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Kingsman: The Golden Circle
A Review

This weekend, I had the privilege of watching the 2nd installment of the Kingsman franchise, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, directed by Matthew Vaughn.

IF YOU DO NOT WANT SPOILERS, DO NOT CONTINUE READING. 

K?

K.

The sequel picks up shortly after the end of the first movie with Eggsy (Taron Egerton) engaging in a fast-paced car chase in which one of our villains is introduced. The character's face is vaguely familiar, and it turns out he's the spurned Kingsman applicant from the last movie - Charlie (Edward Horcroft, see right) - except he's missing an arm. Well, it's less missing than it is replaced by a shiny, metal one with bionic strength and such.

Within minutes of the chase's conclusion, Vaughn unceremoniously wipes out the majority of the characters we grew to love in the first movie (the loss of one character hit a whole lot harder than the others, but I'll leave that tidbit for when you watch).

We also find out that Charlie is reporting directly to our supervillain and drug lord, Poppy (Julianne Moore) who is intent on legalizing drugs by spreading a fatal disease through her wide-reaching products so that The Powers That Be (in this case, the President of the USA... hah) are desperate to do anything so that the antidote is released.

Here's where we get to the spoilers. Harry (Colin Firth) is back! Granted, they ruined that spoiler in the trailer (see below) before the movie was even released, but that was their choice to make, no matter how stupid. I'm still a little salty about that if you can't tell.


Turns out there's another spy group similar to Kingsman in the US, except they're a ragtag group of gun-toting cowboys under the guise of a whiskey manufacturing company called Statesman (see what they did there?).

The Statesmen are able to save Harry with some advanced medical technology, but the aid was not delivered without some setbacks. Harry lost his memory and regressed back to his college days before he joined Kingsman.

So there you have the general premise: the now-decimated Kingsmen must join up with the Statesmen to 1) help Harry get his memory back and 2) save the world once again by 3) defeating the nefarious Poppy.

Here are the problems:

  1. The Statesmen are supposed to be based in Kentucky, but the writers seem to have no idea what Kentucky is actually like. The characters were much more like Texans than Kentuckians, and that was really off-putting for me throughout. I mean, one of the characters even has a lasso. A lasso.
  2. Misogyny was, once again, prevalent. In the first movie, Priness Tilde (Hanna Alstrom) is a princess who exists solely to to be captured by the villain and rescued by our hero, Eggsy. Don't even get me started on how she rewards his oh-so-heroic behavior with anal sex. They continue this narrative by killing off one of the only female characters with autonomy at the very beginning (Roxy, played by Sophie Cookson) and replacing her with Ginger Ale (Halle Berry), who laments that she is always passed up for promotions by the other men in the organization. Sure, the villain is a woman, but we'll go over the issues I have with her next.
  3. Poppy. Ohhhhh, Poppy. I don't know if it was the writing or if it was Julianne Moore's performance (probably a little bit of both), but this character was forgettable for me. She was mentally unstable and irrational, and there was nothing about her that grounded her in reality. For Christ's sake, she was living in the middle of BFE in the replica of a 50's-era town that she created for herself. Add in the quickness of the plot, and you've got a villain that is nothing to write home about.
Now, after all of that, it may seem to you that I hated the movie. I didn't. I most likely won't be buying it, but there were some things that I thoroughly enjoyed.
  1. Like the first installment, this movie progresses at a fast clip, which makes some of the above problems seem less problematic. It's 2 hours and 20 minutes that surely don't feel more than an hour and 1/2. There's a lot to take in, and it's incredibly diverting.
  2. The cinematography is beautiful, and there are a plethora of shots, slow-downs, and cinema magic in this movie that keeps the audience ooh-ing and ahh-ing. Now, it's nothing we've not already seen before, but I admired the skill that was shown.
  3. Merlin (Mark Strong) is the best thing in this movie. Sure, Eggsy is our main character, but Merlin is the glue that holds the whole thing together. Strong's performance is practically flawless, and I enjoyed watching every moment he was on screen which, luckily for me, was a great deal this time around. And I really do mean every moment. You'll know what I mean after you watch it.
So let's get down to the nitty-gritty.


Was it as good as the first one? No.
Could it stand alone as a movie all on its own? Not really.
Was it enjoyable? Hell yes.


Kingsman: Golden Circle is not even close to a perfect film, but it's a passable 2nd movie to lead into a potential 3rd. If they choose to explore the option of a 3rd installment with Statesman's Tequila (Channing Tatum) at the helm, I'd be interested to see what they make of it.

Did you see it? What did you think?

Peace.
Stef.

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