by Matt Sernaker, Managing Editor
When the world is in danger, you can rest assured that Kingsman agents are on the case! That is, unless they have been blown to bits…Eggsy, Merlin, Harry, and the rest of the gang are back for Kingsman: The Golden Circle. When a drug lord makes a bold move to hold the world hostage, the Kingsman find themselves in a predicament requiring assistance from their American counterparts, the Statesman!
Following their adventures in Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eggsy, Merlin, and Roxy have continued protecting the world from danger. Eggsy has also developed an actual relationship with Princess Tilde, and the two have moved into Galahad’s home. When a failed Kingsman candidate returns from the dead, the team are thrown into new danger. Poppy Adams, the world’s most notorious drug lord, launches a full assault against the agency, and only a few agents escape her fiery wrath. Their resources destroyed, Eggsy and (spoilers) activate their doomsday protocol, which leads them to a whiskey distributor in Kentucky. Upon their arrival, we meet Statesman Agents Tequila, Champagne, Whiskey, and Ginger Ale, who offer to assist the Kingsman in their quest to avenge their fallen comrades. But wait! How the hell is Harry Hart (a.k.a. Galahad) alive and well in Kentucky?!? With time ticking away, can the combined forces of these two agencies (and their newly returned friend) stop Poppy before she destroys a major portion of the world’s population? And what role does Sir Elton John play in her evil scheme?
Kingsman: The Golden Circle features the return of Taron Egerton (Eggsy/Galahad), Mark Strong (Merlin), Colin Firth (Harry Hart/Galahad Sr.), Sophie Cookson (Roxy/Lancelot), and Hanna Alstrom (Princess Tilde). The film also includes Julianne Moore (The Hunger Games film series) as the villainous Poppy Adams, Channing Tatum (Magic Mike) as Agent Tequila, Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) as Agent Whiskey, Jeff Bridges (Tron) as Agent Champagne, Halle Berry (X-Men) as Agent Ginger Ale, and Sir Elton John as himself. The VIP of the film was Elton John, who gets the biggest laughs and some utterly phenomenal moments. His role could have been but a cameo, but Sir Elton steals every scene he’s in with his sense of humor. Pedro Pascal demonstrates why he got the coolest Agent nickname by being a true a badass in multiple fights throughout the film. Tatum, Bridges, and Berry were enjoyable in the movie as well, but they were given very little to do. Based on the marketing for the film, one would expect them to be major players in the story, but they have minimal supporting roles in the grand scheme of things. Julianne Moore was perfectly cast as Poppy Adams. Her interpretation of an evil villain could not have been more spot on, and it is surprising that she hasn’t been given a role like this prior to Kingsman. I wouldn’t be surprised if she receives more opportunities to play the “big bad” in other films after this release.
The latest film from Director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) doubles down on the action, comedy, and unfortunately, the awkward sexism of the first film. The Kingsman sequel could easily be classified as “highly organized chaos.” There are good sequences and ideas in play, but the execution is inconsistent and where it goes wrong… it goes very wrong. The first film had some plot holes, but this sequel has plot chasms. Kingsman succeeds when it emulates the action of the James Bond franchise, but fails when it channels the sexual antics of an Austin Powers film. Vaughn decided to give a middle finger to the “prudish” viewers who criticized his choices in the first film, opting to include several callbacks to the criticized scene from the third act and pressing the envelope further with an extremely unfortunate choice regarding a tracking device. I’m personally pretty hard to offend, but this graphic choice was unnecessary, uncomfortable, and ultimately detracted from the viewing experience. (Warning: viewers who have experienced sexual assault may wish to avoid this film).
Sequels to comedy/action films are always a tricky thing, and Kingsman: The Golden Circle unfortunately is a rollercoaster ride of inconsistency. The action sequences are on par with the original, but the story is mostly a rehash. I enjoyed seeing more of Eggsy and his world, but it was unfortunate that interesting characters were killed off to accommodate glorified cameos from bigger name actors. That being said, if you enjoyed Kingsman: The Secret Service, you will probably enjoy in this new outing.
ComicsOnline gives Kingsman: The Golden Circle – 3 out of 5 electrified lassos.
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