Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton & Julianne Moore
Review Author: Shaun
Rating: 2.9 / 5 Tailored English suits
The first Kingsman was not grounded in a gritty reality as many spy films are nowadays. It took a very flexible approach and was a love letter to the more far-fetched spy films with goofy gadgets and a story to match the ridiculousness of it all. It appealed to an audience that didn’t know it still enjoyed the type of film Kingsman was. Now, like many one-hit wonders, it would rather have the success of being a decent sequel rather than thriving off the acclaim it already received. Kingsman: The Golden Circle could tell a different story, however, after all a bit of light-hearted entertainment is good for everyone. But something had changed, a shift in the status quo.
The general rule of a sequel is to ensure that it holds up and is on par with the original. Now looking at Kingsman, that’s an enormous task to undertake especially since this is Matthew Vaughn’s very first attempt at a sequel and it is an attempt that falls short of the mark. Unfortunately for Vaughn, recycling events from the first film does not equal a good sequel. Many of the iconic moments from the first Kingsman film are tweaked and given a makeover to create the illusion that what you are watching is fresh and new, but the giveaways are painfully obvious from repeated dialogue to similar camera angles.
The massive amount of talent attached to this film is incredible and it is easily one of the most impressive casts this year. However, the newest characters importance is questionable. It’s as if the film wants to take the characters from point A to point B but instead end up somewhere in the middle, unfulfilled and wasted. For instance, the combined brains of Merlin (Mark Strong) and Ginger (Halle Berry) make you think they would become closer but it feels like that important character relationship is forgotten about. Even the big selling point of Channing Tatum as Tequila is shameful as he is rarely in the film at all. He is briefly reintroduced to us in glimpses but it’s so easy to forget about him, he gets less screen time than an Elton John cameo, which tells you everything.
It’s not exactly in bad taste that a film can use star power to entice its audience, but their characters have to be at least somewhat relevant to the story. The President of the US (Bruce Greenwood) is introduced during the middle of the story and is instantaneously given a central role to the narrative. There is no introduction or build up. It comes across as a desperate attempt to wrap up story-lines. Also, the role Harry (Colin Firth) plays is as if he was thrown into the at the last moment script just because he was a popular character in the first film. His reintroduction is far too complicated, a simpler explanation would have sufficed.
Nevertheless, although we have ourselves a case of what I call the sequa-virus in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, it still manages to be very entertaining due to its action scenes. It utilizes the quick zoom in/out style cinematography and long takes the first film became famous for. The final action sequence raises your heart rate due to the exhilarating gunfights and the over-the-top weaponry used. While the opening scene matches the same intensity, I do have one issue with it. It opens with the title of the film and then comes the action scene, I feel it would still have the same effect if the two had been switched around as the scene feels very much like the opening to a Bond film before the famous opening titles.
Kingsman is by no means an outstanding film, its flaws are evident through languid writing and inconsistent character motivations. While it may disappoint some audiences, it is still very entertaining to watch thanks to the films overall silliness. Kingsman was such a breath of fresh air from the pragmatism of the Daniel Craig Bond films that it was a big reminder of how fun the genre can be. The Golden Circle has lost sight of its reason for existence and has given way to the purpose of becoming an overblown franchise. It could have easily achieved the same praise from being a standalone film without the need for a sequel.