PrintE-mail Written by Jack Bottomley

When Matthew Vaughn unleashed his take on the lesser-known Mark Millar/Dave Gibbons comic book, back in 2014, many people really had no idea what they would get in Kingsman: The Secret Service. However, despite some surprising controversy, the results were a spectacularly fun romp, that blended a culture clash narrative with Bond pastiche to hilarious, outrageous and massively entertaining effect. After the film became a hit, a sequel was all but assured but in a real 360 turn, now there is something to prove with Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and as we all know from films like Piranha 3DD, Now You See Me 2 and Insidious: Chapter 2, following up a novelty or sleeper hit is not easy but it can be done (see John Wick Chapter 2).

The plot sees Eggsy (Taron Egerton) continuing his dangerous work at the secretive agency Kingsman, while also looking to settle into his relationship with Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström). However, his world is about to come crashing down, as the Kingsman are all but annihilated by a mysterious group known only as ‘The Golden Circle’ and remaining Kingsman agents Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) must reach out to their American cousins ‘The Statesman’ for help. Let’s get right down to it, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is nowhere near as good as the first film and suffers heavily from too much going on and recurring scriptural struggles to catch that same novelty, shock and energy in this - quite long - agent action comedy sequel.

Much like this year’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, there is an “if it ain’t broke” mentality to the film and this results in a story that has its share of ideas but a few too many competing for attention and a lot of call backs to the previous film. Jane Goldman and Vaughn’s screenplay will likely come up with some rewards for those who adored the first film but if you found it offensive or repulsive the first time around (a few did apparently), then this follow-up goes that bit further. In many ways, the film, with its mad plot devices and extravagant set pieces is like Die Another Day (stay with us) but far more knowing and boasting a far better pop cameo that shockingly emerges as the most hilarious part of the movie, in fact it soars like a rocket, man! Mind you, even this film has the sense to avoid an invisible Aston Martin!

The plot really lacks the class clash and cultural contrast that made the first film flourish, as the US/UK union really doesn’t yield such vastly differing oppositions. There is also an issue in the influx of characters, as some of the A-list cast are really only here for passing scenes, especially the likes of Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, Michael Gambon and Channing Tatum. That said, the cast really do work to elevate the material to greater standing and do mostly succeed. Egerton once more is filled with cheeky charisma, a returning Colin Firth (hardly a spoiler it is plastered all over the posters, clips, trailers) once again soars as Harry, Mark Strong entertains as always and Julianne Moore sinks her teeth into her part, as the villain of the piece Poppy Adams. 

The Golden Circle has a lot of problems, as it echoes the first film a few times too many and really feels all over the place at points. As a result, it is a film unlikely to linger as firmly in the memory as the first but in spite of the many issues, the embraced ridiculousness conjures up some enjoyable moments, and if you loved the original, you'll likely at least have fun with this one. Heck, it was more fun than Spectre.

All in all, this is certainly not the lamentable, offensive, bag of crap some of the clever clog reviewing community is making it out to be, it's just too cluttered really but at least it has a go. We were thinking 6 but to be honest, there is violent, punchy, fun to be had if you don’t think too hard about it, yes it is nowhere near as strong as the first but with villain infomercials, barmy epidemics, douchebag presidents and a scene-stealing cameo, this is still a bit of crowd pleaser (our screening was lit). Messy for sure but any movie with a sinister burger scene at least deserves a watch.


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