Written by Dylan Deppe. Media by Yecheng Wang.
Tragedy strikes the Kingsman when they are hacked into by a drug cartel named the Golden Circle, and the organization is all but wiped out. Following protocol, remaining agents Eggsy and Merlin find a similar agency in America named Statesman. They soon team up to retrieve the antidote, but trouble happens as the vial is broken, forcing the team to find Golden Circle leader Poppy.
Many reviewers say this movie suffers from classic sequel-itis. That is, it’s got more noise, callbacks, more gratuitous this-and-that, etc., which is why it isn’t good. But that’s what a sequel is theoretically supposed to do, right? Up the ante, anyway. Yes, this movie is louder, longer, it calls back, is more colorful, and also more gratuitous than the original. No, this isn’t as good as the original, because the ante isn’t upped as much as it should have been; more stuff just happens. So, yes, “The Golden Circle” suffers from sequel-itis. But no, the movie isn’t bad.
Every single Kingsman, apart from Eggsy, Merlin, and Harry, is killed in the span of 60 seconds. Also perishing are one of Eggsy’s friends and even his adorable pug. Besides being comrades, the Kingsman are a part of Eggsy’s extended family. We never really see that take a toll on him because the movie said we shouldn’t see that, and also because Eggsy is more concerned about his lady-friend.
This leads to my next point. The movie begins with mediocrity and then gets better, a phenomenon that’s quite rare. Before we team up with Statesman, the pacing seems a bit unsure, the screenwriting isn’t the tightest, there are some continuity issues (usually asinine things I don’t bother looking for), and not much of an emotional anchor.
But by then, the movie feels more sure of itself, the general sequence of events is more interesting, the cast hits the point just below scene chewing, the jokes get proportionally better, and we feel the emotional conflicts between Eggsy and Charlie as well as Whiskey’s motivation for smashing the vile. Those may be the wrong places to drop emotional anchor, and the scripting throughout may still be a bit flabby, but it’s better if a movie does that than not decide what kind of movie it wants to be.
As can now be expected from Kingsman, the action scenes are filmed at a technically-astounding level, and they’re very fun, too. Some of the close shots at weird angles moving really fast were slightly annoying, but the car chase at the beginning was staged especially well, despite some of it looking like (and probably being) CG, and being set to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.”
This franchise will almost definitely keep going because, despite being two hours and forty minutes long and R rated, this movie has likable characters. Of course, they were likable in the first movie, and no, they weren’t more likable in this one. But they still go through troubles that we sympathize with, they still make us laugh, and we still root them on when it gets rough.
I think it’s also interesting to note that “The Secret Service” was the movie that made fun of spy movies, while “The Golden Circle” is the movie that accepts being a spy movie. I’m not attached to the genre and don’t know much about it, so I can’t really analyze that concept, if or how well it works in the movie. But the first act seems close to screaming “Regular Spy Movie!” from my perspective.
A great cast, exuberant energy, beautiful sets, Elton John, and stylish visuals leave the movie worth watching. Yet a weaker script, overt humor, and misplaced ambitions make “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” a flawed but still competent and enjoyable film. I’ll give it a 7.7/10. That’s a C+, which is average and totally acceptable.
“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is directed by Matthew Vaughn, written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman, produced by Vaughn, David Reid, and Adam Bohling, stars Taron Egerton (Eggsy), Colin Firth (Harry Hart), Pedro Pascal (Whiskey), and Julianne Moore (Poppy), and was distributed by 20th Century Fox on September 22, 2017.