Kingsman The Golden Circle review: Matthew Vaughn aims this A-list heavy action/comedy/adventure at the screen, a sequel to 2015’s runaway success Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Kingsman The Golden Circle review by Paul Heath.
There’s an indication as to whether a film will be any good or not, in my own books anyway, that if it features any kind of song written or performed by Elton John, it will be a runaway success; a sure-fire hit, and most of all, an enjoyable journey. With Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the sequel to 2015’s runaway success Kingsman: The Secret Service, Matthew Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman have gone a step further and put the rock-god into the film – his first acting role since 1997’s Spiceworld.
My quality indicator has finally been proven to be wrong.
This is not to say that Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a bad movie either – it’s just nothing outstanding, which, when you look at the acting talent on display, you wonder why it hasn’t really worked?
The action, quite literally, picks up a couple of years after the events of the first movie, Taron Egerton’s Eggsy very much embedded into the secret organisation known as the ‘Kingsman’. We meet him leaving his Savile Row headquarters in the heart of London’s fashionable Mayfair where he pursued by Edward Holcroft’s rogue, one-armed former member Charlie, who seemingly bears more than a grudge against our dashing lead character. A flashy pursuit (set to Prince’s timeless Let’s Go Crazy) in a taxi through the streets of central London follows, Eggsy eventually escaping to attend a dinner with love-of-his-life Princess Tilde (a returning Hanna Alström) and her parents in her homeland of Sweden. The dinner is eventful, but things go even further south for Eggsy shortly afterward when he finds that Kingsman HQ and some of his former colleagues have been destroyed by a mystery opponent.
Enter Julianne Moore’s villainous Poppy, a middle-aged housewife with a penchant for 50s culture who hides away on her own private island as she attempts to take on the world with spiked drugs – heroin, crack, cocaine – you name it – which immediately infect users with a deadly fatal disease.
Teaming with Merlin (Mark Strong), who has also eluded Poppy’s vicious attack, Eggsy must unite with the Kingsman’s American counterparts, the Statesman, a team of like-minded super-spies headed up by Jeff Bridges’ Champ. They must work together to find Poppy, take down her band of vicious henchman, save Elton John (yes), and find the antidote to cure the world’s growing population who are infected with the deadly virus.
Read More: Kingsman: The Secret Service review
Like the first movie, there’s a lot of fun to be had with Kingsman: The Golden Circle. The film continues the themes of the original and doesn’t shy away from the intense action, over-the-top violence, and coarse language – even though the first film came under fire for its use of gratuitous and sometimes hugely misogynistic dialogue. Those are the film’s positives, as are the additions to the cast this time around.
Bridges. Channing Tatum, Halle Berry and Pedro Pascal are all welcome, though no one, save the latter, are given that much screen time to develop, the filmmakers perhaps laying the groundwork for future installments to exploit each one further. The film feels like a bridge between the first film and a potential future filled with spin-offs and further adventures with some of the under-used cast members – namely Channing Tatum’s massively under-exploited Tequila, a character who we wanted to see more of.
Julianne Moore is delicious as the central villain, the dark-humored character of Poppy so superbly written that she wouldn’t seem out of place in a Tim Burton film or even a John Waters picture. Despite what I said about Sir Elton’s presence, he’s one of the best things about the film, he very much being central to the plot and showing up at various points throughout often delivering some of the film’s biggest laughs.
There’s also a great extended cameo from Bruce Greenwood’s very relevant president, and another from Emily Watson’s Chief of Staff Fox. Can we see more of her in the next one please?
The returning characters are also solid, though some cruelly limited to cameos early-on, though Colin Firth’s return as Harry Hart is dealt with well, and essential to this sequel working.
The main issue with Kingsman: The Golden Circle is its sheer repetitiveness, Matthew Vaughn’s well-executed action scenes – we’re talking the one-shot, sweeping camera sequences so expertly delivered in the church scene towards the end of the first movie – being employed in most of the set-pieces here. It feels a bit much, and it is, something not helped but its massively stretched running time of 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is far from being bad, but it lacks a certain something to make it memorable. There’s far too much packed into an already over-long running time with lots of underused characters played by actors who deserved more. It manages
It manages to stay just about on the right side of parody, and fans of the first film should get something out of this new adventure, even if it will be almost immediately erased from your memory after you get up off your sure-to-be-aching backside as the credits finally start to roll.
Kingsman The Golden Circle review by Paul Heath, September 2017.
Kingsman The Golden Circle is in UK cinemas from Wednesday 20th September 2017.