Anthony's Film Review
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)
The second Kingsman spy action movie continues the fun of the first...
It's the fall of 2017, and if you're like me, you cannot wait for the next James Bond movie to come out in two years, and you want a fun Bond alternative to keep you amused in the meantime. If you're also like me, you saw Kingsman: The Secret Service back in 2014 and decided that it's fun like Bond, yet unique enough on its own, and definitely serves as a good Bond alternative. That's the reason why I eagerly watched the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I enjoy exciting spy action involving British secret agents.
This is a good time to briefly compare Bond and Kingsman. The Bond Formula of 20-plus films and counting has ingredients like exciting action, fast cars, beautiful women, exotic locales, megalomaniacal villains with grandiose evil plots, spy gadgetry, witty one-liners, fine alcoholic drinks, high-stakes gambling, and a feeling of suaveness that permeates it all. The Kingsman series may have only two movies so far, but could be described with its own formula: exciting action that is more bloody and violent, beautiful women with the sex meter cranked up, vehicles and gadgets that are quite over the top, megalomaniacal villains with grandiose evil plots who are more likely to be disgruntled Americans, language that is never afraid to be vulgar, and a feeling of lighthearted humor that permeates it all. In Kingsman: The Golden Circle, expect to see a unique supervillain headquarters (a replica of a 1950's American town in a mountainous jungle), a naughty encounter with a beautiful young woman in order to plant a surveillance tracker (the naughty part is WHERE the mission objective must be completed), a fight in the backseat of a speeding car (a lot can happen in a tight space), and a suitcase that doubles as a machine gun (the storage of so many bullets is not explained, but just suspend disbelief). In addition, there are some elements in this movie that are unlikely to appear in a Bond movie, including the act of singing to distract armed enemy agents, Elton John in captivity, the idea of swimming in raw sewage, and robotic dogs.
Following the events of Kingsman: The Secret Service, the young Kingsman named Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is pulled into a crucial mission after missile attacks destroy the Kingsman centers in England. He and another surviving Kingsman, Merlin (Mark Strong), enlist the help of the Americans. Not the CIA, but the Statesman organization, a secret independent spy agency operating out of a brewery in Kentucky, similar to the Kingsman and the namesake tailor shop in England. And while the Kingsman agents are mainly code-named after key characters of the legend of King Arthur, the Statesman agents are mainly named after alcoholic drinks, including Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), Tequila (Channing Tatum), Ginger Ale (Halle Berry), and Champagne (Jeff Bridges). As for the villain with the 1950's American-style headquarters, it's a drug cartel leader named Poppy (Julianne Moore).
The story centers on the joint Kingsman-Statesman effort to uncover Poppy's plot, infiltrate her organization, and save the world. Obviously, that summary sounds quite formulaic. And it probably should, because while there are a few moments in the movie that can be considered surprises, there are really just a few such moments. Also, this is a movie that is probably better viewed after seeing Kingsman: The Secret Service, because it assumes you already know who certain returning characters are. But don't let that discourage you from seeing it if you didn't watch the first one. You can still enjoy the current story, and you can always see the predecessor later to fill in the gaps.
As for the action, it's still eye-popping fun, just like the first Kingsman movie. The only thing I should really note is that the climax, though still nice, may feel like a step down from the climax of Kingsman: The Secret Service. Ultimately, how you feel depends on perspective. You might like a high-octane climax even if it's formulaic, or you might complain about that kind of climax being formulaic. You might think the climax in this movie is weak, or you might think it avoids being over-the-top. Again, it all depends on your point of view.
For me, my rating for Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the same for Kingsman: The Secret Service simply because it's the same experience of fun, laughs, and excitement. At this point, I'm starting to imagine myself saving the world while wearing a Kingsman suit and drinking Statesman whiskey, at least until I can once again imagine myself saving the world while wearing a tuxedo, driving fast cars, sleeping with beautiful women, and doing other cool stuff. You can be a Kingsman or Statesman too if you want. But whatever you do, don't eat any hamburgers at Poppy's Diner.
For more information about Kingsman: The Golden Circle, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my review of Kingsman: The Secret Service.