Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is back in action for the ultra-secret Kingsman in the new film “Kingsman: The Golden Cirlce”. The film opens with a fantastic action and chase sequence through the London streets and shows a franticly paced mix of action and humor.
The film then shifts into setup mode and the next hour or so is very light on action and instead focuses on Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong), dealing with a devastating attack on the Kingsman from a drug dealer called Poppy (Julianne Moore), who runs her empire with a ruthless and manic style from a 50s themed lair complete with robotic guards and a retro diner and theater.
Poppy runs an organization called The Golden Circle and she has unleashed a devastating plague on the world in an attempt to force the U.S. President to legalize all drugs which would allow her unlimited power and money to further her global agenda.
With their ranks depleted, Eggsy and Merlin head to the states to enlist the help if their U.S. counterparts, the Statesman who while at first reluctant, soon accept the two into their confidence and plan a mission to end the threat Poppy presents once and for all.
Of course complications arise for Eggsy such as his girlfriend and her parents as well as the revelation that Harry (Colin Firth) is alive but suffering amnesia and thus having no memory of his past life and skills in the service of the Kingsman.
One would think that with this setup and cast including the arrivals of Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, and Halle Berry, the film would be a slam dunk to surpass the original. Sadly this is not the case. Writer/Director Matthew Vaughn has opted for a film that has a very large gap of it related to setup and exposition. The film opens and concludes with a nice action sequence, but there is really not much in between to get the adrenaline rush going. The original film had the fantastic church sequence that became one of the most talked about moments of the film and sadly the sequel offers nothing nearly as memorable.
The other issue is that the villain is not nearly as memorable nor interesting as Samuel L. Jackson was to say nothing of his sword footed henchman from the original.
There are some amusing moments in the film but It seems that the new cast was not used to their full potential and that the large gaps of the film that lacked any action was a real setback especially with how well the film opened.
In the end the film is an enjoyable but flawed effort that fails to live up to the original but does manage to offer some decent entertainment for those who set realistic expectations.
3.5 stars out of 5.
by Joseph K. Saulnier
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the follow up to the surprise hit Kingsman: The Secret Service. Surprise is a very apt word as I don’t think many were expecting the film to be as cheesy as it was, but so good. TGC has a lot to live up to as a sequel to one of the best films of 2014. Does it live up to its predecessor? That answer is a complicated. First and foremost, I will get this out of the way: I thoroughly enjoyed the film. But that doesn’t mean that it is without flaws. First, let’s get the story out of the way.
When the Kingsman headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that tests their agents’ strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that’s becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy.
That’s how the studio describes it. The trailers all looked good. But I was hesitant going in, wondering how Julianne Moore as the film’s antagonist, Poppy, was going to top Samuel L. Jackson’s Valentine from the first film. Then it looking like Harry Hart (Colin Firth) was coming back despite [spoiler alert] being killed in the first film. And bringing Channing Tatum in… not so sure.
I must say, Julianne Moore was amazing. Perfect blend of psychopath/genius, in a really terrifying way. I don’t know that her performance was better than Jackson’s, but it is at least on par with it. And when thinking about Harry Hart coming back, you have to remember, even though most don’t seem to know, that these films are based on a series of comic books. So as farfetched as their explanation is, just keep that in mind. If you can’t, then remember that the first film ended in exploding head fireworks. Also, Harry is not the only unexpected return to the second film, but I won’t give away all the good parts.
There were a lot of jokes/gags reused from the first film. But, they were done in creative, different ways so that you didn’t mind. The film had a mostly good pace, great action sequences sandwiching the film (beginning and end), and, most importantly, entertaining. As much of a fan of his I am not, I did feel like they underutilized Channing Tatum in the film. He’s hyped in a lot of the advertising, but it seemed a little much considering his contribution to the film. But, it does look like he is set up for future entries into the franchise. And yes, it is setup for another film, and if it does even half as well as the first film, I believe we will see at least one more film.
Taron Egerton brought more depth to the Eggsy role, and Mark Strong was his brilliant self as he reprised the role of Merlin. With a few cameos, and an interesting, if not engaging, plot, the film will keep you watching from start to non-existent after credits film. There was thing that I thought was really well done, but to explain it I need to give the obligatory warning. I am going to try to be as vague as possible, but there will be spoilers in the next paragraph. So skip it if you care about that kind of thing.
There turns out to be a secondary antagonist in the film. One who is not so obvious in the beginning. But, I really liked the way the writers handled it. He wasn’t a double agent, he wasn’t working for the enemy. But he had a just, and noble, reason to want to interfere with the good guys. He had his own backstory that led to it, and it was just great to see that they didn’t play another double agent story on the screen.
Anyway. Spoilers done. If you enjoyed the first film, there is a good chance that you will enjoy this one. The cast is great, the action is great, even the soundtrack is pretty good. Go see it already.
4 out of 5 stars