“Manners maketh man, and mediocrity maketh sequel”
By JOHN BLACKBURN
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is a film that I had so much fun with when it was released a while back. I remember seeing it on my birthday, and it was enjoyable. From its action scenes and constant James Bond parody style, to main character Eggsy’s (played by Taron Egerton) great hero’s journey, to that church fight scene with Colin Firth and some amazing cinematography and choreography. So I got just as excited when I heard the sequel was coming out, and with some nice action scenes and a combined all-star UK and American cast, the trailer had raised my hopes. But what I got for watching this time was honestly both lame and disappointing.
“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” sees the return of Egerton as Eggsy, as he goes up against a quirky, upbeat drug lord, obsessed with ’50s nostalgia, known as Poppy (played by Julianne Moore). Eggsy is assisted with the help of his co-worker Merlin (Mark Strong), the Statesmen over in America (who include Pedro Pascal, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, and Channing Tatum) and the resurrection of the original Galahad, Harry Hart (Colin Firth). On a positive note, the performances were fine— with the exception of a certain cameo that kept popping up a lot, but we’ll get to that— and the cinematography was upbeat during the nicely choreographed, but repetitive, fight scenes, even though at times the camera work went unnecessarily too far and resulted in it being a bit difficult to follow. However, the biggest problem is that the film is filled with plot points that are either forced or predictable, as well as a bunch of plot-holes, all due to wanting to ride the coattails of the original.
For example (SPOILERS), Harry Hart comes back to life thanks to the American Statesman but, unfortunately, now with amnesia. The thing is that it’s painfully obvious that he’ll get his memory back and return (because first movie), and this plot point is just used as padding. Also, while the Statesman do appear in this film, they don’t get as much screen time as would be expected, with the exception of Pascal portraying the lasso-wielding Statesman Whiskey, who does have a pretty interesting back-story. Tatum is pretty much out of the rest of the film after a few scenes, Berry gets a subplot for less than 10 minutes, and the finale only features the Kingsman. Speaking of the finale, one of the final fight scenes between Eggsy and a henchman with a robotic arm is entertaining, but resolved pretty lazily (and a certain device used to beat him isn’t used again for an even bigger importance later, but no spoilers there). And don’t get me started on that music festival scene with Eggsy and a horny girl. Everything about it got me asking questions, and thinking about other ways that scene should have gone.
As aforementioned, there is a certain recurring cameo in this film, and it’s none other than Elton John who was kidnapped by Poppy and placed in her ’50s obsessed paradise (even though he debuted in the late ’60s). Now look— I like Elton John. I like his music, and I have a big respect for his song-writing method, but he’s not a great actor. He does get one good joke in, but aside from that, his cameo got tiring very quickly (which is a shame because I LIKE ELTON JOHN!). Overall, this film is fine if you want to see the original cast do a curtain call as well as some fun fight scenes, but it doesn’t really have anything to offer that’s as good or better than the first one. Honestly, if you’re new to the franchise and saw the trailer to this film, you’re better off watching the original because this is the pure definition of a ‘meh’ sequel.