When the first Kingsman film came out, me along with the rest f the world was flabbergasted by its greatness. It reinvented the spy genre whilst also making fun of it. It was witty, clever, charming and hilarious. As was deserved it received huge critical a box office success and of course a sequel was put into development almost instantly, but it would have to take on the challenge that all sequels must face: bettering or even meeting the level of the previous film. Will Kingsman: The Golden Circle prevail, let’s see…
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is once again directed by Matthew Vaughan and stars Taron Edgerton (Eggsy), Mark Strong (Merlin) and Colin Firth (Harry) as the returning Kingsman agents. However, this time we meet the American Kingsman. Agents Champagne (Jeff Bridges), Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), Ginger (Halle Berry) and Tequila (Channing Tatum) make up The Statesman. When a secluded millionaire, Poppy (Julianne Moore), launches a plan that could kill millions. The two agencies must band together to defeat and save a lot of innocent people.
Let’s start with the positives first, the film shares the same humour as the first and it leads to a lot of funny moments throughout. The relationships between the Kingsman agents are once again extremely entertaining to watch: Strong, Firth and Edgerton all put good performances in. Hanna Alström is, surprisingly, back as the princess from the end of the last film. She is a very nice addition and provides a lot of laughs. Most of the fight scenes are enjoyable enough but they rely way too much on the frantic style of the church scene. And by that, I mean that’s the only way they shoot action and after a while, it becomes very tedious. The film as a whole is entertaining but overall I was bitterly disappointed with this effort.
One of the stars of this film may have surprised you. Yes, you heard right, Colin Firth is back. After being shot through the head he is back. And… it SUCKS. He is not needed in this film and I 100% believe that it would be a better film without him in it. It takes so much away from Eggsy development as a character. It would’ve been a lot better just to feel Harry’s presence through Eggsy. But no, the film basically cures death so he can come back so he can have some witty banter. The film seems to be obsessed with reminding you of the first one, Vaughan expects the audience to remember every single detail from the first film and if you don’t then you’re going to miss a lot from this film. It’s like he didn’t know how to move forward and just wanted to redo the same thing again but less good.
It seems like that in the writer’s room, everyone and their brothers got to say, “you know what would be funny?”. Then they put every single suggestion in 5 times. You may have seen that Elton John is highly billed in the marketing, I was just expecting a nice cameo like Mark Hamill’s from the first film. I must say his inclusion was funny, the first 5 times he shows up. Then he appears again and again and again and again. When it came to the end of the film he stuck in my mind as one of the worst things in the film. This is indicative of a huge flaw with Kingsman: The Golden Circle, it’s a very obnoxious film, there are quite a few aspects of the film that are just plain annoying. For example, Julianne Moore’s robot dogs or the over the top portrayal of the American president. The film lacks the smarts and charm of the first. Julianne Moore’s character is way over the top, lacks that special something Sam Jackson had, her plan makes no sense at all and she turns out to be just a bit of a damp squib. They took the level of wackiness from the first film, quadrupled it and it does not work out. A lot that happens in this film feels like Vaughan had lots of ideas that he thought would be cool and then proceeded to do all of them without thinking about whether it would translate.
Another thing that jumps out when I think of Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the utterly dreadful CGI on display. The robot dogs I mentioned before look awful. There are a few shots of a music festival which are completely computer generated and it looks like a cartoon. A part of the film involves a lot of cages being stacked upon each other, this again looks terrible. It is truly baffling how this film came out in the same year as ‘The War for The Planet of the Apes’. That film gave me hope that we may be coming close to conquering the uncanny valley (mistaking CGI for real life) but this film threw those hopes down the drain and spat in their mother’s face. Some of the worst CGI I’ve seen for years.
You may be forgiven for expecting Channing Tatum to play a significant role in this film. I mean he is highly billed and is at the forefront of the trailers, why wouldn’t you expect that. In fact, halfway through the film, it seems like he weirdly written out. Something happens to him and he’s reduced to a few glimpses for the rest of the film. Instead Pedro Pascal plays a much larger role than Tatum and for the most part, his character is enjoyable. He has a very cool laser whip that’s novelty almost runs out by the end of the film. There is a twist to his character that comes from nowhere and it proposes a lot more questions than it answers. Jeff Bridges and Halley Berry are welcome additions even if they don’t really contribute anything to the plot.
Another quick gripe is the runtime, this is a slog. Vaughan said that Fox wanted him to split this into two films, which he shut down immediately. but upon viewing the film I tend to agree with Fox. This film is so overstuffed with subplots and there is just so much going on that I found myself just not caring about any of it. Plot threads just appear from nowhere and we are supposed to get invested in them because… well I don’t really know, to be honest, and I guess that’s the problem.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle isn’t offensively bad but it is incredibly disappointing when compared to its predecessor. I have referenced the first Kingsman A LOT during this review and that is purely because it is just so good and I was so excited for this film and to see it fail so badly for me is very hard to take. Having a strong first outing can be a dangerous thing and in this case, it definitely does not work in its favour. I don’t think that I want another Kingsman film now, I think that might be the most damning thing I’ve said in this review, I don’t really care what happens to Eggsy now and that’s not a feeling I should have about a films main character. The disappointment brings out the analyst in me which leads to me being hypercritical when maybe this film doesn’t deserve it. But like I’ve said throughout the main word I will associate Kingsman: The Golden Circle with is disappointment and that’s why it is…..