Kingsman: The Golden Circle Review
When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman's journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.
Matthew Vaughn returns to the director's chair with writing partner Jane Goldman to give another chapter in the Kingsman series. If you're a fan of the first film, you should be in for a good time here. If you hated it's outlandish humour and violence, you should probably skip this one.
After the Kingsmen service is attacked and nearly all wiped out, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) discover an emergency protocol that leads them to America,seeking help from the Statesmen -- their American counterparts. Together with the Statesmen, they team up to take down Poppy (Julianne Moore), a drug kingpin living in the middle of the jungle with a Grease-inspired little town, including a diner, cinema, salon, etc.
Much like the first film, The Golden Circle features ridiculous characters in the Statesmen and a ridiculous villain in Poppy. She's outlandishly played by Moore, who looks to be having just as much fun as Samuel L. Jackson did in the first. Channing Tatum and Pedro Pascal get to ham up the Texan accent as two lead agents for the Statesmen. Tatum isn't used much, even if he was everywhere in the promotional material. Instead, you have a grand lot of Pedro Pascal, who is fantastic and I hope this puts him on the radar for people who have missed watching Narcos (you should watch Narcos). Halle Berry is reserved as the equivalent for Kingsman Merlin and Jeff Bridges makes a brief appearance, beardless for the first time in what seems like nearly 10 years.
At nearly two and half hours, The Golden Circle begins to drag before its credits roll. It suffers from a lot of pacing issues and never hits that final act high that the first film did. It tries and tries to reach the exhilaration of that church scene in its predecessor, but it doesn't, and the final showdown isn't as interesting as when Eggsy faced off against Gazelle in the first film. The Golden Circle also has an overuse of slow-motion shots with look-at-this-cool-tech moments to show off either the suave-looking Kingsmen and Statesmen, or their toys, and it becomes too much.
One of my criticisms of the first film was its use of female characters. I didn't particularly find the last scene setting up anal sex with a rescued princess particularly funny. It was, however, surprising to see Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström) return in this film and for her and Eggsy to be a great relationship. The antics of Eggsy stressing about meeting her parents and chilling with her and his friends from the first film were some of the best scenes in The Golden Circle. I still have similar issues with The Golden Circle as I did with The Secret Service, and it does feature another unnecessary anal sex-like scene, but making Tilde more than the typical one-night stand spy-movie trope was appreciated.
The Golden Circles' biggest problem is amongst its story choices. The decision to bring back Colin Firth's Harry Hart is -- and I loved him in the first film -- pointless. No spoilers, obviously, but the explanation for him being in this sequel film is boring, and never seems warranted. The sub-plot of 'how is Harry alive?' is one of the main stories in The Golden Circle, and it is an unimaginative, tired trope. I would have preferred the story without his return, allowing for other characters to shine in his spot.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle has its fun moments and Taron Egerton is charming as ever, but it drags, and the story features a lot less inspiration that the first film.
Directors: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, Mark Millar (comic book "The Secret Service"), Dave Gibbons (comic book "The Secret Service")
Cast: Taron Egerton, Edward Holcrof, Mark Strong, Hanna Alström, Julianne Moore, Colin Firth, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal