The sequel to the brilliant Kingsman: The Secret Service has just his cinemas this weekend. Does it live up to the original?
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) flew under the radar and surprised everyone (myself included) as to how good it was.
There had been barely any marketing for the Mathew Vaughn directed film, led by a virtually unknown actor in Taron Egerton. When the film first debuted it blew everyone away. It was a fun, charming and brilliantly executed film with clever critiques of the old school spy movies.
Mathew Vaughn returns to direct Kingsman: The Golden Circle. The Golden Circle takes everything from the first film and takes it to a whole other level. There are numerous high octane action set-pieces scattered around the film and a decent enough storyline.
After the Kingsman headquarters is destroyed it’s up to the remaining members of the Kingsman to find out and who the mysterious Golden Circle is with the aid of The Statesman, their American counterparts.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle combines exhilarating action with witty humour.
The action sequences utilise those one-take camera movements from the first film and are incorporated into almost all of the fight scenes in this one.
Some people may not appreciate this style and find it too CGI heavy, but personally I thought it was pretty cool to watch. It’s miles better than the typical shaky cam fight scenes in most contemporary action movies.
Taron Egerton returns as Eggsy and delivers a terrific performance. Egerton holds his own opposite big stars such as Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges.
The humour in the film is very well done and may even be an improvement on the first! There is no single source of comic relief, all the characters have their fair share of banter, and it works perfectly.
The Statesman themselves are great and the whole concept of an American counterpart of the Kingsman is amazing! The stereotyped portrayal of these agents as southerners makes for some good banter. I just wished they had more screen time (potential Statesman spin-off anyone?).
The visuals of the film are immaculate; Vaughn knows how to shoot a film. The Golden Circle features numerous set pieces in snowy mountains, busy streets and lush jungles – all of which look stunning.
The soundtrack is also pretty slick. The trailer featured Frank Sinatra’s My Way and the film features a few fight scenes set to classic Elton John hits (and it works!).
The film is eccentric and over the top but entertaining as hell.
One of the complaints by critics is how over the top Kingsman: The Golden Circle is. The first Kingsman was mostly a grounded spy flick but spoofed some of the tropes of early James Bond films.
Yet this film takes it to a whole other level. Right from the get go we are treated to cyborg henchmen, robot dogs and machine gun briefcases, just to name a few of the eccentricities.
However, this does not take away from The Golden Circle. I personally loved the spoof of the over-the-top tropes of spy films. However I did feel like the robot dogs were a bit much.
The film is by no means perfect and has some very frustrating issues that bog down this sequel from being as good as the first.
The villain however, is one note and disappointing.
The most frustrating aspect of Kingsman: The Golden Circle is its villain. Vaughn turns legendary actress Julianne Moore into a one-dimensional psychopath named Poppy, the leader of The Golden Circle.
There is absolutely no depth to Poppy, she is just crazy for the sake of being crazy. She frequently murders her own henchmen for the slightest misdemeanours. Her presence is also limited by the fact that the character is restricted to a single location in the middle of a jungle, pushing buttons behind a desk.
In fact, she doesn’t fire a single bullet, and when she goes up against the Kingsman in the final act it makes for an anti-climactic conclusion. Also there is a twist at the end about the villain that is totally unnecessary.
Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges are glorified cameos.
Despite how heavily the marketing campaign for this film boasts the likes of Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum, they’re barely in the movie at all. They all feel like glorified cameos, with the exception of Halle Berry and Pedro Pascal.
Pascal in particular is the Statesmen with the most screen time and plot relevance, but barely got any billing in the marketing campaign. I was disappointed to see Tatum and Bridges reduced to such small roles. In fact a certain surprise celebrity cameo had more screen time than both of them combined! (But we’ll get into that later.)
Collin Firth should not not have been in this movie.
The trailer for the movie reveals a character that was seemingly killed off in the first film: Colin Firth’s Harry Hart, the original Kingsman agent who recruited Eggsy.
Bringing back Harry is doing his character a disservice and really takes away from the first film. Colin Firth does a fine job as Harry but the way he is brought back is so outrageous I felt I was watching a soap opera!
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is also way too long.
The film clocks in at just about 2 hours and 20 minutes long! An action spy movie has no right to be that long. There are many scenes that are just pointless and could’ve been cut to make a more leaner film.
Another very frustrating aspect about the film is a certain celebrity cameo that lasts way too long. I won’t spoil who it is, but the first time they appear on screen it is hilarious. However, the celebrity keep coming back throughout the film which is really annoying. By the fifth appearance of this “cameo” I was sick of them! Talk about a joke overstaying its welcome.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle isn’t perfect, but it’s entertaining nonetheless.
Despite all of Kingsman: The Golden Circle’s problems I walked out of the theatre entertained. The film had great action set-pieces, top notch visuals and witty humour, which made me overlook most of its shortcomings.
It’s definitely not as good as the first Kingsman but that may be because nobody expected the first Kingsman to be as good as it was. Nonetheless, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is an entertaining film, one that’s worth a watch at the cinema.