Kingsman: The Golden Circle Review
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is an action spy comedy film directed by Matthew Vaughn and written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman. It is a sequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service, which is based on the comic book series Kingsman. If you want my thoughts on that film, click here. The film features Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Edward Holcroft, Sophie Cookson, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, Elton John, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges in an ensemble cast.
The Story/The Direction:
After the majority of the Kingsman are killed off by Poppy Adams (Moore), the remaining Kingsmen, Eggsy (Egerton) and Merlin (Strong) travel to the United States to team up with their American counterparts, the Statesmen. They work together to bring down Poppy who is trying legalize her drugs. As an action film, this movie does its job. From its opening car scene to its climax at Poppy Land, the action is good if not better than the first film. Vaughn is able to keep things very entertaining when the action is happening. Each fight scene is brutal but it doesn't feel as violent as the last one. They are shown in a seemingly single-take intertwined with visual effects moving quickly from a punch to kick with a pop song in the background. As we move from England to America, you get a new twist on the Kingsman. While the Kingsmen codenames are based on Arthurian legend, the Statesman handles are all humorously named after alcohol. While the first film seemed to embrace CEOs and the like, this film seems to be more cynical about them. All of them are shown to be either psychopaths or have psychopathic characteristics. It was an interesting take to attempt to separate itself a little from the first film.
As with the first film, the film's biggest highlight is its cast. Egerton does another good job as Eggsy and I hope he continues past this franchise. Strong as Merlin has some really memorable scenes that made me appreciate him more. Tatum as Tequilla is enjoyable and coming from a normally non-fan of Tatum, that means something. For the time that he is on screen, he has a presence that made me want more of his character in this film. Pascal as Whiskey was fun and his Southern-American accent was perfect. I also had fun with Bridges' Champagne (Champ) and Elton John's fictional version of himself. Moore though is the best out of them. She steals the scene every time she's on screen. She provides a 50s-obsessed psychopath similar to that of the Stepford Wives which made her really creepy. She was a 1950's American Mrs. Lovett, making hamburgers out of humans that didn't even need a Sweeney Todd to do her dirty deeds.
The main issue with the film is its pacing. The action was great when it happened but everything in between was not. This made the film feel much longer than it's approximate two and half hour running time. Vaughn wanted to bring in a bunch of A-List actors into this franchise but he did not have enough for them to do. For the most part, all of them were extremely underused if not dumb. Each character that I enjoyed was not mostly due to this film. It was fun to see Elton John, Bridges, and Michael Gambon in this film. However, it was because of who they are outside of this film. To be honest, Bridges was only a parody of his prior country films and Elton John was essentially an extended cameo that was funny at times but mostly because of the fact that he was in a film such as this. Vaughn had all these new characters and he tried to give all of them a background which failed miserably. He tries to give them all subplots that just get extremely convoluted that adds a lot to making this film boring. This film also failed terribly in its treatment of its women characters. While how the first film ended with a captive woman offering herself for rescue did not bother me too much, this film clearly does not care about its women characters. Cookson's Roxy is essentially only an assistant to Eggsy until she is killed by Poppy and Berry's Ginger does nothing the entire film except assist Merlin. Hanna Alstrom as Crown Princess Tilde of Sweden was more prominent in this film but she reduced to a girlfriend who doesn't like it when Eggsy has to seduce a woman. I mean its totally unbelievable that the girl that loves him would object to such a thing (I hope you catch my sarcasm). Aside from that idiocy, what Vaughn does with Eggsy and the woman he seduces is beyond terrible. At least Bond had class and I'm not saying Bond is a great role model either when it comes to his treatment of women. The jokes in this film also do not hit a lot of the times but neither did the ones in the prior film. While I also enjoyed Moore, her character at times did not make sense. She likes the 1950s but she's really into robotics? This was a weird choice by Vaughn.
Where I could see how the prior film enjoyable to others because it had this new look on the spy genre, this film does not live up to the prior one at all. The first film had this new style that had not been really seen before. It was action packed and stylistic. A successful sequel enhances on what the first film could not achieve. This film does not do that. It has the same things that made the first one enjoyable, true. However, that is all. It did not do anything really new aside from bringing in new but underdeveloped characters that were acted by underused A-listers. Vaughn does a good job with the action and it can be enjoyable at times but overall that is not enough to justify the runtime of this average film that I would skip.
Rating: 2.5/5.0 bowties
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