Kingman: The Golden Circle falls short of predecessor

Jarrod Flaherty
Staff Writer

kingsman-the-golden-circle-poster-1COURTESY OF FARAWAYENTERTAINMENT.COM

Bigger is not always better.

In 2014, a film called Kingsman: The Secret Service was released, and it took everyone by surprise. Delivering great action, a witty script and notable performances, The Secret Service did what James Bond hasn’t been able to do in years: make spy films fun again.

Now, two years later, comes The Golden Circle, which takes place directly after the events of the original. This follow up seemed to be everything that made the first one so fun, just turned up to eleven.

However, it is disappointing to say that although The Golden Circle tries to be louder and bigger than its predecessor, it never quite comes close, and in the end, loses the qualities that made the original so new and fresh.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is directed by Matthew Vaughn and stars, once again, Taron Edgerton, Colin Firth and Mark Strong. Some of the new cast members include Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges and Pedro Pascal.

The sequel follows the character, Eggsy (played by Edgerton) as he is living the life of a Kingsman: nice suits, fast cars, a glass of scotch always at the ready.

After a high-octane opening car chase with an old enemy, we find the Kingsman without a home or an organization, seeking help in the United States. With the help of the Statesman, they look to take down Poppy (played by Moore) who is trying to poison all drugs so they can be legalized.

On paper, this cast sounds great. Filled with former Oscar winners and nominees, you can’t help but wonder how so many great actors are in this film. However, most, if not all, are completely wasted. Tatum, Berry and Bridges barely have anything to do here.They feel useless, as if anyone could have played their parts.

As for Moore, her character is a kingpin and the leader of The Golden Circle. She lives on an island away from the rest of the world, but no one knows who she is.

However, she plans to become known by poisoning her own supply. If that sounds like the worst plan in all of films, it’s because it is. She acts like an idiot throughout the film and is never menacing. She comes off more like a cartoon character than an actual compelling villain.

As for the returning cast, Edgerton and Strong are great here. Eggsy is still the brash and funny hero, and Merlin (played by Strong) is still the man that the Kingsmen would be lost without.

Then there is Firth, who returns as Harry Hart, a father figure to Eggsy who was shot and killed in the first film by its villain, Valentine. Now, one would hope that the way they bring Harry would be fresh and interesting, right? Nope, not the case here. The reasoning for Harry’s return is lazy and uninspired and doesn’t make any sense.

The film’s story is also very weak. The first act is a good one, and leads you to believe that this might follow a “John Wick”-like storyline. However, what we are given is a basic and over-the-top story that is hard to take seriously. A missed opportunity for sure.

Even though this may be a disappointing follow up, the film does have some bright spots. Vaughn, once again, directs a film that looks great and has some fantastic action-set pieces. The action here is fun, fast-paced, violent and shot very well. It is easily the best part of the film.

In the end, The Golden Circle isn’t a bad film. However, compared to The Secret Service, it never comes close to what made that film feel fresh. Filled with a bloated story, underutilized characters, an unimaginative villain and a cameo that you want to stop before it even gets going, The Golden Circle is a letdown for Kingsman fans and actions fans in general.

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