The news broke that Matthew Vaughn was coming back to write and direct the “Kingsman” sequel and that made movie fans everywhere happy. The first story had a fresh visual style to spy/action films with entertaining characters (both hero and villain) and it made enough money that another film only seemed logical. Did “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” live up to the magic of the first film or should we give this franchise its burn notice? Let’s dive and take a look in this review.
The important characters in this film were limited however there was no shortage of supporting characters. In fact, the majority of this film felt like an equal distribution of screen between most all of the actors. Also, the two main heroes, Eggsy and Merlin stay who they were in the first one without much, if any, development. We knew them in the last film and that’s who they are in this one. In general, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The James Bond franchise has been giving us the same character for over 50 years. Each new actor who has played Bond has given us just a little bit more each time but theres nothing dynamic with regard to character development for Bond. He’s Bond. He drinks Martini’s, kills bad guys and has sex with the hottest women on the planet. So, to not really explore who Eggsy and Merlin are isn’t terribly tragic. That being said, killing Merlin at the end of the film while he sang a John Denver song was a decision I didn’t agree with. I would’ve understood it had Eggsy survived and everyone else, including Harry, died and Eggsy had to go at it alone creating a brand new agency for Kingsman. That I would’ve understood. However, leaving Harry and Eggsy alive felt like they just rehashed the first storyline but changed main characters at the end. Harry dies and Merlin survives in the first one and then Merlin dies but Harry survives in the sequel. This felt lazy to me and I didn’t care much for it.
The villain, Poppy, in this film was a cartoon caricature. The idea behind her character was intriguing but not enough to keep my attention. It’s surprising how much I didn’t care for her character when I’m a fan of Julianne Moore’s acting. Her basic motivation was to create a drug empire and have it legalized by holding the world hostage until they comply. In order to achieve this, she has a chemical(s) in her drugs that quickly kill its users and only she has the cure. She felt like a villain from Saturday morning cartoons I grew up watching in the 80s in all honesty. It was over the top and unbelievable.
The violence was just as ridiculous as the original which was definitely a highlight for me personally. I enjoy the unbelievably wild fights and style of gun play this franchise uses. It’s definitely one of the things I look forward to the most when I watch these movies. I don’t need it to look believable I just want it to be fun and both films nailed that. However, I wasn’t a fan of the blatant “Sweeney Todd” rip off, twice, in the story. Two men walk into the restaurant to meet Poppy and she has one of the men thrown into a meat grinder to be made into raw ground meat. She then proceeds to use the man meat to make a burger, cook it and then serve it to the surviving guy who just watched everything unfold. Two men are ground up in this film and I just sat in the theater scratching my head because all I could think of was the “meat pies” from “Sweeney Todd.” This, again, showed me lazy story telling and I was not impressed.
“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is in theaters now! I’m not gonna recommend people see this movie in theaters. It’s not great but it’s entertaining. Plus, hearing Elton John swear like a sailor is a lot of fun. If you want to see this in theaters I’d recommend a matinee showing before noon so the price of admission is more affordable. If you can wait for Redbox or Netflix that is probably your best option. Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges aren’t really in the film at all but this is the second film Tatum is in this year that highlights John Denver tunes. So if “Take Me Home Country Road” is your jam, then you’ll enjoy some of the soundtrack.