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[Movie Review] Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

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Plot Summary: When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman's journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writers: Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn

Runtime: 2hr 21min

Main Cast:
  • Taron Egerton as Eggsy
  • Mark Strong as Merlin
  • Julianne Moore as Poppy
  • Michael Gambon as Arthur
  • Colin Firth as Harry Hart
  • Channing Tatum as Tequila
  • Halle Berry as Ginger
  • Jeff Bridges as Champ
  • Pedro Pascal as Whiskey

Review: by Chris

With the original Kingsman, Matthew Vaughn was able to take Mark Millars send-up of the bond type spy genre and turn it into to a flawed yet enjoyable ride. With the sequel, Vaughn is disconnected from any source material and able to do his own thing with Taron Egerton's Eggsy and the Kingsman characters. With much of the cast returning for the sequel and some fun guest stars, we have the makings for a nice alternative spy series with Bond becoming so serious these days. Though treading familiar ground by running through many of the same story beats, there's still a damn good time to be had.

What I Liked:

Matthew Vaughn knew exactly the type of movie he wanted to make. Being an original sequel to a comic adaptation I was worried Kingsman: The Golden Circle would have a hard time finding its own place without having a source to pull from. Fortunately its clear that Vaughn has a clear understanding of what the Kingsman franchise is supposed to be and this movie shows a confidence in its world that I haven’t seen in a while. By introducing the audience to The Statesmen, the American counterpart, the Kingsman universe is allowed to expand and introduce some great new characters. This movie doesn’t take itself that seriously at all, but is so confident in its tone, allowing for a consistent and enjoyable ride. From the opening car chase to the fantastic Star Wars style scene transitions, including a close-up of marijuana buds beautifully transitioning into a lush forest; there is a nice, refreshing playfulness to everything. This fun tone is infectious in every aspect of the production.  The understanding of the bond spy genre and its tropes give for a movie that both parodies and surpasses the bond franchise at its own game. Gadgets, style, jokes, huge body count….Hell, it has robot dogs! Kingsman knows exactly who it’s making fun of, and giving tribute to.

With a tone so bright and fun, the actors do a hell of a job selling it. Julianne Moore’s Poppy is an excellent villain oozing personality and charisma. She embodies all of the opulent styles of classic bond mainstays with a literal forest base. Picture a blend of a Stepford wife and Goldfinger. Her organization and motivation is pure spy camp that I ate up. She was having a blast which is refreshing, offering a fine balance between menacing and adorable. Just about every other character has an almost G.I. Joe kind of distinct style and personality.  Taron Egerton is back as Eggsy, and surprises by showing some realistic growth to the character since the first film. Rather than jump directly to James Bond super spy, a slightly older Eggsy is a better spy but still shows signs of the rough young man introduced in the first. Giving a depth to a character that was unexpected for a sequel. Not to say this is a world-class performance, but what is here feels like a natural progression of the character after the first film.  Mark Strong’s Merlin and Colin Firth’s Harry return again, both giving solid performances. The Statesmen steal the show though. The cowboy-themed American spy team is amazing, with names fashioned after drinks like Whiskey and Tequila, they are a great alternative to the Kingsman. Channing Tatum and Pedro Pascal play up their roles to a T, both oozing southern charm, though Tatum is given considerably less to do. The commitment to the bit and clever plays on the bit make for some great visuals. Laser bean lasso. Yes. Yes, it is as awesome as it is stupid.

The pacing and action are top notch as well. The first Kingsman offered one of the best action set pieces in movie history with the explosive church fight scene and the sequel ups the ante. Every action scene tries to invoke that same feel with some acrobatic camera moves mixed with some great choreography. They are fast, frantic, and imaginative. The set pieces take place in different, unique locals which gives an extra layer of texture to the action. Mix in the gadgets and cool technology and these scenes are pure joy.

What I Didn’t Like:

For a movie this fun, there are only minor complaints that hold it back from perfection. The plot regarding Eggsy’s girlfriend slows the pacing down whenever it becomes a focus.

The plot regarding Eggsy’s girlfriend slows the pacing down whenever it becomes a focus. It’s a weird tonal shift at times and only rarely connects with the humor it attempts. Though imaginative in many ways, the plot feels like a hard recycling of the themes and beats in the first movie. Not to say it suffers too much because of it, but much of it felt really familiar, including an overly long “spy seduces a woman for information scene” that begins as clever but ends grossly.

Though a fan of Colin Firth and his character, the plot reasoning behind his return are sketchy at best, considering its a main part of the ad campaign, keeping it a surprise would’ve made the scenes have more impact in the movie.

Images Courtesy of IMDB

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