Back in 2014, Matthew Vaughn and Taron Egerton effectively blew up the action comedy genre with Kingsman: The Secret Service with it’s effective chalk and cheese stylistic approach to the Spy genre. It successfully managed to leave a lasting impression, as Taron Egerton in his first role coupled with Colin Firth (rather brilliantly) made the Spy genre funny without being too cheesy.
It was only a matter of time before the sequel occurred due to the relative success of director Matthew Vaughn’s feature. And it had the early looks of trying to bigger and better than it’s predecessor. With the likes of Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum and Halle Berry joining the cast, the film looked like it was going to go whole hog with the action spy-genre.
However, Kingsman: The Golden Circle does enlist the same sort of formula held that made the film enjoyable, as a benevolent antagonist holds the world at ransom. This time it is in the form of Poppy (Julianne Moore) a woman living in isolation and running the most successful drug cartel in the world. She brings the Kingsman to their knees by managing to bomb every agents in spectacular fashion with the help of Charlie (Edward Holcroft) a failed Kingsman recruit.
This whirlwind opening sets up the film within around half hour, but considering the film is a lengthy 140 minutes, it does begin to falter it’s way through the next hour or so, as it builds to the eventual guns a-blazing climax. But that’s where the action and comedy come into the play to keep the film ticking over as it continues it’s building.
I found Kingsman: The Golden Circle troubling in parts though, mostly due to the throwaway nature that Matthew Vaughn used throughout the film towards it’s narrative. The lewd behaviour that the first instalment finished on does continue into this film, which really wasn’t necessary, but also the bit part references to The Secret Service instalment.
Vaughn managed to keep my attention for the large part of the 140 minutes, with the stylistic approach to the action sequences and incredibly imaginative scenes, including Harry getting his memory back. (however, we’re not going to talk about the whole Harry coming back thing – ridiculous) And of course, the film is layered with the fly tailored suits and the music that screams James Bond in places, but also the American ties for the Statesman scenes.
But, on the other hand, the film does have a terrible moral code that seeps into the film, which really loses my attention. With the echo of potential spoilers, I won’t discuss the narrative’s moral code too much, but believe me it’s horrendous. The narrative does take Merlin (Mark Strong) and Eggsy to America to meet with their sister organisation the Statesman, headed by agents named after alcohol, including Champagne (Jeff Bridges) and Tequila, (Channing Tatum) after enabling the Kingsman doomsday protocol.
The only reasoning behind their inclusion I can think of is the continuation of the chalk-and-cheese characterisations that occurred in the first instalment. Also the continuation of the stereotyped version of Americans from the South, that is incredibly overplayed. Vaughn seems to enjoy the continuation element of the Kingsman, echoing scenes throughout the film that are almost lifts from The Secret Service.
Many of the action sequences seem to echo the moves Eggsy used during his training and the toppling of Valentine’s plan. But probably the most iconic Manners Maketh Man, with Pedro Pascal’s Whiskey taking the role of Harry this time and armed with a whip, instead of a brolly.
This necessarily isn’t a bad thing, but not a good thing either. As it reminds one of the enjoyment taken from the first one as Kingsman: The Golden Circle begins to plod through the misshapen narrative and racing toward the climax that is relatively short-lived and quite frankly felt a bit rushed.
But that being said, I still laughed during the film, with Taron’s Scottish impression of Merlin’s “that was fucking spectacular” remaining hilarious even now. But it wasn’t just the comedy used throughout, as the film still showed that it had a beating heart rather than falling victim to the machine as it has emotions between the characters really shining through crowned by the relationship instilled by Eggsy and Princess Tilde.
With a bit of shaping up, Kingsman: The Golden Circle could’ve been great. Between the morally misshapen narrative and some decent editing the film could’ve proudly bore the heart it instils on it’s sleeve and seemed a much crispy film. But unfortunately the edit that was shown, just did not cut it for me.