Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Within the first five minutes of ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ the film’s juvenile tone and utter abandonment of logic are quickly laid out. Much like its predecessor this isn’t a film for those that like their cinema thoughtful or deeply impactful, it’s very much a feature that requires to you just go along for the ride. While there may not be anything inherently wrong with such a requirement, after all movies are considered at least on their most basic level entertainment, the combination of a running time well over two hours and a fundamental lack of both a substantial narrative or any sort of character depth leaves too many holes for mere action thrills to paper over.
What little plot is provided focuses around a criminal kingpin, in the awfully miscast form of Julianne Moore, attempting to blackmail the President of the US into making illegal drugs legal for reasons that aren’t really explained. It falls to the Kingsman, a secret spy agency, to stop her after she destroys their headquarters with the help of their American cousins, the Statesmen. While the adventure moves along briskly there’s a real lack of intrigue to the proceedings, each development feels predictable and though the film jumps all over the world (including a rather out of place trip to Glastonbury) the locals are all very bland.
Plenty of new famous faces are thrown into the mix but disappointingly most of them have little to do. It’s worth mentioning again just how painfully bad Julianne Moore is here, she dramatically overacts which in a film with such a silly tone is very hard to do. The Statesmen are also an underwhelming bunch, Channing Tatum pops up, does almost nothing and then is cryogenically frozen, Halle Berry is just sort of in the background and Jeff Bridge’s screen time can be counted on one hand. At least Pedro Pascal’s agent, codenamed Whiskey, is given some time to shine though the film’s final action scene seriously blunts his impact on the film.
It’s the returning characters that are the focus with Taron Egerton continuing to lead as Eggsy, a street-smart Kingsman agent tasked again with saving millions of people. Egerton is extremely likeable and it’s a shame he’s not been given better material to work with because rarely does he put a foot wrong. Colin Firth is thrown back into the mix, the fact he died in the first movie is ham fisted explained away, and his clear boredom with the franchise is obvious, he looked about as bored as I felt in the tedious middle portion. Mark Strong makes up the final piece of the returning trio, as the Kingsman tech support, but he’s such a dull secondary character that had he been quietly written out of this sequel I doubt many would have cared.
There are certainty enjoyable sequences within ‘The Golden Circle’, one scene where Whiskey takes on a pack of armed soldiers all by himself is especially so, however there’s far too much fluff in-between these fleeting moments. There is simply no reason for a film of this nature to clock in at such a lengthy run time, the film would have been far better if Eggsy had been given a decent character arc and a solid thirty minutes had been shaved off. This sequel takes the, usually misguided, approach of bigger is automatically better but instead of fixing the plentiful flaws of the first film this just makes them even bigger.
If you’ve been craving more ‘Kingsman’ but slightly worse in pretty much every category, then ‘The Golden Circle’ may suitably entertain you. However, if you’re looking for a sequel than improves upon what came before it, while taking the franchise to new heights then stick well clear. There are certainty moments when the film’s insane tone and gleefully violent action set pieces are married in a way that is undeniably thrilling but these moments are vastly outnumbered by scenes that will leave you wishing that the credits would hurry up and roll.
Score - 5.0