Kingsman: The Golden Circle Film Review
Hollywood doesn’t seem to have the greatest track record when it comes to movie sequels. For some reason they are hard to perfect, or at the very least improve from the original. I’ve noticed one way of compensating that task is to bring a shit load of famous people in the supporting roles. Oh and let’s not forget distracting us from the things we liked in the original movie. Dumb and Dumber, Zoolander, Speed, Wall Street, The Hangover sequels and even the confusing Matrix sequels, they all have been sitting in the same basket. The bad bad movie sequels basket. So with the highly anticipated Kingsman: The Golden Circle, coming to theaters this week, the question remains… Does it belong in that same category?
Well I’m afraid so. One year after the events of Kingsman- The Secret service, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) settled down in his spy and domestic daily routine nicely. He’s now a skilled Kingsman secret agent and is enjoying a quiet domestic life with his girlfriend Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström). But when almost all Kingsmen agents are whipped out by Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) the deranged cartel boss, and leader of „The Secret circle“ organization, the world population will be in danger of annihilation once more. However, this time Kingsmen will get the much needed help from their American counter-part organization – Statesman. Based in Kentucky, Statesman is lead by Champagne aka „Champ“ (Jeff Bridges), but the mission will not go down smoothly as the whiskey they „manufacture“.
I can’t explain it why, but although The Golden Circle is just 10 minutes longer then its predecessor, Matthew Vaughn’s sequel feels like you’re watching a much longer movie. Maybe it’s because the main plot line has been stretched to the breaking point, and in between there is abundance on unnecessary sub-plots, action (and music) scenes and characters. There is of course the prolonged cameo appearance of Elton John, and besides the 3 returning characters, there are also plenty of new ones. The „fresh“ faces in the sequels are not necessarily the wanted and welcomed additions, but they certainly contribute to the weight of the runtime. Not to the quality.
Halle Berry’s Ginger Ale character is basically the female opposite of Kingsman’s Merlin (Mark Strong) and nothing more. Channing Tatym’s Whiskey character gets 10 minutes to shine before he’s frozen (literally) and forgotten until the rest of the movie. Jeff Bridges is barely present, and surprisingly the only newbie worth mentioning is Pedro Pascal’s Jack Daniels / Whiskey character. He’s given much more screen time, and is truly impressive in the action scenes as well.
And last but not least… For lack of a better word, the main villain here in The Golden Circle is well…. Disappointing. Stuck in her weird 50’s inspired theme park in Vietnam (no less), Poppy Adams a is mass murdering sociopath on Valium, but without the edge or craziness that had Samuel L. Jackson in the first movie. And without the Valium. With a fake smile and even faker calm demeanor, she should be intimidating and scary, but actually…she’s all style and no substance. To be honest very few things are scary in Poppy solely based on Moore’s portrayal. You can say that the fact that she makes burgers of her enemies and her two vicious robotic dogs are scary, but those are character written traits. Not something that is derived from the Academy Award winning actress like Moore. Her plan is somewhat entertaining, but the decision of her being stuck in one location is a little bit un-inspiring and way easy. Yes easy. What happened with Poppy? Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn got in a creative slump while they were developing the main villain? She’s just meh.. She doesn’t improve from that to be honest and even her downfall is lacking creative touch and originality.
On the other hand I must praise what they did with the main protagonist. Eggsy is now a more mature, well crafted character and with Harry Hart (Colin Firth) being out of commission for almost entire movie, Eggsy is now the de-facto leader in Kingsman. He’s up for the challenge and even the distraction from his personal life (charming the pants of his in-laws) won’t interfere with his mission (that much). Oh an Tarron Edgerton is equally charming again in his double breasted tailored suits as much as he’s in his portrayal here in The Golden Circle.
I can see that Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn wanted to make a personal stand here. A notice or even critique if you will on the war on drugs. Hey they even had an idiot/villainous US president as part of the sup-plot. They even wanted to be even more sympathetic with the victims in that war- the drug abusers from every spectrum of the daily life. Whether it’s the recreational drug user, or high functioning user with a high ranking and powerful jobs (e.g. Presidential Chief of Staff). I get it. I get their intention, but their message is kinda lost in this bloated, less funny, CGI heavy, but strongly directed sequel. Do better.