Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
Eggsy returns to save the world again, in this explosive second part of the Kingsman franchise. But is The Golden Circle a worthy sequel?
Genre: Action / Adventure / Comedy
Directors: Matthew Vaughn,
Cast: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Mark Strong, Pedro Pascal, Edward Holcroft, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Hanna Alström, Poppy Delevingne, Channing Tatum, Sophie Cookson, Bruce Greenwood, Emily Watson, Elton John
Run Time: 141 min.
US Release: 20 September 2017
UK Release: 21 September 2017
German Release: 22 September 2017 The first Kingsman film was a welcome refreshment to the spy genre. It paid homage to the old Bond series, included over-the-top action and spy tech, but never once lost an eye on what type of movie it was. If you are interested, click the following link and read my review: Kingsman: The Secret Service.
So, with all that in mind, I was naturally looking forward to seeing the sequel. Going into the theatre I was hoping for the exact same amount of over-the-top action, with a story that builds on the first film and a good villain to succeed Jackson’s Valentine. While I partially obtained some of it, Kingsman 2 managed to leave a disappointed feeling in my gut once the credits rolled. Not that the movie was bad, it still managed to entertain but this sequel tries to top the first one so desperately, that it simply fell short compared to it. Eggsy (Egerton) has successfully integrated himself within the Kingsman agency, working closely together with Roxy (Cookson) and Merlin (Strong). When their headquarters is destroyed and fellow agents killed by drug lord Poppy (Moore), the British spies fly to the States to ask their “cousin” agency Statesman for help. While mean, Poppy reveals her evil plan, putting the US President (Greenwood) under public scrutiny and Eggsy under the time pressure.
As I explained in the first few paragraphs, The Golden Circle suffers from a deficiency that a lot of sequels are known to have by trying to be bigger and better than their predecessor. The plot is completely bloated, adding to an already complex - and at times confusing - narrative too many side stories, and thus making it too convoluted for its own good. I also found the background story of the villain, as well as her actual plan to hold the world hostage by doing something to her drugs, underwhelming and silly; something that never once crossed my mind while watching the first Kingsman.
On the other side, it also managed to surprise me, by constructing the story where Kingsman: the Secret Service had ended. It felt natural seeing where the characters are now with their lives, and although I didn’t like the execution of drug trade story, I found the idea behind it intriguing, since there aren’t a lot of secret agent movies that tackle that issue. I also liked the idea of a secluded villain, giving it a touch of realism.
What is best about the Golden Circle, apart from the fantastic visuals, is the character development and the relationships. Just as with the plot, the characters start off from where we saw them last, with a fully developed arc and don’t relapse in the development they went through, as it usually happens in a lot of sequels. This gives the personas the opportunity to tackle new problems, personal as well as professional, and add these resolutions to their experience. I was also surprised to see a small side character from the first flick, return in a more important role in this one; playing the love interest for one of the other characters, thus making the relationship feel very organic and natural.
Eggsy, played by Egerton, is now a full-fledged spy and gentleman. He has grown a lot since his recruitment while never forgetting where he is from and keeping close contacts with his friends from the London slums. He also feels very protective of his co-workers, seeing them more as an adoptive family. Egerton did a great job again and is very charismatic. Mark Strong gave a fantastic emotional portrayal of Merlin and then there is Colin Firth, who is returning as Harry, in one of the craziest comebacks from the dead but was tremendous nevertheless. Harry’s relationship with Eggsy is once again a touching focus of the story.
Julianne Moore was great as Poppy, a powerful drug lord hiding out in the jungle. She makes good points regarding the trade of drugs (legal and illegal) and I was able to understand her point, yet her character was too weak and uninteresting to be the main villain. I was most disappointed, though, with Channing Tatum’s character who, contrary to what the trailer suggested, was in the movie for a maximum of five minutes.
The cinematography by George Richmond was aesthetically pleasing and beautiful to look at. The picture was glossy and including vibrant colours that enhanced the visual experience, while the action sequences were handled once again skillful. This is a visual masterpiece that has just one deficit, which are the effects. Don’t get me wrong they are handled well but Vaughn and Richmond try to surpass themselves by topping the action sequences for the first one, which was pieced together to look like one-shot takes. They included so many in this spy flick that the audience started to be aware of the CGI in those scenes, and then there are the mechanical dogs that simply don’t look real.
Verdict: Kingsman: the Secret Service was a great spy film that embraced its silliness and over-the-top story. It’s follower, sadly, wants to be more than that and stumbled at trying to do so. It is not a bad movie and has quite a few good parts, such as the natural development of the story that builds from the previous movie and the writers not stripping the main characters from their evolution but instead adding new experiences to those already made. It had, though, quite a few disappointing moments as well! The cinematography was breathtaking but too exaggerated and there were way too many side-plots that distracted from the main mission, as well as the villain, although played very well by Julianne Moore, was boring and uninteresting. So in the end, Kingsman: The Golden Circle was good but disappointing and not better than a 7.5 out of 10.
Thank you very much for reading my review of Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Leave a comment below if you want. My next review will follow tomorrow for The LEGO Ninjago Movie.