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KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

Written By:

Andrew Pollard
Kingsman: The Golden Circle

2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service was an absolute riot of a film. Playing like a suave, sleek, action-packed, foul-mouthed offspring of the James Bond pictures of yesteryear, the adaptation of Mark Miller and Dave Gibbons’ much-loved comic book instantly became a huge favourite of many a genre fan. And now, the follow-up to that picture – Kingsman: The Golden Circle – has landed on Blu-ray and DVD.

Plot-wise, the action picks up with Taron Egerton’s Eggsy at the very top of his game, now fully immersed in the elite world of the Kingsmen. That’s not to say he’s forgotten his roots, of course, for Eggsy is still equally at home chilling out with his mates as he is saving the world. As it so happens, it’s yet another world-saver that’s required from him here. This time out, Julianne Moore’s insta-grinning Poppy Adams is the threat. While she could easily have been pulled straight off the set of Happy Days, Poppy isn’t quite as well meaning as her chirpy demeanour would have you believe, for she heads up the nefarious Golden Circle drug cartel. Like any good villain, she has her sights set on global dominance – this time by trying to force the President of the United Sates to grant her and her cohorts immunity in their trade of choice – and it’s down to Eggsy and Co. to team with their American counterpart, Statesman, to save the day.

In terms of tone and narrative, Kingsman: The Golden Circle very much follows its predecessor. The humour is intelligent yet ballsy, the action intense and never afraid to be brutal, and the performances of the film’s key players are all absolutely pitch-perfect for what is required. Bringing the Statesman organisation to the fore also works splendidly, with the initial yeeha cowboy element of the group meshing brilliantly with the bullish British attitude of Eggsy and Mark Strong’s Merlin – two of the last few surviving Kingsmen after Poppy makes the majority of the organisation go “boom!”. Pedro Pascal and Channing Tatum completely nail it as two of Statesman’s finest, while Halle Berry is great as their resident tech whizz, and Jeff Bridges is as cool as they come as the group’s head.

For the villain of the piece, Julianne Moore has never been so terrifying! While she may initially seem like she spends her days baking apple pies and jiving around her kitchen, that pleasant and pleasing sheen goes out of the window as soon as some poor soul is put through her mincer and cooked up as a juicy burger. Making this all the more sinister, Moore barely ever the takes the smile off her face or the spring out of her step.

Make no mistake about it, The Golden Circle is a fresh, vibrant effort that both pulls plenty from the first movie while similarly not being afraid to veer off in its own path. On that front, director Matthew Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman deserve ample credit, and this truly feels as if they took all that made 2015’s Kingsman great and turned it up to 11. Egerton is again as charming as ever as rascal-done-good Eggsy, and we see a slightly more mature and softer side to him here in how he’s now shacked up with Princess Tilde (Hannah Alstrom) – the Swedish royalty he rescued at the end of the first picture. Then we couldn’t not address the return of Colin Firth as Harry Hart. Yes, we were a tad miffed, too, when all of the trailers for The Golden Circle showed Harry back from the dead following his demise in the first film, but his reappearance is actually handled rather wonderfully in The Golden Circle.

If there’s one major complaint about this sequel, it’s the runtime. The action and energy of the film never massively wanes, but it does feel as if The Golden Circle would’ve been best served by losing 20 minutes or so of its excessive 2 hours 20 minutes runtime. In fairness, the length is only 10 minutes more than the first movie, but it’s a lot more noticeable at certain points here. All in all, though, this is a fun, ferocious follow-up to one of the most enjoyable films of recent years, and we can only hope that Eggsy et al are back for a third outing at some point down the line.

Special Features: Ten featurettes / Kingsman Archives

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: MATTHEW VAUGHN / SCREENPLAY: JANE GOLDMAN, MATTHEW VAUGHN / STARRING: TARON EGERTON, MARK STRONG, SOPHIE COOKSON, JULIANNE MOORE, CHANNING TATUM, HALLE BERRY, PEDRO PASCAL, JEFF BRIDGES, COLIN FIRTH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

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