Action Adventure

'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' Film Review: A ridiculous plot and an underused cast can't diminish the fun of this spirited sequel

September 22, 2017Ben MK

Blending over-the-top violence and a suave-yet-street-smart attitude, the original Kingsman had just what it took to rise above the sameness that is the espionage-action genre. Now, two-and-a-half years later, the world's most bespoke secret agents are back with Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

Picking up shortly after the first film, The Golden Circle finds Eggsy (Taron Egerton) living in domestic bliss with the Swedish Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström), secure in the knowledge that he and the rest of the Kingsmen have saved the world from the evil schemes of supervillain Raymond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson). However, it doesn't take long for that peace to be shattered, when a sociopathic drug kingpin operating out of her 1950s-themed Cambodian hideout (Julianne Moore) decides to obliterate Kingsman's top agents with a simultaneous missile attack.

Left to pick up the pieces, Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) find themselves traveling to Kentucky, USA, where they join forces with Kingsman's American counterparts, Statesman. Led by Champ (Jeff Bridges), Statesman offer up their resources and their best agents — Tequila (Channing Tatum), Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and Ginger Ale (Halle Berry) — to help with the new mission. But more importantly, they reunite Eggsy with his mentor, Harry (Colin Firth), who, it turns out, survived a bullet to the head, thanks to Statesman's state-of-the-art technology.

Admittedly, what follows tests the boundaries of plausibility, even by Kingsman standards. However, that's not to say the movie suffers much for it. With a ridiculous plot that involves robotic dogs, people being tossed into meat grinders, and a scheme to threaten the President of the United States (Bruce Greenwood) into legalizing narcotics by infecting millions of drug users worldwide with a deadly "blue rash," returning writer/director Matthew Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman have churned out what may be the most bizarrely entertaining Bond adventure ever.

If there's a legitimate complaint to be made, however, it's that the vast majority of the new cast members — Moore, Bridges, Tatum and Berry included — don't figure into the story nearly as much as one might expect, leaving Pascal to pick up the slack. Thankfully, the Narcos actor and his character's electrified lasso manages to keep things interesting. Of course, it also doesn't hurt that the film receives a little boost from the Rocket Man himself, Elton John, whose extended cameo as a fed-up celebrity hostage ends up being the most hilarious part of the movie.

Suffice to say, this spirited, slightly overlong, but no less ambitious sequel manages to perfectly capture the tone of the original, while at the same time avoiding the feeling of a rehash. Bolstered by a terrifically charismatic — if not underused supporting cast — and a thrilling mix of dark humor, comic book violence and twisted political commentary — not to mention a WTF moment or two — The Golden Circle succeeds in bringing the series full circle. But when the result is this much fun, it's hard not to imagine that we'll be seeing these characters again.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle releases September 22nd, 2017 from 20th Century Fox. The film has an MPAA rating of R for sequences of strong violence, drug content, language throughout and some sexual material. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 21 min.

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