No film this year has delivered so much for the audience than Kingsman: The Golden Circle. There’s goons with mechanical arms, electric laser lassos, a two-stepping Channing Tatum, robot dogs and even an Elton John fight sequence. It’s absurdly ridiculous and awesome as it sounds.
Yep, The Golden Circle works hard to cover all the boxes in your action movie checklist. This is a highly entertaining film and what the sleepy box office needed before the big November and December blockbusters.
Director/co-writer Matthew Vaughn and co-screenwriter Jane Goldman take the standard sequel route and expand the Kingsman universe with new characters, gadgets and enemies. But not before blowing up the old guard. Literally.
Eggsy (Taren Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) are all that’s left of The Kingsman after a savage attack destroys the organization. The culprit? The disingenuously charming Poppy (Julianne Moore, Still Alice) who unleashes a killer virus through her massive drug trade. If Eggsy can’t track down the antidote, millions will suffer an excruciatingly painful death.
Fortunately, they’ve got some allies in The Statesman, the Kingsman’s U.S. counterparts. The group is headed up by the charismatic Champagne (Jeff Bridges) and includes Whiskey (Pedro Pascal, Game of Thrones) and Ginger (Halle Berry).
The trailers prominently feature Channing Tatum’s shotgun toting Tequila, but that’s a setup. He’s basically in the film for 15 minutes and most of his scenes are in the trailer. That’s probably the biggest disappointment as Tatum is way too much fun to have such a limited role.
As sequels go, this is a more confident effort. The first film, Kingsman: The Secret Service, felt too much like a raunchier James Bond parody. The Golden Circle operates in the already established Kingsman universe and doesn’t feel like it’s trying so hard to be unique.
I liked the first one to a point, but it got too silly near the end and couldn’t recover after killing Colin Firth’s Harry Hart. Yeah, resurrecting Harry is kind of cheap, but this just corrects a mistake and Firth makes for such a smooth action hero that it’s hard to complain.
The cast dynamic is more enjoyable this round as well. Egerton has matured well into the leading role status. Eggy’s subplot with his girlfriend, Tilde (Hanna Alstrom), is an entertaining subplot as opposed to a boring distraction.
Moore is terrific with Poppy’s exaggerated politeness and Pascal gives an appropriately mysterious performance. Firth is always the smoothest, most debonair dude on screen in every scene. Firth might have ‘aged-out’ out of being in the running for James Bond, but he still makes for a credible superspy. Bruce Greenwood has a very funny cameo as the heartless U.S. president that seems more than a little based on current White House occupants.
Hopefully after watching the action sequences in Golden Circle, someone at Warner Bros. has a blank check with Vaughn’s name on it. The line to direct Man of Steel 2 should start and end with him. There’s no director out there capable of creating such gleeful and inspired mayhem. The action scenes are what sets Kingsman apart from any other comic book based film.
I started to feel the two hours and 21-minute run time near the end, but more from a general awareness of the length and not because it got boring. Bored is probably the last feeling anyone would use to describe The Golden Circle.
This is a fun film and the kind of all-out blockbuster that’s been missing in theaters for months. Don’t wait to catch this on smaller screens as this is one worth experiencing properly on the big screen.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox