Eggsy, the street kid turned well dressed spy, is back to save the world in Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
A short time after the events of the first movie, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is living the life of a spy while still mourning the loss of his mentor Harry Hart (Colin Firth). After all the Kingsman are eliminated by an evil drug dealer named Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) are forced to head to Kentucky to get help from America’s version of the Kingsman known as Satesman.
The Statesman group is headed by Champagne aka Champ (Jeff Bridges) and is supported by special agents Tequila (Channing Tatum), Jack Daniels (Pedro Pascal), and tech expert Ginger Ale (Halle Berry). Yes, those names are real. I’m shocked they didn’t have a Shirley Temple on staff.
Eggsy and Merlin learn their old pal Harry is still alive and being held at Statesman’s headquarters. Harry was “killed” in the last movie after the insane church shootout. Ginger Ale provides a super ridiculous science-y explanation for how Harry survived a point blank gunshot to the head. Anyone who is all in on a laser lasso and an underwater car should be ok with absurd life saving technology. Of course, one of the side effects from saving Harry is temporary amnesia – action movies love using amnesia as a trope.
With no Kingsman, Eggsy must team up with his new found allies to stop Poppy before her designer drugs kill millions around the world.
As much fun as 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service was The Golden Circle is not as fun. It does some of the same action with none of the interesting things that made those sequences fun. A big part of what made the first film work was Samuel L Jackson’s incredibly fun performance as Richmond Valentine. Jackson saw the ceiling that said over-the-top and kept going. He was comically evil and that’s perfect for the type of film he was in.
As great of an actress as Julianne Moore is, her character Poppy reduced to a Susie homemaker villain and given very little to do. Poppy is menacing and feared by her team during the opening and the story steers away from at as the story moves forward. You can’t sideline your big bad in an action movie.
The action, much like the action from the first film, includes fun gadgets and tons of slow motion. The best sequence is chase scene/fight at the beginning of the film. It’s the type of strong opening that fans expect in an action movie. There’s more action scenes sprinkled throughout that remind audiences why they love Kingsman so much.
The best villainous action comes courtesy of Charlie (Edward Holcroft) who has a grudge against Kingsman after his run in with Eggsy in the last film. Charlie’s robotic arm is used brilliantly during the fight scenes.
The Golden Circle should’ve taken a hint from John Wick 2 and delved deeper into the spy world of Kingsman. Instead, the story is crippled by a pointless love story between Eggsy and Princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom). Eggsy’s love story feels completely forced and is the most boring part of the story. The runtime is only 12 minutes longer than the original. The Golden Circle being 40% less fun makes those 12 mins feel like 45 mins.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle had potential to be a fun sequel that told us more about Kingsman and the undercover spy world that supports it. It settled for more of the same in Kingsman, and even more of the same once they arrive at Statesman. It’s not a lazy sequel but a sequel that doesn’t build on anything new.