Kingsman: The Secret Service was one of my favorite films of 2015. I was initially excited for the sequel, but when the cast was announced for the film it sounded like they were going in a more hokey direction and it turned out I was right. I’ll tell you now, this film isn’t nearly as good as the original, but then again very few films are. What many people like about the first film is that it felt like one of those old Bond films from the Roger Moore days (the ones the PC Police poo poo on these days) and focused on being more fun. While Kingsman: The Golden Circle is indeed fun, it is also an example of too much of a good thing is still too much.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle hits the floor running as only seconds into the film Eggsy (Taron Egerton) has found himself in the middle of a high-octane fight/chase with Charlie, the former Kingsman trainee who somehow survived the bomb in his head in the last film only losing his arm. Eggsy is able to escape, but not before being targeted by Poppy (Julianne Moore) who kills most of the Kingsman outside of Eggsy and Merlin.
With no leadership to turn to, they must fall on their last resort and follow the Doomsday protocol, sending them to the Statesman, the American cousin organization to Kingsman in Kentucky. There not only do they find an old mate, they assumed was long dead, but they discover that Poppy isn’t only after the Kingsman but the entire world.
One thing I actually really liked about this film is the conflict because it’s a great moral dilemma. Poppy is the largest drug dealer in the world, making $250 billion a year, so she decides to poison her own supply and offer an antidote at ransom. The catch? Poppy demands the US legalize all drugs or hundreds of millions of people will die. Now the obvious moral answer here is you can’t let that many people die even if they are Meth and Coke addicts, the real question is, is letting them die really THAT bad?
Seriously, this conflict allows there to be a gray area in the motivation and rationale of the heroes and the villains except for the President of the United States who is the sub-villain in this movie (Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more, say no more). Now there’s a reason why I said conflict and not plot because the plot is based on the assumption that the villain wants to legalize drugs which would crush her business in theory but why do that when you bragged about making a quarter of a trillion-dollar in the beginning of the film? There’s no true benefit to her as a villain. It’s like the writers didn’t put that 2 + 2 together when writing the plot (had to save that energy for the impeachment scene).
There were many flaws that were noticeable about The Golden Circle. The top one being Elton John. Yes, he is in the film and he is in it TOO MUCH. In what was a funny one-off cameo turns into a supporting role that stopped being funny an hour ago. I mean he’s in the film more than Channing Tatum and that’s a problem. The film is purposely cartoony doing things like bringing headshot victims back from the dead and turning suitcases into miniguns.
I had to feel that Julianne Moore was miscast as a villain because she came off as too childish to be taken as a sadistic sociopath they were selling her as. With all the big names like Halle Berry and Jeff Bridges attached to this project, none of them really stand out, it’s still Eggsy’s show for the most part which makes all the talent feel wasted in their roles, I mean hell why not just have Jeff Bridges play the President and Give him more to do? The runtime here is nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes but I honestly didn’t feel the time drag on like with other films this year.
Kingsman: The Secret Service set a high bar that Golden Circle simply couldn’t match, but Kingsman: The Golden Circle is still a fun enjoyable movie. Escapism is the key and Kingsman excels at being the Bond movie that Bond movies can’t be anymore…crude, violent, funny, and self-aware. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a solid popcorn flick to end a painful Summer Blockbuster season.