Movie Review | Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Movie Summary: When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman's journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organisation in the US. These two elite secret must band together to defeat a common enemy. (IMDb)
For some, a sequel means doing the same thing as the first film, because you know it works. For others, it just means taking what worked the first time and doing it much bigger and louder, hoping that will cover up the fact that without the first film’s story hook, there isn’t much else there.
Unfortunately, Kingsman: The Golden Circle ends up in the second camp, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be entertained while watching it. Yes, the story is a little shallow and simplistic, but everything is so well-executed, that you won’t really mind.
Characters, even when performed well, can only take your story so far when there is so little for them to work with. There isn’t anyone in this film that gives anything even close to resembling a sub-par performance, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any issues.
Killing off the Kingsmen, unfortunately including one of the best characters from the first film in the shape of Roxy (although I have a sneaking suspicion she’s not dead), is what sets up the rest of the film, which effectively just becomes a revenge story-line with little in the way of surprises or twists.
You would think that a sequel to such an imaginative first film would be more clever than it is, but all that seems to have happened is that the budget was increased, pushing the franchise into pretty much superhero/sci-fi territory rather than the James Bond parody of the original.
Obviously, with it being a Matthew Vaughn film, everything looks great, although there are a few noticeable occasions when CGI is used or something looks just a little bit ‘off’. Call it the uncanny valley of action if you will, but – much like fellow British Edgar Wright’s action – sometimes the combination hyper-stylised cinematography and choreography goes a little too far, breaking immersion.
Usually, so many complaints would be the hallmark of a poor film, or an average one at best. The difference here is that when The Golden Circle actually allows for some character work, it really shines. I will also acknowledge that when the actions scenes work, they really work.
The latter first, it’s actually the close quarters combat that’s the best, rather than when the characters rely on gadgets, highlighted by Eggsy’s final showdown with a returning antagonist from the first film. The final word in their rivalry is brutal, emotional, and cathartic all at the same time, while being deeply rooted in character.
Really, the film could have done with more of that, but it seems like Vaughn wanted to show off how much money he had to play with this time and the amount of super-advanced gadgets on display are there simply to provide expediency rather than tying in to the characters or the organisations they belong to.
Unfortunately, this is a continuing symptom of the film’s flaws. Not wanting to repeat myself, but the film really does appear to love itself a little too much at its worst, and there are too few emotional or heart-warming moments to tip it over into being a really good time.
Maybe so much negativity is being a little harsh on Kingsman: The Golden Circle, but I would say that what has been mentioned above are the major flaws of the film. This has been effectively a review praising by exemption – anything not mentioned here is good, if not great,
Perhaps in the third film – which Vaughn has already indicated he wants to make – the balance will tip back towards the characters who are as enjoyable as ever. But this particular Kingsman sequel is little more than a ‘shut off your brain and enjoy the dumb fun’ outing, no matter how well made it is.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle ultimately can't come close to capturing the magic of the first film, feeling like this franchise's version of a poor Roger Moore Bond film. While there is some good stuff here, the film feels like it's trying a little too hard and everything is just that little bit over-exaggerated, entering a 'dramatic Uncanny Valley' where you stop being engaged with what you're seeing on-screen.