Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Released on September 22, 2017 Rating:
With their headquarters destroyed and the world held hostage, members of Kingsman find new allies when they discover a spy organization in the United States known as Statesman. In an adventure that tests their strength and wits, the elite secret agents from both sides of the pond band together to battle a ruthless enemy and save the day.
Everyone knows to go see sequels with lowered expectations. Yes, there is the rare instance where a sequel surpasses the original (Aliens, The Godfather: Part 2) but more often it is a film running on the fumes of the original film’s success. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is what you’d expect. A fun, second adventure staying true to the first film, but coming in short when compared to the first.
Kingsman is a film series that is a spoof on the James Bond franchise, but these films do it better than I’ve ever seen other films try to do the same thing. It is campy, like CAMPY, and doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is key. Like its predecessor, The Golden Circle is full of dramatic and stylized fight sequences that are the epitome of cool, and a lot of fun to watch. In fact, it’s these fight sequences that are the only aspect of this movie that can hold its own against the original film. (Thankfully, it’s a big part of both films.)
This film has the same smart humor, and this time is packed with A-listers (Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Elton John, Julianne Moore, and Channing Tatum) that are new characters and were not in the original. I’m wondering if the film overcompensated by packing itself with big names, because overall the film was so much “less” than the first. I enjoyed the new characters, and the performances are up to snuff but they can only do so much with the material given – everything else suffers from severe sequel-itis.
Let’s start with the story. The story (not the script, but the actual premise) is kind of dumb. A drug cartel leader wants to legalize drugs and spreads a virus, holding the world ransom for the antidote until countries legalize all drugs. I’m not going to read this as a stance or commentary taking aim at drugs or the war on drugs – that is giving the film way too much credit. It takes drugs in stride with the same humor it uses with everything else. But battling a drug cartel leader whose endgame is to legalize drugs just doesn’t seem that sinister to me. Especially compared to the first film, where the villain believes human beings are a plague destroying the Earth and so handpicks survivors to be saved Ark-style while killing the rest of humanity with a serious bioweapon spread through cellphones (yeah, it was preposterous but oh so smart/fun at the same time). The story in this film just wasn’t there. I want the world to be in serious danger, where a villain actually has a horrible agenda rather than just wanting their business to be legalized.
Next is what I call the “extermination” of pretty much the entire original cast in this film. In the beginning the villain deals Kingsman a serious blow and I understand destroying bases, wiping out their tech etc. I even understand a meaningful death or two, but this was not that. Instead, key characters with a strong following were killed in a flash. Pretty much everyone. The mass casualty seemed unnecessary at best, but I’m going more with the word: stupid. On top of that, no one had a death scene because you saw a flash and everyone was said to be dead, but died offscreen, so they weren’t all that meaningful. This seriously irked me. (They also killed a dog offscreen, and if you know me at all – this is my big no-no. Animals killed, as opposed to dying from disease or old-age throws me when I see or read about it, and it’s hard to get back to a good place.)
Another gripe is the runtime. This film was twenty minutes longer than the original, when, if anything, it should have been shorter. The Golden Circle was seriously padded, unnecessarily long and several times I wondered if it had been edited at all. I didn’t lose my interest, but I could also think while watching, “What’s the point of this?” or “They really don’t need this.” If my mind goes there, entertaining or not, it’s not a good thing.
Still despite all of its faults, The Golden Circle is still a lot of fun, entertaining and funny with a brand-new cast of stars that elevate it from a performance aspect. Still worth seeing, just go into knowing that it is a sequel and set your expectations from that fact.