Kingsman: The Golden Circle review - God save the king
Who didn't like the original Kingsman? Packed with OTT action, a willingness to laugh at both itself and its genre, and a great ensemble cast, the movie was an enjoyable watch. Attempting to cash in on the goodwill generated by it, director Matthew Vaughn returns with Kingsman: The Golden Circle. However, unlike the effortless whimsicality of its predecessor, The Golden Company comes across as a forced, cliché-heavy slog.
In The Golden Circle, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is back but without the might of Kingsman, after an drug cartel kills all the agents. With Merlin (Mark Strong) the only other Kingsman who survives the attack, the two set out on a quest to avenge their destroyed organisation and save the world from the crazy cartel boss Poppy (Julianne Moore).
Along the way they're helped by another secret agency consisting of Champ (Jeff Bridges), Tequila (Channing Tatum), Whisky (Pedro Pascal), and Ginger (Halle Berry).
More the messier
It's clear right from the start of The Golden Circle that Matthew Vaughn knew what audiences liked about the original. This awareness should, ideally, have been a good thing. But it isn't. In an attempt to outdo the original, Vaughn takes all of the elements that worked in the original, pumps them full of steroids and clumsily shoves them down the audience's throat.
The action, therefore, has gone from ridiculous to simply corny, the star cast is positively bursting at the seams (including Elton John in a costume that's actually bursting at the seams), and an evil villain who starts off alright but gets increasingly less bearable.
The movie seems so sure that it can get by on these tropes alone that it makes no attempt at conceiving an intelligent plot. Instead, it plods along for an agonising two and a half hours with only its star cast and memories of its predecessor keeping audiences in their seats.
The original was never an intelligent movie. However, it was enjoyable enough that audiences were willing to suspend disbelief in favour of entertainment. Vaughn, though, seems to have misinterpreted this tolerance for stupidity. As such, the movie treats the audience like a bunch of idiots, serving up forced conflict and silly deus ex machinas without an ounce of suspense or mystery.
The humour in the film is the only thing that keeps the movie from devolving into a complete wreck. The movie is peppered with lighter moments that help keep the audience invested, or, at least, awake. There's ample physical humour, some light satire on racial stereotypes, politics and the news, and Elton John as a foul-mouthed hostage.
While none of this was at a level where you'd think about it later and laugh, it did manage to draw a couple of chuckles and giggles from the audience. While this may not seem like much, it was a godsend in an otherwise silly movie.
The cameo cast all do their roles without too much fuss, however, one does feel for the likes of Bridges, Berry and Strong who are parodies of their usually strong characters.
Should you see it?
Probably not. Just watch the original again and use the ticket money you saved to order in some munchies.