Like a James Bond tribute act, but with an edge.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is set a year since the events of the first film. ‘Eggsy’ is now settled as a Kingsman by day, soppy boyfriend by night to his beloved Princess Tilde. The peace doesn’t last long when the Kingsman headquarters are obliterated by a spread of missiles that wipe out everyone in the service; leaving behind Merlin and Eggsy as the sole surviving agents.
On their journey for justice, they are led to the American equivalent of themselves called the Statesmen. It is here that they ally alongside some new friends and unearth a badly kept secret of an old one. Together, they discover the villainous driving force stems from a deluded woman who run’s the biggest drug cartel in the world; she goes by the name of Poppy. With faces old and new; their limits are tested in an action packed mission to not only save the world but also the organisations to which they have devoted their service.
It probably took less time for this sequel to be put together than for me to get this review up. Mainly due to busyness, but I also didn’t have an overwhelming urge or excitement to analyse the film which means this is going to be short and sweet.
After such a popular response from Kingsman: The Secret Service; Matthew Vaughan has taken the helm once again to give the fans what they want and he does deliver that. No longer than one minute as the films starts, we are launched into an intense fight scene between Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and spurned Kingsman reject Charlie (Edward Holcroft). It becomes apparent that he is a working cog in the enemies machine (literally) The scenes were very Guy Ritchie-esque; filled with slow-mo close-ups, stop/start motion and I swear I saw a hint of Grayscale in there sometimes! These sequences are so over the top, but this is completely what we expect from Vaughn and why we go to see Kingsman.
Shortly thereafter, we meet the American counterparts in Kentucky in the form of Tequila (Channing Tatum) Ginger (Halle Berry), Champ (Jeff Bridges) and Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) From the first film, we know that the writers aren’t afraid to parody British stereotypes and they accentuate this further with a British / American divide. We’re suited and booted, they’re cowboys who spit tobacco. We have a briefcase gun, they have an electrifying lasso.
To begin with it worked brilliantly; the script made all the characters bounce off of each other and it was kind of funny. However as the plot progresses; Champ only appears a couple times and having a name such as Bridges seems like a compete waste of time; Tequila is useful for one scene and then becomes lost; Ginger is more integral particularly towards the ending but I feel like Halle Berry was mis-cast, maybe it was just me but I didn’t connect with her character at all.
Pedro Pascal, on the other hand, was bloody fantastic and he nailed ‘Whiskey’ in every scene he was in. Whilst on the topic of performances, please take a bow for the ever wonderful Mr Mark Strong who plays Merlin and Julianne Moore who’s the ranking villain of Poppy. We spend more time with Merlin this film and we love doing so because Strong portrays him so perfectly. As a preppy woman stuck in the 50’s, Poppy isn’t your archetypal villain and it is so refreshing to watch.
The ‘not so secret’ secret was of course that Harry (Colin Firth) was indeed alive. After a basic explanation of how he’s gotten to this position, he becomes involved again with the Kingsman. I must admit I wasn’t blown away by his return, it felt rushed and like there was a spark missing. There was one scene between Harry ad Eggsy which had the magic of the first film; but that is one short scene out of what feels like a thousand. The reason it feels like a thousand scenes is because the arc of time is just incredible. There’s no real sense of it and we flick through so many countries, that if we were counting air miles we could probably get a free return trip.
This isn’t my greatest review, I find it hard to go deeper about these films because it’s not their purpose. It slick, cheeky, cartoonish and if you liked the first Kingsman film, you will like this one. It’s isn’t as funny and the plot has a lot of holes but it is simply a good action film that you will have fun watching. At a running time of 2h 20min, it is waaaay too long for what it is. Although the action is good, you could cut a lot of it and the benefit of having a sharper film is much more important.
There were also a hell ton of famous names casted. (including Elton John who was funny the first time he appeared, then got quite irritating). It was entertaining to see for their cameos but just ended up further inflating the plot . Ok to conclude; if you just fancy a trip to the cinema for a stylish film that’s kind of funny, quite cool and above average than most, then Kingsman: The Golden Circle is your one.