In 2015 director Matthew Vaughn with the help of longtime screenwriting partner Jane Goldman turned the movie spy conceit on its head with the twisty and welcomely frenetic Kingsman: The Secret Service. It became an instant smash, grossing more than $400 million worldwide and creating a star in the making with Taron Egerton. He plays Eggsy, the London street tough who transformed into a super spy after being recruited into the British spy organization called Kingsman who use a tailor shop as their front.
Along with characters like the suave secret agent Harry Hart played by Colin Firth, and tech guru Merlin played by Mark Strong their movie made a strong impression on moviegoers looking for something wildly different in a tried and true genre that still counted on James Bond for its kicks. A sequel was inevitable and as I say in my video review (click the link above to watch) it is bigger and certainly more colorful than ever with the second film taking on a host of new American co-stars and a villain that grinds her victims into tasty cheeseburgers. Sound like your cup of English tea? If you have to ask the question you clearly don’t know the Kingsman formula and ought to stay away. Fans, on the other hand, should be pleased.
Plotwise Kingsman: The Golden Circle opens with the titular spy organization viciously attacked and nearly wiped out with the exception of Eggsy and Merlin who stow away to their backup safe zone which happens to be in Kentucky where a similar terrorist fighting organization called the Statesmen was formed the same day originally as Kingsman. It consists of a bunch of faux cowboy American stereotypes led by Champagne (Jeff Bridges) and featuring trigger happy Tequila (Channing Tatum), tech nerd Ginger Ale (Halle Berry, behind big glasses), and Whiskey, a Burt Reynolds style western hero played by former Game Of Thrones co-star Pedro Pascal.
Their front is a Bourbon company hence the liquored up names they go by. Their mission is to team up with their spy cousins from across the pond to defeat Poppy Adams, a take-no-prisoners villainess played to the hilt by Julianne Moore who looks like she is having a blast in the little South Asian village she has created called Poppyland where she runs a drug cartel. It seems to have come straight out of the ’50s “Happy Days” vision of America, the country she misses but can’t go back to. It is here she runs a lethal operation promising grisly deaths to any who get in her way. Of course, that means the two spy groups who must save the world from this misguided evil nutcase. At least she kills with a pleasant bedside manner.
Now it wouldn’t be Kingsman if somehow Colin Firth were not back in some capacity, and indeed he is even though we saw him die, at least in a long shot in the first film. Vaughn has found a way to credibly bring him back which is exactly what you can do in a sequel. I won’t spoil how they manage this comeback but Firth’s Harry joins Eggsy back in action, and I do mean action — which is pretty much non-stop throughout the overlong and very loud 140-minute running time. O, and did I mention that Elton John turns up in this thing as, well, Elton John and it’s pretty funny stuff since he is the private entertainer for Poppy, feathers and all. Elton isn’t much of an actor, but he is a good sport and gets laughs in spite of himself. The cinematography, production design, soundtrack, and fast paced editing are all right on target in a bloated action vehicle that makes a promise to deliver Kingsman devotees a much larger serving of this madness that doesn’t take itself the least bit seriously, and neither should anyone else. It figures that it is all based on a comic book. Vaughn, David Reid, and Adam Bohling produced the 20th Century Fox release which goes wide this Friday.
Do you plan to see Kingsman: The Golden Circle? Let us know what you think.