In February of 2014, Matthew Vaughn floored audiences with amazing graphics, compelling storylines and over the top action for all to enjoy. It was then that we were caught off guard by Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014). A symphony of glorious praise is the best way to describe that experience. All off the independent parts worked together towards one climatic, and gratifying finale. It was also at that point that a lessor known actor, well at least here in North America, would light up the screen with his intoxicating swagger as he slid into the spotlight. Taron Egerton instantly raised eyebrows around the globe. Finally, the follow-up of fun is upon us, but will Kingsman: The Golden Circle see similar success in the franchise’s sophomore showing? It’s time to suit up and board the hype train.
When we last saw Eggsy (Taron Egerton) he had just saved the world while solidifying his appointment as a prestigious Kingsman. Being an elite spy is hard work but Eggsy makes it looks simple. Things get complicated quickly when Eggsy’s spy mates are assassinated by an unknown threat with no warning whatsoever. Due to dumb luck, Eggsy survives along with Merlin (Mark Strong), a trusted friend who has helped Eggsy along throughout this entire process. With everything having gone tits up, the pair must reorient themselves and form a plan of action to gather answers as to what happens. It leads them to the United States where they find some American “cousins in arms” along with a few more surprises. Kingsman: The Golden Circle follows a similar path in the hopes of thwarting a new ruthless enemy.
From an action standpoint, Kingsman: The Golden Circle throws a bunch of things at you with the hopes that it will gleefully entertain you. 20th Century Fox may have overplayed their hand a bit here. They bet big on the action being able to duplicate what was seen from the first offering. Sadly action only takes you so far. The element of surprise is now gone. The cat’s totally out of the bag so expectations are raised. The adrenaline fueled action scenes begin to flutter leaving audiences hoping for something bigger and better. At least this will have a good solid story to fall back on when things get rough or repetitive. Wrong.
The plot is only so-so in that there aren’t enough interesting side stories that you feel like diving into. There were so many subplots to get lost in with the 2014 film that there was a little something for everyone. While the overall story can be considered interesting, it’s far from compelling. That being said, there are a few parts that should give viewers reasons to latch onto the story, albeit not with both hands. Vaughn kind of blew his wad the first time around and maintaining similar crowd interaction would be a very tall task.
One of the strongest points of the first movie is probably one the most glaring flubs in this one, the villain. Samuel L. Jackson was the ideal antagonist. You couldn’t wait until we cut back to his story. His performance was an absolute delight to experience. Julianne Moore portrays the unhinged, yet almost sweet as pie Poppy. I just didn’t really care for her character. She was over the top and bland at the same time. Ugh. Halle Berry, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges are all part of the Statesman, the US counterpart to Kingsman. You’d assume with this trio you’d get some quality scenes. Not so much but it isn’t because of poor acting or anything drastic like that. You don’t get enough of them. Their talents and their high profile names go to waste. It’s real disappointment because you want more. It’s almost as if there’s a grand plan to make a Statesman standalone movie in the near future and this was their introduction to fans. The problem is that they aren’t used to a quarter of their potential.
All of the aforementioned ragging isn’t a nail in the cinematic coffin for Kingsman: The Golden Circle. It has it’s fun times on screen. There are some good things about it. The thing is that I want more. I deserve more. If you’re going to make a movie that runs 141 minutes in length, you need to fill that time with something that not have you doing a watch check every 15 minutes after about the first half of the movie. I’m not saying to avoid this one, want I am saying is that you should temper your expectations slightly. Had I read something like this prior to seeing this sequel, it probably would have been more enjoyable. Simply put, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a victim of it’s own success.