I never felt that the first Kingsman film deserved the praise it received so the idea of a sequel coming this soon had little to no appeal to me. Even less appealing was the idea that Matthew Vaughn was returning to direct based on how he has previously blended action and comedy from another Mark Millar comic (Kick-Ass, which I also find rather off-putting to a degree), so my expectations were never high. And even with my expectations placed at a low, I thought to myself about how much I’d rather sit through the first Kingsman again because it seemed like a more focused piece of work right next to this sequel. Not that it makes the first film any better than it is, but all the better aspects of it shine out when looking at how much of it is done far worse in this sequel.
Taron Egerton returns as Eggsy, now an official Kingsman agent, brought back once more, after an attack on Kingsman headquarters leads him and Merlin the only remaining Kingsman agents. They join forces together with their American counterparts, the Statesmen, to save the world from another global threat – a drug dealer otherwise known as Poppy Adams. In an unexpected twist, it is revealed that Harry Hart, the original agent Galahad, is still alive and well and was kept safely by the Statesman agents, who has been rendered amnesiac after his wound in the first film. If anything had been set from Colin Firth’s reappearance as Eggsy’s mentor, only a worrying note would be there because it only goes to show the far-fetched nature of this sequel among many reasons it doesn’t work at all.
Much like the first film, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is more or less the same film but also much longer and with an abundant need to pander to their American fans whether it be within the President character or the constant callbacks to the music of John Denver. Everything that didn’t work about the first Kingsman shines here, whether it be the shallow jabs at spy movie tropes that never do anything new with them, or the otherwise boring action sequences that are clearly overdone by the use of shoddy CGI, and otherwise casual misogyny (because that’s what the James Bond movies are like, I guess) for ultimately it made said film just as disposable as the spy movies it was supposedly making fun of. When you mix that together with the pandering to American fans as stated prior, clearly the idea of having everything like this would have more appeal, right?
The most that Kingsman: The Golden Circle ever seems to be is just a bloated version of the first film, because it only aspires to bring the crudeness over to the American side of the Kingsmanuniverse and given as their counterparts have only built the same film, it only makes the venture all the more tedious. It’s often hard enough to follow where the plot is going to the point I could only care less, but given as Kingsman’s counterparts are shown to be much cruder than they are, there was only so much crude humour I can put up with as a means of showing off how they see American culture. It was rarely ever funny, and it only reeks of the smugness that built up the first film – something that I’ve already tired myself of seeing from Matthew Vaughn and his adaptations of Mark Millar comics.
I think the most unforgivable aspect of this, however, is the waste of Julianne Moore. The fact we already have a Big Lebowski reunion here with the casting of her and Jeff Bridges, signalled as I would only suspect, far more pandering on Vaughn’s end together with the random appearance of Elton John in the film’s plot for reasons I still don’t know. Yet Moore’s role is one that feels so distinctively undermined, because her own charisma was only put to limited use as the film’s leading villain and she leaves no mark. The underuse of Channing Tatum is bad enough, but Vaughn just seems more focused on building up Moore’s character to be as evil as possible in the most crude ways whether it be a recurring meat grinder joke (because that’s not horrifying at all to watch or think about) or her need to have Elton John at the center of practically all her plans.
The first Kingsman had a certain edge that never appealed to me especially but even I felt it was missing from this sequel. Because the first film merely was being flamboyant with how much it is taking from disposable spy fare to try and make fun of what they go for. It never worked, but I’d much rather have that over a confused drug commentary which this one was going for because it was far too obvious that this film was going for a serious reach that was too much for its own good. And other than that, there are many things I’d rather do than watch a repeat of the first film being bloated out with the worst qualities of said film only having more chances to shine. It doesn’t try to make any of it look charming, it just dabbles in them to the point that I can only ask myself why even bother.
Watch the trailer right here.
All images via Fox.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay by Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, from the comics by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons
Produced by Matthew Vaughn, David Reid, Adam Bohling
Starring Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Elton John, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Channing Tatum
Release Year: 2017
Running Time: 142 minutes