In 2014, Kingsman: Secret Service introduced us to its unique brand of graphic violence and cheeky humor and their next installment, Kingsman: The Golden Circle turns it up to 11 (the movie does not hide its love for Spinal Tap). Our beloved characters are back – Eggsy (Taron Egerton), Harry (Colin Firth), Merlin (Mark Strong), joined by the wonderfully kooky and demented 50’s loving villain Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) and their American spy cousins, the Statesmen, led by Champagne or Champ (Jeff Bridges), Tequila (Channing Tatum), Ginger Ale (Halle Berry) and Whiskey (Pedro Pascal). It’s a rodeo ride full of car chases, lasso and hand combat, gun fights and explosions. Watch out for a couple of Elton John action stunts too.
From the first 10 minutes of the film, as seen in the trailer as well, an unknown adversary destroys their headquarters and most of the Kingsman team. This leads Eggsy and Merlin to the Statesman as they follow their doomsday protocol. After an initial misunderstanding, the two spy teams get along, although not without some friendly rivalry.
While Kingsman: The Golden Circle has plenty of director Matthew Vaughn’s signature shots and approach to the fight scenes, many of these felt chaotic and lacked the finesse of the first installment. The movie is quite long at 141 minutes but it seemed many of the storylines were quite short. As much as Colin Firth is a beloved actor and his return as a Kingsman is cause for celebration, some of his scenes could have been cut short and more Poppy, Statesman or Ginger Ale scenes added. This would have made the movie feel more epic and compelling instead of looking like a carelessly spliced action movie. However, Elton John’s part provided a much-needed levity and surprise.
Still, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a fun movie to watch. It knows what it is – a happy, stylized ode to the best spy movies. It may had stumbled and scraped itself for this installment but it’s still exuberantly running towards the next fun mission.
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