Kingsman: The Golden Circle Review: In Need of a Good Tailor

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One of the most astounding Hollywood trends since the turn of the century has been genuinely thoughtful and well made sequels. Think about it. Is there a truly bad Harry Potter or Hunger Games film? How many modern superhero series started out great only to have the franchise killed (temporarily in most cases) on the second go? There are of course exceptions (please Disney, let us forget about Pirates of the Caribbean already), but the old thought that sequels are never as good has mostly gone out the window. Well, if you’re nostalgic for the time before that, go see Kingsmen: The Golden Circle.

The sequel to Matthew Vaughn’s 2015 surprise hit immediately puts out the wrong foot in its opening action sequence, which isn’t cartoonish in a charming way, but actually looks like a cartoon thanks to all the CGI a surprise hit’s sequel budget can buy. Though not a complete misfire, The Golden Circle doesn’t get much better from there. A drug cartel in the jungles of Cambodia, run by Poppy (Julianne Moore, giving the film a much needed jolt of life), targets and successfully eliminates the Kingsman, save for Eggsy (Taron Edgerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong). They head to Kentucky to seek the help of the Statesmen (Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Pedro Pascal, and Halle Berry all grasping for screentime with a script that doesn’t bother to properly write any of their characters). Being held there is Harry (Colin Firth), back from the dead thanks to audience popularity, but he suffers from amnesia. The Golden Circle comes dangerously close to copying the exact plot of Men in Black II (look it up).

It’s not all disastrous though. Poppy is a wacky Martha Stewart type villain, and she has Elton John kidnapped, and yes he has a sizable role in the film. It all goes a little overboard, but I mean damn, it’s hard to top the singer in a rainbow chicken costume and high heels going toe to toe with Poppy’s goons. The third act at large is quite a hoot, with the CGI toned down and Vaughn finally returning to the winning style in which he shot the action of the first film.

But the root of the sequel’s problems come from its lead character. Kind of a street rat turned gentleman in the original, he’s lost almost all of his rugged appeal here. What’s the fun of Eggsy actually acting like a Kingsman the whole time? It’s not even consistent with his character. And that’s pretty much The Golden Circle in a nutshell. By going farther and harder in almost every way, and lots of ways it really shouldn’t have (one scene revolving around a woman not consenting is borderline sickening), the Kingsman series loses much of its genuine flare in just its second round. After the original practically demanded a sequel, the results here are pretty damning. Grade: C

By Matt Dougherty

One Response to Kingsman: The Golden Circle Review: In Need of a Good Tailor

  1. Bruce says:

    Good review. Kingsman 2 had more action than the first one but a lot of unnecessary jokes and situations proved to be a buzzkill. It still managed to make $100.2 million worldwide so the movie is still kind of good. They’ll definitely make a third one.

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