Back in 2015 I deemed Kingsman: The Secret Service to be the best movie of that year. It was fun, exciting, action packed, funny, great actors, the list goes on. My excitement over the past two years leading up to the release of the sequel to the big hit, I couldn’t wait to go back to the non-bond movie that has some of the best action sequences I have seen in years in addition to John Wick franchise.
This film Kingsman: The Golden Circle provided a lot of what made the first one great but with an added 12 mins to its running time from the first one, this entry changed its tone by providing some questioning moral dilemmas, more sentimental moments, and misused characters.
The ENTIRE gang is back in this 2nd feature to the franchise as we see our favorite secret agent Eggsy, Taron Egerton, doing what he does best, being a total bad ass in style while saving the world. He stumbles upon a new super villain plot while tackling someone from his past. Through his investigation, the Kingsman Headquarters gets destroyed with only 2 new members left standing to tell the tale. Alongside Eggsy is Merlin, the advance tech specialist, played by Mark Strong once again, as their protocol for such a catastrophe brings them to the U.S.A. to join their secret sibling service called The Statesman. There they are introduced to a whole new organization they had no idea who existed. This adds more characters for us to explore and watch as we take a look how the yanks handle terrorism in the world.
Additional characters were a great move on Matthew Vaughn’s part to add a little flare in addition to the amazing work he brought in from the first one. Working for the Statesman is Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, and Pedro Pascal. All of them with codenames after a specific drink, which I thought was funny. What they brought to the table was essential to making sure this movie isn’t exactly like the first and also expands the world of the Kingsman lore. Statesman do things quite different than the Kingsman and just watching them work together was something new and exciting to watch.
Here is what was in the movie that didn’t need fixing:
The chemistry between the characters was still there and better than ever. Watching Eggsy work with his partner in crime Merlin just felt like old times. We also get an update on how Eggsy’s friends are doing and how they fit into his life while keeping his occupation a secret. We also get to see his continuing relationship with Princess Tilde. You remember her, the one who offered butt sex if Eggsy saved the world. Unfortunately, that is how she was remembered from the first movie so they expand her storyline with figuring out his relationship with Eggsy as she is aware of his double life but wants her man to meet her parents, The King and Queen of Sweden. While working alongside The Statesmen, it showed that adding in new people to franchise didn’t take away the chemistry with them all.
The fun and colorful action sequences were front and center. One thing about this franchise is that the fight scenes looked great. Sometimes you may think the Kingsman mastered the law of gravity, their choreographed fighting style, car chases, cool gadgets, and gun play all worked once again in this sequel all while wearing the best tailored suits that didn’t have one seam untangle. Great camera work and use of their environment just adds to the fun and reminds you why these movies are successful so far.
The villain is just as smooth, polite, and diabolical just like in the first one. One thing I liked about Samuel L Jackson’s villainous character in the first film was that he wasn’t your typical villain. He didn’t care about exposing his identity to the world once he tried to dominate it. He was very polite and didn’t like blood or being overly violent, and his style in clothing definitely didn’t show fear in the hearts of men. He was a business man and he was a threat with loyal subjects all done with a smile. I thought they would have changed that up and go a different route with the villain but I am glad they kept it the same. This time around it’s a woman instead of a man who is up to know good. Julianne Moore is our formidable foe who is using a different tactic to get her way in the world. From the trailer you can’t tell she is the villain because she is just as bubbly as the rest of the cast in this movie. I will say that she is a lot more dangerous and threatening than Jackson’s character. She did a good job playing this deluded woman set out for world domination and control. I think that the plan she puts into play will get people talking. Her plan kind of touches on a subject that is pretty visible to the world without a successful solution.
This is where the movie changed its stripes for me that didn’t suit well to my liking. Below are also going to be some SPOILERS so don’t read any further if you haven’t seen the movie. I’ll keep it light.
The trailer revealed one of the biggest potential twist they could have shown. Colin Firth, whose character, Harry Hart, mentor to Eggsy, met his demise supposedly but manages to show up alive and well with the exception of losing an eye from a gunshot wound to the skull. I understand that you give the people what they want and give them a reason to see your film by using the trailer. I don’t think this needed to be seen to bring people in. The first one was so successful, just the title logo is enough to bring fans to check out the sequel. Especially to those who haven’t seen the first movie, that was a potential spoiler to those who haven’t seen it. To some, that part of the trailer didn’t make any sense and yet the reveal was used as the hook to get people curious about the movie. Since I do know the significance of the reveal the trailer made it seem awkward ending the trailer that way. As for his character in the movie, his scenes were a little off with the storyline given to him which didn’t really seem to entertaining in the long run. Towards the end of the film is when you get to see him shine again as the tough and well-trained killing machine with manners. Leading up to those moments though was a lot of repetitive mourning that just gets old after the 10th time they establish that he is not the same.
Another thing that kind of bugged me about this movie is that the women characters in this film were used very poorly compared to the men in the film. You have Halle Berry who plays, the Stateman’s tech specialist. She is basically the female Merlin in a way. She gets no storyline or character development like we get to see with Merlin. It was a missed opportunity because with the other statesman, the screen time between the three additional male characters we got to know most of them. They tried to add a little bit of depth with Berry’s character towards the end but if it gets more explored, it will have to be because the decide to do a third movie. I would have liked if she had gotten the same treatment as Merlin.
Another character that we actually know more of from the first one got a horrible follow up to her succession from the first one and that’s Sophie Cookson’s Roxy. She was sort of Eggsy ride or die in the first movie while they were training together. They both were the only successors of the first one to join the Kingsman and yet in this feature she had maybe two or three scenes before she becomes part of the fatality along with the rest of the secret service. I don’t know if she was taken out to make room for the statesman but it just seemed like such a waste to include her so much in the first to easily remove her as an expendable character which didn’t even create a sad shock value and more of an annoyance. Sorry Sophie that your character was treated so poorly.
Then there is the infamous controversial sex scene that has gone through word of mouth even before the movie was even released. My curiosity was peaked as to how they were going to tackle and overdo the anal sex implication provided from the first one. This particular scene in question I won’t spoil but it really felt like an icky and uncomfortable visual of violation to a women’s body. I will let you see for yourself but I didn’t particularly like what I saw. Even from a comedic stand point, it didn’t do anything. One thing I will say is that even though actor Taron Egerton felt really uncomfortable doing it and preferred not to. Egerton pointed out in an article the opportunity to change things up from the over misogyny and somewhat sexist ways of James Bond himself and how he treated women in his movies, this time around Eggsy actually had a more dilemma about going through with it for the sake of the mission. Bond given the opportunity, his character back in the day wouldn’t have no problems doing it. So, I guess in a way this is a change of pace.
After my rant, I would say that this movie is still worth the watch. There are a couple of things in addition that I didn’t make too much sense of but I am still recommending this feature on your list of early fall movies to see. I still want to see more from this franchise and I also think that Vaughn is on the fast track to becoming one of my favorite directors when it comes to action films. With this movie being longer than the first one, I was hoping for more fun and love for these characters as I did in the first one but there was just something missing in this entry but no regrets at all. The movie will get more love than hate.