In this second installment (of the directors planned but unconfirmed trilogy) Eggsy (Taron Egerton), Harry (Colin Firth), and Merlin (Mark Strong) reunite after a devastating attack against the Kingsman organisation. With no other option but to seek out their American Cousin’s The Statesman for assistance, we are introduced to agents Champagne (Jeff Bridges), Tequila (Channing Tatum), Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), and Ginger Ale (Halle Berry). In the spirit of cooperation the organisations collaborate to uncover and prevent The Golden Circle’s plan, which has been set in motion by their narcissistic leader Poppy (Julianne Moore) all while displaying the utmost gentlemanly manners.
I loved the first Kingsman and have been eagerly anticipating this sequel, especially after learning that Matthew Vaughn had locked himself away to pen the script, and intended to return to direct his first ever followup. Although Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class both went on to have sequels, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the first time the director has returned to a franchise.
From the get go Eggsy is established as having become more comfortable with his profession as a secret agent, and content with his all but mundane personal life. However the struggle for him now is trying to strike a balance between his two worlds, while doing his best to keep them separate, and mourning the loss of his deceased mentor Harry Hart. While the movie doesn’t necessarily develop the character past what was previously established, it does, with setup from the first installment, further his story in an unexpected way.
A slightly worrying hurdle was how and when Vaughn was going to reintroduce Harry to the story, and for the most part I would say it was a job well done. My only complaint would be that he should have recovered from his symptoms a bit sharper.
The villains plan was interesting enough, different, and certainly relevant to a popular narcotics topic in America as of late. Although it was ever so slightly reminiscent of the previous films situation. More interesting than the plan itself was how certain individuals react to the villains global announcement of her self indulgent scheme, and how it becomes a catalyst for people to reveal hidden agendas.
Possibly the biggest feat of the film was its world building, achieved with the introduction of The Statesman. Allowing for an easy injection of potential fresh talent, plots, spin-offs, and crossovers in the future for the presumably expanding franchise. Just encase you think its a bit convenient The Statesman show up as The Kingsman are attacked, or are asking where were they before? They do attempt to address their coexistence and awareness of each other in the movie.
Unfortunately the action wasn’t as coherent or impressive this time around, some of the fight scenes were slightly too frantic, fast, and all over the place for the tight shots and slow pans to keep track of. The well choreographed bar and church fight scenes from the first movie stand head and shoulders above the sequels attempt to use CGI lassos and whips to up the ante.
I was never really scared of or concerned about the villain, she wasn’t a super genius or physically imposing, just a bit crazy, self absorbed, and full of herself. Not only did it make me wonder how someone like that would achieve the position she held, but I also think it made her just a bit too similar to Samuel L. Jackson’s Valentine. They have both had pretty cool henchman though!
Sometimes too much of a good thing can be harmful, and with Sir Elton John’s celebrity cameo it most certainly was the case. Unlike Mark Hamill’s short but sweet inclusion in the first film (that was a play on the Kingsman comic book source material), the musician has more than one unnecessarily absurd scene and his presence seems to linger.
At no fault of the movie, director, or stars, as was with so many films these days, the trailers revealing too many story beats, character introductions, and spoilers. I would recommend avoiding advertising material prior to viewing and refrain from divulging too much to would be viewers.
Even with the negatives mentioned above the movie is still an enjoyable watch and hopefully not the last time we will visit the fantastically exaggerated world of the Kingsman 7/10.
The sequel is currently receiving mixed reviews and balancing at 50% on rottentomatoes while the original Kingsman: The Secret Service boasts a fresh 74%.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is now showing in cinemas worldwide.