KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE review by Rahul Vedantam – a crazier sequel isn’t exactly better

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE review by Rahul Vedantam – a crazier sequel isn’t exactly better


The phrase “turn your brain off” is normally used to defend a flick that involves too many plot inconsistencies in its premise, but offers heartwarming and cathartic conclusions. I want to use that phrase for KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE, which could very well describe how it inundates the audience with more action and humor than might be necessary (as the film is well over two hours long), but each action sequence is well executed and the entire movie rides strong on its spectacle. If you enjoyed the first KINGSMAN, you will likely love this one.

When and old nemesis (returning actor Edward Holcroft) shows up and cripples the UK Kingsman organization, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) must travel to the U.S.A to find their last hope in the Statesmen, a sort of Kingsman sister organization across the pond. Led by Champ (Jeff Bridges), and including agents Tequila (Channing Tatum), Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and Ginger (Halle Berry), this southern cowboy-esque group has a bit of hidden information of their own on Eggsy’s amnesia-afflicted mentor Harry (Colin Firth). With their help, they must track down The Golden Circle, a mysterious drug cartel led by Poppy (Julianne Moore) a cartoon-ish kingpin with a love for robots and 50’s themed diners. She has poisoned the world through recreational drugs and is asking for the legalization of her practice in return for the antidote. When the U.S government fails to act, it’s up to the Kingsman to save the world, and for Eggsy save his love, Princess Tilde (returning actress Hanna Alstöm).


If all that sounds ridiculous to you… good, that’s the point. The film is self-aware about how silly it is but drops dollops of the cheese with a smile. A throwaway joke from the last movie becomes an emotional plot point in Eggsy’s girlfriend? Sure. Brutal violence and tons of action sequences resembling the church scene from last movie? Why not. Pedro Pascal fighting using an electric laser whip and over-sized cowboy revolvers? Absolutely. Everything is a cartoon; this movie is an experimentation in excess. If there is aspect of the film that truly exemplifies this it is Elton John’s role in the film. I use “role” instead of “cameo” because he is in the film long enough for it be considered more of a full character. He initially shows up playing himself, kidnapped by Poppy to be her own personal singer. It appears to be a simple surprise appearance, but then he shows up in another scene just to show Poppy’s power. And the another when he in full Elton John colorful feather attire, even drop kicking a goon in a poster-like shot. What should have just been a small fun cameo become at least fifteen minutes of Elton John getting more and more ridiculous.

But all this only appeals to a certain audience, and there are only so many college dorm rooms. The film stumbles every time it tries to apply an emotional beat. Whether it’s trying to get Harry to recover from his amnesia, or Eggsy and his girlfriend having relationship trouble, these moments are always undercut with humor or aren’t dramatic enough to fit with the rest of the movie. They drag the proceedings, mainly being used as plot points to be overcome rather than emotional depth to the characters. In fact, this film doesn’t have much depth at all, it mainly follows the same formula as the first outing, but with the classic Southern adage of bigger is better.

If you found the first KINGSMAN a nice breath of fresh air from the overly serious and grimy James Bond films we have received recently, then this breath will be just a bit staler. If you loved the first movie for its use of spectacle, humor, and cartoon-ish violence, then get ready to love this one even more.

And here’s the red band trailer:

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE opens September 22, 2017

Be Sociable, Share!

About the Author