Kingsman: The Golden Circle

kingsman_the_golden_circle_ver22STARS3I believe 2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service was fine. I gave it a marginal recommendation but I wasn’t shouting my praise from the rooftops. I won’t rehash my thoughts but you can read them here. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the sequel to that hit. It stars Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, and Colin Firth. Yes you read the right, Firth is back. Mild spoiler if you haven’t seen the first film, but it shouldn’t have been possible for his character to appear in another film. This kind of underscores the screenwriters’ relationship with logic and reason: we don’t give a flying fig as to what makes sense. Director Matthew Vaughn is back as well and he’s co-writing the screenplay once again with Jane Goldman, the identical team that wrote the first. Given that this features the same cast and crew, it makes sense that The Golden Circle is equally enjoyable.

Matthew Vaughn’s aesthetic is to take the spy thriller, à la James Bond, and subvert it with sarcastic gloss drenched in nihilism. Let’s give credit where it’s due first. Both movies are based on the comic book series Kingsman, created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar. It’s a category already known for absurdity but Vaughn takes it a step further. He doesn’t present the genre seriously. He’s a cheeky adolescent-minded rascal that gets his kicks through shock value. One’s pleasure is going to rely on how much you share his point of view. Those who delight in parody will be captivated. Moviegoers searching for depth won’t find it here. Expect well-choreographed fight sequences, extreme violence, vulgar discourse, and far-fetched gadgets. It’s a silly overblown hyper-violent fun fest that entertains as it plays. Yet it quickly evaporates from the mind a week later.

I’m already halfway through my review and I haven’t even mentioned what the story is about. The capricious details of the plot are merely an excuse to present random acts of mayhem but I’ll elaborate. It’s a year later and our superspy hero Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton) must do battle with Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), a billionaire drug lord looking to decriminalize her enterprise by bullying the United States into legalizing drugs. She’s an over-the-top personality who commands a couple of robotic dogs while championing a love for campy 50s style. She obtains the names and addresses of everyone in the UK Kingsman organization. You may remember that the undercover headquarters of the team of spies was housed as a society of Savile Row tailors. The film opens with a major attack from rejected Kingsman recruit, Charlie Hesketh (Edward Holcroft). Virtually everyone is eliminated leaving only Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) left. Oh and his mentor Harry Hart (Colin Firth) who has apparently survived. Nothing is what it seems. The dead can be brought back to life. This is essentially a cartoon after all. In their quest to save the world, they discover U.S. allies and meet agent Whiskey (Pedro Pascal). Together they join forces and attempt to stop the villainous Poppy Adams and her evil plans.

If you subscribe to the mantra that bigger is better, then The Golden Circle may just be what you crave. As far as action is concerned, director Matthew Vaughn is always operating at 100%. There are fight scenes galore and they feature enough brutality to highlight 3 or 4 spy films. There’s a cast of new stars in this too. Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, Elton John, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges all show up. Each has a varying degree of involvement. Julianne Moore is in it so much that this could have been called “The Poppy Show.” She might even have more screen time than Taron Edgerton. Conversely, Channing Tatum is in it so briefly that if you use the restroom during his scene, you might miss his appearance. There’s a lot going on here. The mere sight of Elton John is enough to elicit at least a few chuckles. At 2 hours 21 minutes, it is overstuffed. It starts to wear out its welcome before it’s over. However, there’s still a great deal to enjoy. It doesn’t break any new ground, but if you’re looking for a louder, more expensive spectacle, then you’ll be comfortably entertained.

9-21-17

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11 Responses to “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”

  1. I thought it was awful. Ludicrous plot, pointless characters, and weak performances – even from the usually wonderful Moore – all round. A film for barely pubescent schoolboys with a taste in bum jokes and a fetish for bespoke tailoring.

    • It’s lighthearted. Doesn’t take itself very seriously. The first was the same so I kind of knew what to expect.

      • I enjoyed the first one, though I thought the reference to anal sex at the end was unnecessary and misjudged. I didn’t expect Matthew Vaughn to expand all the smutty and gross stuff (the giant mincer scenes!), and forget about the fizz and fun.

  2. Nice review. It’s a good time. A little too long though.

  3. Much too long, but fun. Julianne Moore was quite the cartoon character in this movie. I liked her. Elton John was ridiculous but funny. Too many cast members, Taran was fun too. 3 stars

  4. Our sentiments are the same as you alluded to before on my blog. Slightly puzzled by the RT score because minus some bloatedness and pure shock value scenes, “shockier than before” (you’re correct, this could use tighter editing) this is basically the same movie, for better or for worse.

    Being the same movie isn’t worthy of massive praise but it’s not always damning, either. It’s enjoyable enough in my opinion as well.

    • The negative reviews mostly read like a bitter disappointment that this didn’t attempt something innovative or new. The thing is, I didn’t think the original really presented that either. The Golden Circle was consistent with the first, so it deserved an equal rating.

  5. “We don’t give a flying fig as to what makes sense” – Haha.Great expression. I haven’t seen either Kingsman movie, but I get the sense that I’d enjoy them based on your description of this one with its well-choreographed fight sequences, extreme violence, vulgar discourse, and far-fetched gadgets. However I can’t imagine being entertained by a whole 2 hours 21 minutes of that. Sounds like way too much.

    • Box office wise, Fall has been a tough season. The movie ‘It’ was a spectacular success but nothing else broke out. Kingsman 2 opened bigger than the original but it just didn’t have the same legs.

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