Movie Review: 20th Century Fox's #Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Release: September 22, 2017
Runtime is 140 mins
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Written By: Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn, based on the comic book "The Secret Service" by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons
Produced By: Matthew Vaughn, David Reid, Adam Bohling
Cast: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, with Sir Elton John, and Channing Tatum, and Jeff Bridges
"Kingsman: The Secret Service" introduced the world to Kingsman - an independent, international intelligence agency operating at the highest level of discretion, whose ultimate goal is to keep the world safe. In "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," our heroes face a new challenge. When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that tests their agents' strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that's becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy...

Go see the new Kingsman movie.  There. I said it.  Kingsman : The Golden Circle deserves to be seen.  If you, as I, absolutely loved Kingsman : The Secret Service, you will enjoy this.

The Golden Circle has all of the elements that made the original Kingsman movie great.  The cast is back. Eggsy (played by Taron Egerton) is back with his story of coming of age, self-discovery and heart.  Harry (played by Colin Firth) is back with his brainy and death-defying skills. Merlin (played by Mark Strong) and all of his wonderful weapons are back, too. The gadgets, in all of their glory, are back.  Once again, there is a need to save the world from an eccentric villain.  The special effects are larger than life again, and the combat scenes are still exhilarating.

So, the questions remain, is The Golden Circle better than the original? Will you like the new installment as much as you liked the first chapter?  It kills me to say, but answers are “no” and “probably not,” respectively. The original Kingsman movie was fresh, edgy, and original, with just the right amount of juvenile adult humor mixed-in.  It was a delicate recipe. The Golden Circle has all the same ingredients in all the wrong proportions.

The Golden Circle goes wrong with the villain.  Remember Valentine (played by Samuel L. Jackson) in the first movie? He was a great parody of every Bond villain.  He dressed in loud leisurewear, he spoke with an extreme lisp, he loved McDonald’s food, and he detested the sight of blood.  It worked wonderfully.  The Golden Circle’s villain, Poppy (played by Julianne Moore), is boring by comparison.  She is boring and dull even not by comparison.  If I had never met Valentine, I would still dislike Poppy. Poppy is utterly forgettable, unfunny, flat, and boring. Instead of being a parody of a Bond villain, Poppy comes off as whiny and petulant. Her lair is unremarkable. Her gadgets are more twisted than interesting. Her henchmen are inconsequential. Bad, villain, bad! 

I also didn't like the introduction to the Statesman, the American "cousins" of Kingsman. For a film that runs well over two hours, there is very little development of the Statesman. I was disappointed that Tequila (played by Channing Tatum) was reduced to a bit part. Tequila was in all of the trailers. It seemed deceptive. Whiskey (played by Pedro Pascal) is the most interesting of the Statesmen, but we didn't get to explore his character and he felt very cliché. I also wanted to see Champ (played by Jeff Bridges) utilized more and utilized better. It's Jeff Bridges! Seems like a waste to make his character one-dimensional. The first installment was very much an ensemble affair. The new chapter isn't as inclusive.. The film is still very Eggsy and Harry centered, which isn't a bad thing, but it seemed like Matthew Vaughn (the producer and director) forgot the rest of the cast.  I did enjoy Gingerale (played by Halle Berry), but not enough to make up for the other issues with the Statesman. 

I also had a problem with how political the plot was written. I understand that the gist is international espionage, but I'm sick of the politics, everywhere. What has happened to the escapist nature of movies if even the Kingsman have to be so policial?  In the first installment, all of the world leaders and celebrities were being kidnapped, so there were some politics, funny politics. There was nothing funny about the politics in The Golden Circle. This installment had many cringe-worthy scenes and dialogue. I resented even the political statements that I agreed with because I hated that they were being forced into the plot. 

So why go, you ask? You have to see it for the "secret" cameo. A lot of outlets have divulged the celebrity in the secret cameo, but I'm not going to mention it, as not to spoil it for those that don't know. It's enough to say that the performance is hilarious and dynamic and it's everything that you loved about the first Kingsman movie. You also want to go see The Golden Circle to see the characters who you know and love. Merlin (played by Mark Strong) has a really great scene. You have to see how Harry survived being shot in the head. Finally, you have to see what is next for Eggsy. 

I'm glad that I saw The Golden Circle.. I'm hopeful that there will be a third chapter and that the spies can get back on track. There are still more stories to tell about the Kingsman. The first installment set a very high bar. The Golden Circle lowers it some, but it was still a fun and ridiculous adventure. See Kingsman : The Golden Circle playing everywhere now. 

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