Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Pedro Pascal, Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, and Hanna Alström.
Synopsis: With their headquarters destroyed and the world held hostage, members of Kingsman find new allies when they discover a spy organisation in the United States known as Statesman. In an adventure that tests their strength and wits, the elite secret agents from both sides of the pond band together to battle a ruthless enemy and save the day, something that’s becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy.
Released in 2014, Kingsman: The Secret Service was one of the biggest surprises in the entire comic-book movie genre. Director Matthew Vaughn delivered a thrilling and uniquely hilarious first chapter of a new franchise, so it’s not surprising to see that the sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, has become one of the most anticipated movies of the year. Yet again helmed by Kickass director Matthew Vaughn, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is just as thrilling, funny, and action-packed as the first instalment, but it’s hard to deny that The Golden Circle doesn’t match the quality of that first chapter, especially when it comes to character development.
Over the years, Matthew Vaughn has cemented himself as one of the most creative and stylish directors in Hollywood. More than once, the director has used his unique vision to create a thrilling adventure and Kingsman: The Golden Circle is one of the Vaughn’s most exhilarating and stylish films to date. Instead of creating a run of the mill sequel, Vaughn has concentrated his efforts on building a movie which doesn’t recreate everything that was good in the first film, but takes what worked and builds upon it. The director isn’t afraid to make difficult decisions, whether that means cutting characters or switching the overall tone of the film. Even when Vaughn throws us into one of the crazy, unrealistic action sequences, he is fully committed to the narrative and the characters.
Speaking of the characters, unlike Kingsman: The Secret Service, which introduced and developed its characters wonderfully, the sequel is pretty hit and miss. Taron Egerton continues to kill it as the lead, and Eggsy remains secure as the franchise’s most appealing and compelling character. In fact, the same can be said about most of the (surviving) characters from the first film. It’s always worrying when a major franchise brings a dead character back to life, but thankfully Vaughn came up with an impressive way to bring Colin Firth back, that also helps the franchise to build this world outwards and introduce new concepts. Moving on to the “hit and miss” aspect of the characters, I hate to say that the Statesman members of the cast are far less interesting and entertaining as I had hoped. Yes, Pedro Pascal looks awesome with a lasso, but flashy action sequences don’t make up for one-dimensional characters.
Looking specifically at the story, Vaughn has come up with an interesting and entertaining narrative to continue Eggsy’s story and develop the concept of the Kingsman. The mission that we see the Kingsman go on and the introduction of the Statesman are handled well, although, at several points throughout the film, it seemed like Vaughn was relying too heavily on the silly side of the franchise, which was distracting during some majorly impressive sequences. It’s also worth noting that Julianne Moore is the obvious weak link in the film, and while following Samuel L. Jackson as the villain couldn’t have been easy, I found Moore’s villain to be overly cheesy, and the threat against the characters never felt authentic.
It’s very rare for a film to deliver everything it needs to in the limited time available, with most films either stretching too long or missing the mark. Unfortunately, Kingsman: The Golden Circle drags itself out, with the third act delivering multiple sequences that could quite easily have been cut. This doesn’t stand as a major issue, but when you start to check your watch, it’s clear that the film is dragging itself out unnecessarily.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is just as crazy and stylish as the original, and Matthew Vaughn has created an exhilarating and hilarious sequel that adds enough to the franchise to be a worthy follow-up. With that in mind, it’s hard to ignore the glaring issues in this film. Between minor pacing issues, weak character introductions and a lacking villain it’s clear that the second chapter in the Kingsman franchise doesn’t come close to the original.
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