“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is the 2017 sequel to “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” both of which are directed by Matthew Vaughn. If you have seen the original, you know how this movie has big shoes to fill. That’s always the hardest job of a sequel. Obviously a sequel to Kingsman will make money, but how can we maintain such a sizable fan base? Sequels to successful original films make money, whether we like the sequel or not. Studios know this, and will exploit it to their advantage whenever they can. So here it is: Kingsman 2. Did we need it? I think that’s debatable.
The film throws us into the action the nanosecond it starts. “Eggsy” (it’s British, don’t worry about it), our hero, is held at gunpoint outside the Kingsman tailor shop by a rogue named Charlie, who applied to be an agent for Kingsman, but was denied. He forced Eggsy to get into his cab with him, and a fight breaks out. There’s been a trend in filmmaking for a while now where 1980’s music that is purposely unfitting to a scene is edited in. It was cute and funny the first couple of times, but it has become very overdone now. Let’s just remake “Pride and Prejudice” and have Hall & Oates’ “Maneater” play while they ride in a horse-drawn carriage while we’re at it. The song in no way ruined this sequence, because it is marvelously executed, but I’d lie if it wasn’t a distraction.
My other problem with this opening scene is that it throws all plot structure out the window. They throw bits of exposition here and there during the first half, but it’s all so poorly strung together. They want to place you right into the action, and I know how appealing the idea looks on paper, but so much has happened to Eggsy in between films, can we please learn about him more and worry about the action scenes later? We get this amazing 10 minute action scene up front, but a rushed five minute scene of expositional dialogue. In “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” director Guy Ritchie does a significantly better job of establishing enough exhibition whilst getting to the 10 minute sequence of Napoleon and Gaby escaping Germany in one of my most favorite chase sequences ever. Ritchie knows exactly when to do action sequences and when not to.
All of the action scenes in Kingsman: The Golden Circle are fantastic. In fact, the only major criticisms are in the first half of the film. Just a couple shots where the CGI is unforgivably bad in only one setting. I’d tell you when, but I’d spoil too much. It doesn’t matter that much, because if you go see it, you will indubitably notice it.
The second half of this film reminds me why I loved the first Kingsman. The comically bloody, but extremely well choreographed fight scenes, the often blunt, but amazing humor, the characters, the obscene story, and everything else that tied this whole thing together. When you break it down, this movie is about a drug cartel leader, Poppy (played by Julianne Moore), who attempts to destroy the Kingsman so they join up with the Statesman (the American version of the Kingsman, basically) and then Poppy kidnaps Elton John. Therefore, the Kingsman and Statesman have to take down Poppy and save Elton John. (Sidenote: I thought Elton John in this movie would be cringeworthy, and terrible. He was actually great.) Just be prepared to hear him say the f-word a lot. (It’s amazing.) Needless to say, this was a difficult movie to review. There was a lot to write about. It’s not a great film, but it’s an enjoyable time. 6.7 out of 10