Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth & Mark Strong
Rating: 15 Duration: 141 minutes Release date: 29 January (UK)
The first Kingsman film was an unbridled joy. The way in which it would send up the po-faced seriousness of Daniel Craig and Sean Connery’s James Bond in favour of the more goofy Roger Moore films was a refreshing take on the stale spy film. It had charm and good looks in Colin Firth and Taron Egerton, and with Matthew Vaughn at the helm, it also had the confidence needed to make a film like that work. So, where do we go with the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle? Well, we get a film so ludicrous it borders on parody and a film that is not shy about who it offends or to what extent. It’s like that bloke down the pub who re-tells jokes he’s heard down the other end of the bar. Yeah, we’ve heard that one already mate, now piss off.
The film starts by reuniting us with Eggsy (Egerton) who is now a fully fledged Kingsman agent. Matthew Vaughn wastes no time in settling the audience back in, and before we know it Eggsy is scrapping with a rejected Kingsman agent from the first film while Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy plays at full blast in a black cab. It’s an absurd scene and immediately sets the tone for the rest of the film. What follows shatters the very fabric of the world built in the first film and does it all while giving the audience a nudge and a wink, just in case you weren’t getting the joke. It’s like that bloke down the pub who, oh wait. The, very, loose plot involves a drug cartel known as The Golden Circle who are led by Julianne Moore’s Poppy Adams. Poppy puts a toxic implant into easily available drugs such as heroine which has killer consequences, because no one dies from drugs do they! The Kingsman are all simultaneously attacked leaving only Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) left. The two seek help from their American cousins – Statesman – and attempt to save the world, again, but differently from last time, slightly.
It really is a shame that Kingsman: The Golden Circle is not a better film. The chance to make a quality sequel to the original film is bypassed in favour of turning everything up to 11 and literally no fucks are given if it makes sense or even looks good doing it. The CGI on show is poorly put together and feels rushed in order to make a deadline. Likewise, the script is lazy and gives little credit to a film that is firmly aiming for low brow. The cameo, if you can even call it that, lasts way too long and Colin Firth’s return (sorry, but it’s even on the poster) is about as natural and deserved as fruit on a pizza. Oh, and the whole Glastonbury bit where Eggsy has a crisis of conflict over whether to finger a woman and insert a tracking device inside her is mortifying. And the introduction of the various American cousins is seriously misjudged. Jeff Bridges does little, while Halle Berry is largely confined to a desk as the Statesman’s go to tech girl. Channing Tatum is frozen out, genuinely, which is a harsh waste of his talents. Even the ever reliable Julianne Moore is shackled by a role that demands she spends the majority of the film in an abandoned zoo.
There are moments in the film that remind you why Kingsman can be so much fun. Mark Strong is dependable as ever and has, perhaps, the films most memorable scene. Taron Egerton is charming and has bags of energy, but even he looks bored at times. Which is a testament to how badly things have gone so quickly for this budding franchise. If there is to be a third film in the series, then it needs to be much better than this.