Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017): Review
The film kicks off with Eggsy (who is now a full fledged member of Kingsman) getting into a tussle with former Kingsman recruit Charlie (who appeared in the first film) and the result is a hacking that leads to the complete destruction of Kingsman headquarters as well as every agent involved with the organization. Mark Strong's Merlin and Eggsy are the only remaining members that survived. They leave England and head towards America in search of an allied organization called the Statesman.
In some ways it doesn't seem fair to make the Statesman that much of the synopsis because they really aren't as much of a key point in the film as you would expect. Especially when you see who is making up the cast. I was thrilled to hear that Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum would appear in this film as members of the Statesman. Neither of them get much attention in the film. Bridges is in about 2 scenes and Tatum may be in 3. As much as like both of them I wasn't really that upset with their screen time because I still really like the members of the main cast and Matthew Vaughn continued to build on the world more. Anyone who has seen the marketing material knows that Colin Firth's character Harry returns in the film despite his death in the first film. I was alright with how they chose to bring Harry back into the story, but there was a little too much time devoted to it. The simplest way to say it without spoiling anything is that Harry is not quite himself and we have to wait a while before he is.
The main issue that I have with the film is that the script just isn't quite there. Matthew Vaughn did say before the film came out that there was a long 3 hour cut of this film. The theatrical version has been cut down to 2 hours and 20 minutes and I felt the film was fun enough that I was okay with it. It just feels like there are some story elements that feel a little too wild because there isn't enough time to explain.
I really had fun with Julianne Moore's performance as the lead villain Poppy, but the more you think about the character the more she starts to fall apart. Poppy is a vegan entrepreneur who just happens to be involved in the drug trade. Her plan may not be the strongest, but I thought she was a different character and Moore is certainly talented enough to take command whenever she is on screen. Plus, Poppy has kidnapped Elton John (just because) and that extended cameo made for some really good humor.
All of the action sequences are visually awesome with even more of the insanity that is beginning to become a trademark for this series. There are some even cooler gadgets and it shows that Vaughn may have gotten a little more creative freedom after the success of the first movie.
Tatum's role was reportedly limited by obligations to another project and that seems to be the reason that Pedro Pascal's character is in the movie. I like Pascal as an actor and his performance is strong enough, but it just never really felt like he needed to be there and it really does feel like he's a replacement for Tatum who couldn't be as involved as he wanted to be. It may be because a lot of the mystery behind Pascal's character seemed forced on the audience rather than letting us figure it out ourselves. He does get a pretty cool action scene though. It seems none of these new characters were done correctly. We either got too much or not enough from them.
The characters that we already know are still great though. Taron Egerton continues to give it his best in the lead and continues to assert that he's a up and coming star after a great performance in Eddie the Eagle in between Kingsman films. Mark Strong is great in everything and once again he is here. One element that really bothered me was the characters sudden love for John Denver (which is a trend in 2017) because it actually plays a pretty key role in the movie. I don't remember any hints towards that in the first film.
Overall, I welcome this sequel. It definitely follows a similar format to the very similar first film, but I did enjoy the attempt at world building I just wish they devoted more time to it. I'd be completely fine with seeing a Kingsman 3 and I'll be sure to check out the two movies in the franchise at some point so I can see how they stack up side by side. The Golden Circle may not have the strength of the first movie, but I still liked it a lot.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle gets 77 out of 100.