After the blinding success of Kingsman: The Secret Service it seemed only natural that there would be a sequel right around the corner. And here we have it: Kingsman: The Golden Circle hit cinemas last week and it has been a box office smash.
The basic plot is as follows: “When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy” (Source: IMDb).
Given that a big selling point of the first Kingsman film was the British gentlemen’s take on spy work, it feels like crossing the Atlantic to find the Statesman (the American version of Kingsman) was a decision made purely to increase the franchise potential of Kingsman, rather than further the story. While it might have been quite funny to see the two sides mock each other, the Statesman side of things didn’t really do it for me.
The Golden Circle is lacking in certain key areas, which brings down the general quality of the film; the story is nowhere near as engaging as The Secret Service, which had the rags-to-riches plot driving it. Plus, the first film had the huge advantage of feeling new – the fish-out-of-water character was done in a new way, and it played out like the modernised re-vamp of the classic spy movies, particularly Bond. The Golden Circle‘s narrative doesn’t have the same novelty as the first, and is much more generic. The Statesman are supposed to act as the hook this time, but fail in that regard. The sense of humour is also lacking in comparison to The Secret Service. The most obvious place you can find this is the Elton John cameo. It was funny the first few times, but quickly became stale.
That said, the film is still fun and retains its exaggerated offensiveness, even if it is a somewhat lacklustre version. The action sequences hold together for the most part, and most of the jokes and references hit their mark. The more touching moments are consistently the most successful element.
Much of what kept this film alive is the performances. Taron Egerton is fantastic as Eggsy, Colin Firth is great but it is a shame that the trailer already revealed his return. Julianne Moore did her best with a horribly two-dimensional villain. None of the Statesman characters bar Pedro Pascal’s Whiskey have enough to do. It was nice to see Hanna Alström’s Princess Tilde become more than just the butt of a horrendous joke (pun 100% intended), even if she did only play the damsel. The stand-out is Mark Strong as Merlin, who is the highlight of the film.
If ‘Manners maketh man’ is the Kingsman motto, then the Hollywood motto, judging by this film, is surely ‘Sequels maketh Hollywood.’ The Golden Circle is still an entertaining watch, but it lost quite a lot of that Kingsman magic somewhere along the way and ultimately felt unnecessary.
Kingsman The Golden Circle is in cinemas nationwide now. Image source: 20thCenturyFox.com