When we were first introduced to the cheeky, over the top, and the ultraviolent world of Kingsman, it was so stylish and entertaining it was difficult not to imagine how cool it would be to wear a tuxedo and be a Kingsman agent. Kingsman was effectively James Bond if he was ripped out of a video game, rather than the pages of a book.
Therefore, even though Kingsman: The Golden Circle doesn’t always live up to its predecessor, it still holds on to what made the Kingsman, so great to watch.
“Maybe you’ve heard of us?”
You should expect that the film quickly raises the stakes after the Golden Circle demolishes the comfort and stability that the Kingsman fought for in the previous installment. This new shot to the system makes the new villain feel dangerous and threatening, and it sends our favourite secret service on a mission that spans the globe and pushes them to all new physical and emotional heights.
The film is well paced and even though it has a running time of over two hours, it never drags on and feels exciting. The Kingsman: The Golden Circle isn’t short on its own memorable moments which aren’t afraid to push and compliment the films goofy and eccentric tone.
The Golden Circle has a good few new tricks up its sleeve. It includes a new list of characters, gadgets, setting and surprisingly a fair amount of social commentary very similar to the previous film and how it looked on the hidden aggression and anger buried in every human; although it is never forced down the viewer’s throat.
Once a Kingsman, always a Kingsman
Matthew Vaughn’s sequel is packed full of fresh faces and bigger stars including Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges, and Channing Tatum, along with the returning cast, including Colin Firth as Agent Harry Hart and Taron Egerton as Eggsy. The returning cast is as spot on as the previous film.
Eggsy is still an incredibly likeable protagonist, his coming of age story is all over, and Eggsy is now a wiser and more skilled secret agent. However, Eggsy is still young, vulnerable, and quickly emotional; this still makes him a character we can emotionally invest in. Eggsy still stands out from all the other agents as the loud mouth and sometimes juvenile character, and this contrast helps bring out a lot of humor. Eggsy is given new challenges and hurdles which tests our main character to his peak. These new emotional stakes give Taron Egerton space to show his range in acting, and he hits it home, making him one of the best parts of the film.
What I also enjoyed about the returning cast is how fresh they felt with new arcs and dynamics. Take Colin Firth’s character Harry, who is brought straight back from the dead. Harry, an old and cool-headed mentor and Kingsman is introduced in a way that ultimately takes us off our feet. This new dynamic and conflict make him a welcome return. Even a minor character like Merlin, played by Mark Strong, gets the chance to shine. It’s a big relief to see these returning characters used well and kept just as entertaining and likeable.
Underwhelming new faces
Kingsman’s biggest downfall lies within its new cast of characters, more specifically, the Statesman, who are a big part of the film, feel like a bit of a throwaway and not like a new part of the Kingsman’s world.
The Statesman are introduced to us as the cousin of Kingsman. Along with them are some new agents such as Tequila (Channing) and Whisky (Pedro Pascal). Tequila is the first agent we meet, and after a fight scene, he is built to be a great alliance alongside Eggsy but he is then put away, and we hardly see him for the rest of the film.
The other Statesman are very similar. They don’t contribute to the main characters enough for us to become emotionally invested in them. It feels like they are merely there to mix up the accents and create some new action sequences. Although their flashy new gadgets and fight scenes are fun to watch, I couldn’t see any other appeal apart from that. A few of the new characters are also not fully developed and flushed out, this issue can make the film seem less all rounded like it’s missing a few puzzle pieces. At first glance, the Statesman feel like a great addition, but the characters impact on the film is indeed disappointing, especially when the actors themselves give great performances.
Julianne Moore plays the villain Poppy. an international drug dealer, and leader of the Golden Circle. Her performance, and motive fit very well into Kingsman’s style and the world. Her devilish moments also make her a feel like a significant threat. However, I felt she not only didn’t live up to the previous villain that Samuel L. Jackson played but at times she is too similar and often at times feels like a rehash.
As sharp as a tailored suit
Where Kingsman shines and how it feels like a worthy sequel to the 2013 hit, is in its action. As a far as action films come, Kingsman gets five stars, and The Golden Circle is a great follow-up in this field. From chases throughout London, to brawls against robots, Kingsman’s choreography and effects bring the film alive. The fantastic presentation in Kingsman is all thanks to Michael Vaughn and cinematographer, George Richmond. The camera moves, twists and jumps around, making the fights feel exciting and swift like a rollercoaster. The film looks great, and it’s colorful and eccentric art design helps the kingsman feel like a comic book movie. The film is also accompanied by a fun soundtrack which compliments its action and dramatic moments, similarly to the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy. The action and tone seen in Kingsman: The Secret Service is not only present, but turned right up and never misses a beat.
So should you see the Kingsman: The Golden Circle? If you enjoyed the previous action film antics of Kingsman: the Secret Service then you will be happy to know that you will still find a lot of that here. Even if the film’s new characters reveal the flaws of the movie, it still looks and feels like Kingsman. The Golden Circle is flashy and as sharp as ever, just like a three-piece suit.