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…
What made the first Kingsman film such a success was the off the wall, haywire, high flying action blended in with crass, douchebaggy behaviour. In The Golden Circle they fail to capture the essence of the first as the film has long stretches where no set pieces can be found. Kingsman established a rapid fire fun for its duration while the sequel fails to keep the viewers attention.
Stylistically speaking the film looks great and when there is action its a thrill ride. It’s the moments in between that damage the movie. Even with all the violence and raunch, the first had a ton of heart and here the film lacks any real stakes or emotion. There’s a lot of noise in this film and glossy action but there’s not much substance to it. The save the world scenario is much more ridiculous than the first and it never manages to go anywhere with random subplots bogging the film down.
Taron Egerton is great again though his character Eggsy doesn’t have the same chip on your shoulder attitude as the first. Here Eggsy lacks the angst that made him such a likeable underdog in the first film. Both Mark Strong and Colin Firth are solid as they offer much of the same as the film prior.
The whole Statesman idea is cool on paper but never manages to escalate into anything exciting. With the introduction of their American counterparts we lose focus of the people we are paying to see, the Kingsman. Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges both have limited roles though the marketing had promised otherwise, though Halle Berry is a nice addition to the story. The standout for the Statesman is without a doubt Agent Whiskey who is played by Pedro Pascal. His character just oozes cool and offers up some of the best moments in the film.
Julianne Moore plays Poppy Adams, a drug lord who plans on killing millions with a toxin that she laced in all recreational drugs available unless the US government follows her demands. Unfortunately Moore spends the entire film behind a counter and is never able to use her talent. With a cast full of A list talent many of them are pushed to the side without contributing much to the film.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle plays it too safe, electing to do everything that was done in the first and squanders any chance of being a satisfying follow up to The Secret Service. Even with its flaws there is still fun to be had when watching this, though you’re going to have to wait for it as the films runtime is 141 minutes.