‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ Movie Review: Charming Outrageousness To The Next Level


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*Minor Spoilers Ahead*

Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is back in the field, but this time, in a bit more dire situation as the British underground organization that he belongs to is attacked by a secretive new world group dubbed The Golden Circle spearheaded by kooky but deadly antagonist, Poppy (Julianne Moore). With his back against the wall, he and his trustee ally, Merlin (Mark Strong) cross the pond to America to seek help from their Stateside counterparts known as the Statesman. Backed-up by some new allies like Champ (Jeff Bridges), Tequila (Channing Tatum), Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and Ginger Ale (Halle Berry), they will work together to foil their new adversary’s evil plans. On top of that, survival of Harry (Colin Firth) remains to be the looming mystery surrounding the film.

Taron Egerton as Eggsy, Channing Tatum as Tequila and Halle Berry as Ginger Ale in ‘Kingsman
Taron Egerton as Eggsy, Channing Tatum as Tequila and Halle Berry as Ginger Ale in ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’/20th Century Fox
With an impressive cast chockful of industry veterans, it is hard to not be interested with “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.” But for movie fans, the movie is more than just an assembly of big stars, much attention is given to it because of the person behind the camera for the project -- Matthew Vaughn who was notorious for turning down sequels. From “Kick-Ass” to “X-Men: First Class,” the British director seems to be content with just setting up a potential franchise until he came across this budding franchise.

Taron Egerton as Eggsy in ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’
Taron Egerton as Eggsy in ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’/20th Century Fox
The sophomore outing from the franchise is highly anticipated after its predecessor surprised everyone with how well crafted of a project it was. But the question now is, how did the sequel fare compared to its very well received predecessor. The verdict, just like the film is a little bit more complicated.

Channing Tatum as Agent Tequila and Halle Berry as Ginger Ale in ‘Kingsman
Channing Tatum as Agent Tequila and Halle Berry as Ginger Ale in ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’/20th Century Fox
“The Golden Circle” definitely upped almost everything. From the stunning visuals to its set pieces, going global in itself is a major upgrade from a seemingly small story which is ironic given how the first film’s threat was perceived world wide -- not to mention how fun it was seeing Bridges’ back to his western roots. It just makes sense that this is the organic progression of the story. Sure, we have lost Roxy (Sophie Cook) and JB, but it was nice seeing the franchise have a clear narrative trajectory rather than being just stuck in a rut, doing the same things over and over again.

If you think the gore in “The Secret Service” is already too much to handle, its sequel just doubles down on it. The movie is not Rated R for nothing anyway. This one, however, fully embraces its freedom that exploding heads and bleeding people seem to already be the norm. Remember they doubles down on it? “The Golden Circle” literally grinds alive people, makes their flesh into burger patties and feeds it to other people. Too much? For some maybe, but in the realm of this franchise, not totally improbable. Especially when it is basically a nod to the over-the-top ‘60s spy thriller that most of the time borderlines insanity.

Unfortunately, just as how “The Golden Circle” ramps up some aspects of its predecessor, it scales back on the other. The action sequences are a little less exciting than those of its predecessor, especially with the jaw-dropping Church sequence featuring Firth -- which in itself is already surprising to see given his usual dramatic expertise. The revolving camera shot trick is once again utilized, but it just doesn’t have the angst and charisma that the Church action set piece had.

One shall never underestimate Vaughn’s flare for twists, especially with the “Kingsman” franchise. He was able to cleverly execute one in the original film with Michael Caine’s Chester King apparently a cohort in Samuel L. Jackson’s Valentine’s plans. However, compared to its predecessor, this one seems a little lame, maybe event a bit melodramatic. It was nowhere near the gasp-inducing reveal in “The Secret Service” about Chester crossing his very own organization. That said, it was a bold attempt and is a sure great callback to the traitor’s TV gig.

Colin Firth as Harry and Taron Egerton as Eggsy in ‘Kingsman
Colin Firth as Harry and Taron Egerton as Eggsy in ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’/20th Century Fox
More than anything, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is a heck of a great time in the theater. While it does not quite surpass the lightning in a bottle success that was “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” it is able to maintain everything that we have loved about the original film. True, some of the cast are barely involved in the whole kerfuffle, but everybody got their due. Most especially, despite a plethora of characters, the film remains focused and not all over the place. The expansion of the lore with the inclusion of the Statesman opens up a lot of opportunities in the future and and judging by how the film left it off, it appears that Vaughn already has a plan with regard to where he wants to take this franchise.

Watch full trailer of ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’:


-- ALD, The Summit Express

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