Hold on to your good manners, the Kingsmen are finally returning for a sequel with Kingsman: The Golden Circle – once more written and directed by the gifted Matthew Vaughn – a follow-up heavily loaded with more action, jokes and cheeky scenes audiences loved so much the first time round!
3 years after the success of Kingsman: The Secret Service, which introduced the charming Taron Egerton as rookie spy Eggsy in a universe that sometimes mocked, sometimes paid homage with a spark of craziness to classic secret agent movies (the 007 series in particular), it’s with a lot of excitement that we check in on the classy organization and its stylish members.
A year after he saved the world from evil Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), Eggsy, who now holds his late mentor Harry Hart’s (Colin Firth) title of Galahad, has to face another tragedy with the destruction of the Kingsman’s London headquarters by mighty drug lord Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore). Following what’s called “the Doomsday protocol”, him and Merlin (Mark Strong) have no choice but to ask for the help of their boorish American counterparts, the Statesmen, to defeat a secret terrorist agency called The Golden Circle. (Oh, and Harry is alive – yay!)
Vaughn, who “has an odd, but sincere, affection for this world,” knows too well that what made the success of the first Kingsman movie was its genuine eccentricity, which is why he naturally assumed that doubling down on “slick action and spy genre riffs” to provide a compelling sequel was the right strategy. Unfortunately, although “the film wastes no time in getting in the good stuff,” its plot is “as sloppy and extended as over-washed elastic.” “Crass and hyper-violent,” the “dumb, clumsy” Kingsman: The Secret Service also boasts an “overstuffed” cast, which leads to excessive casualness, making “the first hour of the film” feel like “a series of barely-connected vignettes.”
“Not quite as original and fresh as the first film,” Kingsman 2 “takes certain big risks” that make for a story where “the sillier things get, the less anything matters.” Ultimately, the sequel is “largely a bloody, bouncing, gelatinous blob, all lubed up with nowhere to really go.”
Julianne Moore Rules
While the Statesman agents, comprising Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, Channing Tatum, and Jeff Bridges bearing names worthy of a pretty attractive bar menu, “are well-cast, and well-poised to make this a franchise entry that surpasses its predecessor, at least financially,” they “don’t get the same treatment” as Julianne Moore in the role of “a sweetly purring supervillain.” Obviously “having a good time,” the actress plays wicked Poppy Adams with “disarmingly upbeat confidence,” making her “incredibly fun to watch.”
What some consider “interminable 141 minutes” are at least packed with “dizzily choreographed, physics-defying thrills.” These action sequences, reminiscent of those that made the popularity of the first movie, “truly breathtaking and exciting,” are, without doubt, “the major strength of the film.”
Best quotes from the reviews:
“Surely, then, I enjoyed the film simply because I’m some sad gross-o lusting after the film’s lead. That has to be it! Because what else is there to like?” – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
“If The Secret Service was a film school essay, The Golden Circle is the dorm party after finals are done.” – Tom Philip, GQ
“The Kingsman franchise has serious potential staying power.” – Molly Freeman, Screenrant
“A movie happy to resurrect characters as rub them out.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times