Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Elton John, Channing Tatum, and Jeff Bridges
After Kingsman: The Secret Service proved to be a massive success, it didn’t take long before the inevitable sequel went into production. The film was released just under three years after the first one. It received a similar box office return, but a poorer reception from critics and fans alike.
Eggsy (Taron Egerton) has settled into his role as a Kingsman spy. Now living with his princess girlfriend in Harry’s (Colin Firth) old home. When a drug lord takes out every member of the Kingsman, apart from Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong), the pair travel to America in search of help to save the world once more.
The Golden Circle does exactly what you’d expect from a sequel. It takes everything from the first film and makes it bigger. The action is more over the top and ridiculous, the adventure takes the characters further afield to more exotic places, the villain is even more extreme. If you liked the first one, then you’ll probably like this one, just not as much. It’s more of the same, but it has that feeling all the way through it that it’s been done before.
It just doesn’t have the same heart that the first one did and at the same time it’s also longer and really shouldn’t be. By the time you get to the last big fight, you just don’t care. We all know who’s going to win, and none of the fighting comes close to the church scene from the first one.
This time there is a new agency involved, the Statesman, which is essentially the American counterpart to Kingsman. It’s a brilliant set up, and works really well. The differences and similarities of the two agencies work perfectly and it’s the strongest part of the whole film.
The action looks cleaner, and the choreography is tighter than in the first film. The big brawls are back on a much bigger scale this time around. There are a few scenes where multiple characters are involved in the fights, and they are almost as thrilling as the first one was. The comedy is louder and in your face, doubling down on the silliness, with an extended cameo from the surprisingly funny Elton John, as well as going further with the more crude and cringe-inducing jokes that just feel awkward rather than funny.
It does feel very cheap to bring back Colin Firth, his death in the first one was a genuine shock, which is greatly lessoned in this one. The way he survives is also weak, even for a comic book film. It lessons the stakes massively, because if he can survive being shot in the eye, who from the long list of dead people will come back through some miracle gel wrap in the third one? Saying that, it wouldn’t have been the same without Firth. He’s one of the best characters in the series, and he is great when on screen. It’s not like they kept him a secret either, with his face plastered on posters and given top billing. They probably shouldn’t have killed him so clearly in the first one.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is an okay film. It’s entertaining while it’s on but outstays its welcome massively. The villain is a lot weaker, even if she will go to more extreme lengths to get what she wants. Her motive just doesn’t match the one from the first one. You don’t feel any empathy for why she’s doing it, while Valentine’s mission makes sense beyond monetary gain. There’s still the humour and action you’d expect, it just feels less special than it did the first-time round.