Writing 3-star reviews for movies are tough.
What you are essentially doing is telling your reader all the bad things that are in the film while simultaneously urging them to pay money to go see it. It’s a frustrating balance, one entirely mirrored by the experience of settling down to watch the Kingsman sequel.
It’s somewhat a shame and the first Kingsman was a boffo surprise which played like uncut joy pumped into your fun-arteries. A cheeky riff on Roger Moore area Bond which embraced the campiness while also giving it the middle finger, it’s a full blooded experience that even now, after repeated viewings, bring tears of joy to my eyes during it’s anything-goes action scenes.
To follow such a surprise was, in hindsight, always going to court disappointment, and while The Golden Circle is not by any stretch of the imagination a bad movie, some plot missteps and some over infatuation with it’s own universe gives the Kingsman’s sophomore mission a distinct, if not fatal case of sequelitis.
Sunny drugs baron Poppy (a magnificently perky Julianne Moore) has concocted a plan from her jungle located 50’s style homage to suburban America, to hold the world to ransom to legalize drugs and launch a strategic strike on the secret service agency Kingsman. Streetwise agent, Eggsy survives and teams up with Statesman, the U.S. cousin to Kingsman to bring her down. Along the way madness ensues, including robot dogs, an electric lasso, an extended Elton John cameo and a character or two back from the dead. While certainly stuffed with incident and rarely dull, the real problem with The Golden Circle is it’s missing it’s real heart. The original movie was about a yob from the streets making good and becoming a salty James Bond, the sequel has Eggsy fully establish and is just another mission. It utilizes the dangling threads from the first instalment well, the Princess from part one is now Eggsy’s girlfriend and a rogue trainee is now a full fledged henchman with a robot arm. It all flows pretty well but all the Statesman stuff, while fun, doesn’t actually add anything to the story. Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges and Halle Berry add NOTHING to the story except add exposition when needed and action wise there’s nothing here to touch the gonzo church fight from the original.
What has been expanded on the the rather childish sexual humour. If you didn’t like the joke about anal from the climax of the original, you’ll hate the Glastonbury fingering gag. Personally I though it was pretty snigger-worthy but some seemed to be really upset about it.
Other flaws taken on board (the Elton John cameo starts to grate pretty damn quickly) this is a fun, very colourful, night out. It’s just nowhere near fun as colourful as it was a couple of years ago.
A third outing would be welcome but it really needs to do better at keeping the British end up.