts all while causing the right kind of mayhem. It opens with confidence and the whole thing feels visually exciting throughout. Matthew Vaughn knowns how to make action movies and whether it’s set pieces on alpines or gun fight in retro fifties Americana located in jungles. It never misses a beat and part of me believes this is the film he wanted to make.
The film has a quirky world that is fascinatingly filled secret agents and super villains. It is intriguing but never feels fully developed. Part of the problem is there no mystery to it. It simply contains things that could be explained quickly but seem to be best left hanging out there for you to ponder. A good example of how to feel mysterious and not be a slave to exposition is John Wick. Kingsman: Thee Golden Circle has a whole lot of exposition but never wants to explain its most interesting elements. Why are there robot dogs? How many secret agencies are there? Who put the mysterious bottles for the doomsday protocols? All little things that are annoying but they soon add up as other frustrations come into play.
Another example is the rather large ensemble cast yet Taron Egerton and Colin Firth are giving front billing and their heart felt relationship makes the film feel warm. But you also have great performances from Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry and Julianne Moore as well as a certain English Pop Star cameo. Yet a lot of this ensemble cast don’t have a whole lot of character to them. They are fine but more style over substance. All this time to spend with new characters time is odd considering the film runs beyond where it needs to go.
The addition of the US Statesman agency makes for a fascinating balancing act in humour. From absurd lasso whirling cowboys to a cruel president all seems to be poking a rather large bear that could only make a rather sizeable portion of the Kingsman: The Golden Circle’s audience. It’s all a gentle tease with just a hint of affection. It never feels like competition nor nasty and probably a hint of admiration. It’s kind of amusing that Channing Tatum is now in two movies in 2017 with a prolific use of John Denver’s ‘Country Road’
If it sounds like Kingsman: The Golden Circle doesn’t quite have the same bite of its predecessor. It’s violence, sexuality and politics all seems a little less biting. That’s a good thing for we live a slightly darker world then when the original come out. But that lack of seems to equate to a lack of really good laughs. I’m hard pressed to call any of the jokes truly memorable
Kingsman: The Golden Circle Review Cheat Sheet:
Kingsman: The Golden Circle never feels quite as strong nor as clever as its predecessor. Still it’s largely enjoyable fun and doesn’t seem to have quite the same disturbing violence or sexuality of the first film. It’s bloated but also filled with absurd escapist action and it’s more amusing than funny. It’s definitely not a must see but it’s not something you will regret spending time with.
+ A ridiculously large and well selected craft.
+ Absurd escapism is a delight.
+ A confident visual presentation.
+ Doesn’t feel as weird tonally as the original.
-Not Enough Development.
-Underuse of Cast.
-More amusing than out and out funny.
-A tad too long.