Our favourite tailors are back in “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”, a direct sequel to 2014’s “Kingsman: The Secret Service”, which introduced us to the new hot property, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton). Following the death of his mentor and partner Harry Hart aka Galahad (Colin Firth), Eggsy steps up to be the new Galahad and works alongside Merlin (Mark Strong aka #NotStanleyTucci) and the rest of the Kingsman agents across Britain.
Former Kingsman trainee Charlie Hesketh (Edward Holcroft), now rocking a mechanical arm, ambushes Eggsy outside the Kingsman headquarters one evening, and manages to hack the systems and launches an attack on the Kingsmen across the country, with the assistance of Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), who is holed up on an island somewhere running her own drug cartel. The attack results in the death of all the Kingsman agents, with the exception of Eggsy and Merlin, who implement their ‘Doomsday protocol’, leading them to America.
It’s here we are introduced to the American contingent to the Kingsman corporation, The Statesman, with Champagne (‘Champ’) (Jeff Bridges) heading up the organisation, which fronts as a Bourbon-Whiskey distillery. The team is populated by the apt-alcohol-code names Ginger Ale (Halle Berry), Jack Daniels/Whiskey (Pedro Pascal aka #NotJeremyRenner), and Tequila (Channing Tatum). The two corporations team up to take down Poppy, whose drugs are poisoning people worldwide and essentially putting them on a very short death sentence.
With the mission of course comes other complications, including a strain on Eggsy’s relationship with Princess Tilde (yes, the same girl who he was involved in the somewhat controversial sex scene at the conclusion of “The Secret Service” – played by Hanna Alstrom), the loss of agents in the field, the old ‘who is the double-agent’ question that pops up in every spy movie, and of course the moral debate over the legality of drug taking.
Director Matthew Vaughn has a very unique and stylised way of filming, which looks pretty incredible on the big screen. It’s also got the potential to make you a bit queasy so sit back from the screen and perhaps avoid IMAX – that’s my only advice there. Vaughn makes the action and fight scenes look incredible, and it really gives the impression that you’re a part of the action.
The casting in “The Golden Circle”, similar to that of “The Secret Service”, is spot on. Egerton as Eggsy is a rising star, and a handsome one at that, and will be reason enough for the girls to go and get a piece of the action. His lovable British accent and dedication to his Mrs, alongside his kick arse action and smarts is a recipe for perfection, and he is the star of the film. Firth’s return as Harry is a welcome one, and it’s a role he’s really meant to play. Step aside, rom-coms, we’d love to see Firth in more action roles like this one. Elton John has a cameo in the film, playing himself, and he offers some enjoyable comic moments, but I dare say he was in one scene too many, as the joke falls flat by the end of the movie. Overall, however, there are no weak links in the film, and that’s where “The Golden Circle” really shines. The only criticism I can offer here is that perhaps some characters were included but didn’t really need to be. Clearly The Statesman have their role to play, but we barely get to know them and some big names essentially get forgotten.
Running at nearly 2 and a half hours, “Kingsman” is not a short film, and it’s noticeable when scenes begin to drag and the plot should probably wrap up quicker than it does. You could cut at least 30 minutes here and not feel like there’s anything lost. Not the scene with Mark Arnold (aka #NotHenryRollins), though.
Overall though, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is an enjoyable ride, and has an engaging storyline and a top notch cast. Bring on “Kingsman 3”!