Kingsmen: The Golden Circle review
Director Matthew Vaughn could have stayed on the X-Men franchise to continue the building of his vision of the Marvel favorite, but instead left to take on Kingsmen: The Secret Service. This was something of a gamble, as the comic series was not that well known and the previews seems to show the movie as another spy knock off. This only lowered expectations as it became a surprise hit, thanks to it’s throwback-style of 1960’s spy movies and it’s over-the-top nature gave the genre a fresh breath of air. Given how dark and grisly spy movies had become with The Bourne series and 007 going in that direction, it was nice to see Kingsmen: The Secret Service as something more light hearted.
As soon as I left the theater, I felt that the series would continue with more crazy stories to tell about the finely dressed spies and how they go after villains. Kingsmen went from something few were interested in into something people were excited to see. I became even more ecstatic when I found out that the story was going show what the “American Kingsmen” were going to be like. So lets see if Kingsmen: The Golden Circle is just as entertaining as the first.
In the time that has passed, Eggsy (played by Taron Egerton) has embraced his part of the Kingsmen, taking the title of “Galahad” in honor of his late mentor. He’s also in a relationship with the princess of Sweden Tilde (played by Hanna Aiström). The film opens with Eggsy fighting a former Kingsmen candidate Charlie, now turned villain. Though Eggsy manages to escape, Charlie’s bionic arm hacks into the Kingsmen computers, revealing all the data to an unknown source. While Eggsy is having dinner with the royal Swedish family, a collection of missiles destroys the Kingsmen headquarters, the remaining agents, and even Eggsy’s home.
With only tech guru Merlin (played by Mark Strong) the only survivor, he and Eggsy follow protocol and are lead to a whisky facility in Tennessee, which is home to Statesmen, an American spy organization. Upon meeting their leader Champagne (played by Jeff Bridges), he’s saddled along with agent Whiskey (played by Pedro Pascal) to investigate a worldwide drug poisoning that may be connected with the attacks on Kingsmen. This drug organization, run by Poppy Adams (played by Julianne Moore), is the Golden Circle and is responsible for a large amount of drugs that are dealt with. As Eggsy is investigating, he also comes to discover that his mentor Harry Hart (played by Colin Firth) is not dead.
It seems that Matthew Vaughn did his best to keep the same tone from the previous movie, only to step it up. The Kingsmen: The Golden Circle is definitely over-the-top, violent, and comical. Does that it make it better then the first one? No, as some of it can get a little too ridiculous (there’s a cannibal sequence that made half of my theater laugh and the other half squeamish in horror) and though the last movie was a respectable two hours, this was simply overlong.
I can say that as an action movie, this did satisfy me as there were some fantastically staged moments, especially the finale that takes place at the villains layer (which is modeled out of a 1950’s Americana town). Other sequences including car chases in London and a mountain scene in Italy shows that Matthew Vaughn still has some unique ideas. What he needed was a more polished script as if in order to extend the story, there are moments that only seem tacked on in to make the plot ten minutes longer.
Though guys like Colin Firth and Jeff Bridges had their fun moments, the winners here are Taren Egerton, Julianne Moore, and another celebrity guest that I won’t spoil here. Julianne Moore is clearly having a lot of fun being the stereotypical spy villain, with a more motherly nature that does give her an unnerving edge, even if it’s not as memorable as Samuel L. Jackson’s performance from the first movie. Seeing Taren Egerton having gone from street punk to gentlemen-like has been a fascinating trip, only exemplifying what a good actor their young man is.
I’ll give this four laser lassos out of five. Though some might see it as overkill, I found Kingsmen: The Golden Circle to be just as entertaining as the original. It might have matched it had the movies’ runtime been cut by fifteen minutes. Just understand that if you feel like that the sequel is over-the-top, go and watch the first movie to remind yourself that it’s always been that way.