KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
Dir: Matthew Vaughn | 141 Mins | 20th Century Fox
- Reviewed by Lalith Karunatilaka
Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the sequel to 2015’s charming Kingsman: The Secret Service, is an OK film. Not brilliant, not really all that bad, just OK. Much like the original, it’s beautifully bonkers with visceral action scenes and plenty of great jokes, but suffers from sequelitis, where everything is bigger, louder and explodier but ultimately adds up to not much.
Since losing Harry Hart (Colin Firth) and saving the world, Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton) has become a Kingsman taking Harry’s agent name – Galahad – and living in his old flat with girlfriend, the Swedish Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström). However, when the Kingsman HQ is destroyed by drug cartel the Golden Circle, Eggsy and the remaining agents have to flee to the US and join forces with the Statesman (their American counterparts). Together they travel the world to track down the Golden Circle’s elusive leader, the 1950s enthusiast Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore).
The thing with sequels is that they will always be judged against what came before and sadly for Kingsman: The Golden Circle it lacks the heart of the first. It follows the same formula but falls a bit flat for two reasons. Firstly, underdog Eggsy has everything now and has nowhere to grow, somewhat breaking our emotional link to the film. Secondly Harry (this is not a spoiler, he is on the poster) and Charlie are brought back to life after seemingly having their heads blown off in the first film. This drains all fight scenes, as amazing as they are, of any consequence, resulting in no standout scene to compare with the church massacre of the first film. The worst part of the film is easily the cringe-worthy, out-of-character scene involving a tracking device being planted on a woman. The less said about this the better.
There are many plus points, notably the humour. Elton John as Poppy’s performing monkey effortlessly manages to steal every scene he is in, and the introduction of the Statesman and their mythology is handled well. In fact, as a film, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is drenched in ideas, though at times it feels like too many. But that is preferable to none at all. Naturally for a cast packed with Oscar winners the acting is good across the board, with Jeff Bridges playing the Statesman’s leader, Champagne and Channing Tatum’s Agent Tequila, being the standouts. Only Julianne Moore seemed to be a little bored. Sadly Channing Tatum is underused as I think there was an interesting story to be told in which Eggsy and Merlin join Tequila on a mission.
I don’t mean to come across as too negative as the film is enjoyable, but it does seem to have lost much of the appeal of its predecessor, which means you never quite go along with the ridiculous plot contrivances or forgive the creepy jokes. However, there is enough in this film to make it a fun watch… if you don’t think too much about it.
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