Kingsman: The Golden Circle is an action-packed joyride and a welcome addition to the action spy genre, but it’s not the masterpiece its predecessor was.
It’s hard to forget just how great the first Kingsman was.
This flick follows all the sequel rules – essentially offering up the same movie as before but ‘amplified’.
And that’s the problem: Kingsman 2 feels more like Kingsman 1.5, following roughly the same formula but pushing the already over-the-top action to zany sci-fi proportions.
The Golden Circle suffers a bit of an identity crisis by choosing to look backwards at what fans of the first one loved instead of forging forwards towards new territory with a more than capable cast.
Instead, we move from action set-piece to action set-piece, inching closer to the inevitable showdown with plot and character often feeling like afterthoughts.
All these indulgences are tremendous fun but this time we’re experiencing them without the grounding element of our protagonist Eggsy’s necessarily relatable, pre-spy life – which takes the shine off somewhat.
In retrospect, I think Director Matthew Vaughan may regret giving the villains robotic attack dogs, and the good guys laser lassos, and he’s definitely overestimated the fan-base’s love for Elton John (who IMO has an unwelcome amount of screen time).
Several interesting peripheral characters both new to this incarnation and from the prior film are treated lazily and disposably (Channing Tatum is criminally side-lined in his role as Statesman-agent Tequila…)
Julianne Moore does her best with saccharine psychopath Poppy but both the character and her appropriately ludicrous scheme never truly get out from under Samuel L. Jackson’s shadow.
Unsurprisingly returning to his role as the original Agent Galahad is Colin Firth. His is a cold and pointless resurrection that stands out as obvious fan service, ultimately offering nothing meaningful to the plot.
I’m coming down hard on this film, and that’s mostly because of expectations – it’s not a bad film; I daresay it’s a good film with a warm and fun cast, but ultimately The Golden Circle isn’t brave enough to cobble its quirky, ever- cool and stylish offering into anything as potent as its predecessor.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle opens Friday at cinemas nationwide – get your tickets here!