Warning! Potential MINOR SPOILERS ahead:
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the second entry in the Kingsman series and after one of the best spy movies in a generation, this film sadly falls flat, thanks to a poor first half and is yet another example of a sequel failing to live up to expectations.
The Golden Circle continues the adventure of Eggsy (Taron Egerton), the working-class tough-guy, turned charismatic super-spy. The next leg of his story sees him and the Kingsmen join forces with their American counterparts, The Statesmen, after they are attacked by new villain, Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), who has another far-fetched scheme that could kill millions.
Now, while there are definitely elements to this film that I enjoyed, the second-half in particular was absolutely excellent, a lot of this film just didn’t have that spark and feel that made ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service‘ feel so groundbreaking and special. It just didn’t feel as well-thought-out and a bit clumsy, especially with the explanation behind Harry (Colin Firth) surviving the events of the first film.
A good line in the original, from the impeccable Colin Firth, was: “I always thought the old Bond movies were only as good as the villain.” Which sums up this movie’s biggest flaw in a nutshell. Julianne Moore just doesn’t cut it for me. She’s not menacing at all and her evil scheme is a bit pathetic and ridiculous and would completely kill her business, purely for the purpose of vain narcissism. Oh and why she built a 50s style American town in the Jungle of Cambodia is beyond me.
I mean sure, Richmond Valentine’s (Samuel L. Jackson) plan from the first film was equally as bonkers but the reason it worked so well was that Jackson was excellent for the role and pulled it off wonderfully. He was camp, fun and adorable but had the menacing streak all villains need. Poppy just didn’t have any of that, she was just a bit of a bland character with a bad plan, some crappy CGI dogs and Elton John… who was used waaaaaay too much in this film. Ever heard of the expression ‘less is more?’
There were also a number of little details with The Golden Circle that when all added up, just created a noticeable niggling sense in the back of my mind for a lot of the film. While the essence of The Golden Circle is largely the same as the original, it just went over-the-top a few times too many. To be fair to the director, Matthew Vaughn, he set the bar so impossibly high with the first instalment, that to match it would’ve been the work of a miracle. It’s just a case of failing to live up to expectations, otherwise known as ‘sequelitis’.
The returning cast members, Egerton, Firth and Mark Strong all do a very amicable job and I was impressed with the majority of the Statesmen too. Pedro Pascal and Halle Berry were solid but I would have liked to have seen more of Channing Tatum, but then who doesn’t, right?
Overall, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a fun film that tries to build on the success of the first Kingsman movie simply by adding more, but in doing so, hits a few wrong notes that left me with the feeling that bigger is not always better. Its definitely enjoyable but try to keep your expectations low.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle was released in the UK on September 20, 2017
Pictures and trailer courtesy of 20th Century Fox