Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Screenwriter: Gary Dauberman
Cast: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Sophie Cookson, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Elton John, Channing Tatum, Pedro Pascal, Jeff Bridges
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Rated R | 141 Minutes
Release Date: September 22, 2017
When getting a sequel, you’d expect something on a larger scale, something more epic than its predecessor. And a lot of times, a sequel can deliver on just that. But then there are those times where it just falls short or just stays the course. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is pretty much the latter. The film, which prides itself in dressing in sharply tailored suits, adds nothing new to the franchise. It’s same shop, same tailor, same pocket square, same tie, just a different knot. But it tries to add new elements by introducing the Statesman – the American version of the Kingsman but with more Stars and Stripes aesthetics.
But with barely any stakes and an eccentric villain with a lack of originality, Kingsman: The Golden Circle doesn’t do much of anything but put on the same exact suit, but with a different color and a different tie knot. My full review below.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle has no problem starting off going from zero to 60. The film literally begins with an action sequence that reunites Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and a bitter Charlie (Edward Holcroft), a former Kingsman trainee and Eggsy’s rival, engaged in a taxi fight that takes them across London. While they don’t fully understand why Charlie may have attacked Eggsy, it appears that there is something more nefarious behind the strange attack.
And as their investigation leads them closer to finding the answer, Kingsman stations start being destroyed by Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), a ruthless and eccentric drug cartel, who runs the drug-dealing organization called The Golden Circle – fitting title seeing as all of its members are branded with a golden circle on their body. This attack forces Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong), the two sole surviving members, to head to America to find The Statesman, their American counterpart. They work together to try to stop Poppy, but not before they find out that not only is Harry Hart (Colin Firth) alive, but they need to help him get over his retrograde amnesia.
As the film begins to get deeper into the plot, it soon becomes clear that Poppy’s plan sounds vaguely familiar to Valentine’s plan. Rather than control the populous and threaten to kill them with technology, Poppy’s plan is to get drugs legalized by threatening to kill the populous that used her drugs. Not exactly the same, but eerily similar. Or maybe it’s just lazy. But she has the only antidote, and to get it, world leaders will have to give in to her demands. There’s nothing at stake because we’ve seen this happen before in the last film. So basically, it’s just the same suit, with a few new components to it.
But for those who haven’t seen the first, Kingsman: The Golden Circle may actually be quite enjoyable. For one thing, it still has that comic book charm to it. Poppy Adams is the quirky villain with an affinity for all things classic American. As an exiled drug lord who relocated to the deep jungles of Cambodia, her HQ is full of popular American symbols seen in films like American Graffiti and Grease. There are a lot of 60s aesthetics, like classic diners and the beauty salons, it’s practically an homage to a forgotten era. And to make sure she’s the alpha dog on the island, she either has her fellow Golden Circle members kill colleagues for failed missions or she sics her robotic dogs, Bennie and Jet, on them. And of course, she got the inspiration to name the dogs after an Elton John song by having the iconic singer as her own personal performing hostage.
It’s a fun idea that plays well into the film. Unfortunately, the idea of the Statesman doesn’t quite stick as intended. It’s fun to see what kind of idiosyncrasies the Statesmen has to distinguish themselves from the Kingsman. Baseball grenades, flask bombs, baseball bat minesweepers, electric lassos, etc., are all fun quirks that make the Statesman who they are. It’s just that we don’t get nearly enough screen time with the Statesman, so it makes it feel as though they are all glorified cameos. Channing Tatum as Tequila has that southern charm that is just hard to resist. Halle Berry as Ginger Ale is the brains of the operation, providing tech support. Pedro Pascal is Whiskey, a silver-tongued Statesman whose weapon of choice is a pair of revolvers and an electric lasso. Then there’s Jeff Bridges channeling his inner cowboy as Champagne “Champ,” the head of Statesman.
While the Statesman cast does fine with what they are given, they aren’t given much to have us begging for more. They are just the victims of being in an overstuffed sequel. The Golden Circle tries to do too much at once. Even for a film that runs over two hours, it still finds a way to run longer than it should. Dragging out the plot and taking too long to tie together, the sequel tries to replicate the same magic it had in the first film by doing even more absurd things. As a result, it stretches the movie far beyond what it should be. Cameos don’t stay as cameos, but are rather another unnecessary thread to a plot which should have been cut off after it served its purpose. Action sequences are inserted for the sake of showing how over-the-top the violence can be.
And for a film that runs as long as it does, it doesn’t go anywhere or do anything to elevate the characters. Through all the painstaking struggles they are put through, Eggsy is stagnant and he just goes through the motions. Even pivotal scenes that are suppose to be hard hitting don’t make much of an impact. That being said, The Golden Circle still, somehow, is an entertaining film. But just by the skin of its teeth.
There’s no doubt that Kingsman: The Golden Circle is an overstuffed film that takes too long to get to the finish line. It doesn’t do anything new or fresh, but rather plays it safe by just repeating its predecessor, and as a result Eggsy is just a character that is there. And the same goes for Harry, who is alive thanks to Statesman technology. But for all of its flaws, there is still some comedy that will make you laugh, action sequences that will make you gasp, and excitement around the corner. Only problem is, it can be a pain to wait for those things as the sequel is just cluttered with unnecessary things.