An adventurous sequel to a 2014 spy action thriller, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is a witty, thoroughly enjoyable film that never leaves the audience without something to marvel at.
Matthew Vaughn returns to direct this most recent installment of the “Kingsman” franchise. Masterfully blending action and comedy, Vaughn continues to subvert expectations and make “Kingsman” into one of the freshest film series in recent memory.
“The Golden Circle” was a stellar addition, pitting old characters against new in a fantastic spin on the previous film’s formula. When a new threat destroys most of what the Kingsmen hold dear, they must seek out their American counterparts, the Statesmen.
With a colorful cast chock-full of Oscar nominated actors and actresses, “The Golden Circle” will leave your head spinning with appearance after appearance. Taron Egerton returns as Eggsy, accompanied by Mark Strong as Merlin. Joining them are newcomers Channing Tatum and Pedro Pascal as Statesmen agents.
Also appearing are five Oscar winners, including Julianne Moore as the new villain Poppy, Halle Berry as the Statesmen’s support agent, Jeff Bridges as Champ, the charismatic leader of the Statesmen, and two other actors, for the sake of spoilers and fun surprises, won’t be named in this review.
The film is brimming with action from start to finish. Within the first 30 seconds of the movie, the audience is treated to an outstanding car chase with incredible choreography. The fight scenes in this movie are so entertaining to watch that one stops caring about who will win.
With very few cuts or edits, “The Golden Circle” instead uses special effects and masterful shots to keep the audience enthralled. While some scenes may be light or absurd at points, “Kingsman” never loses sight of the real, bloody stakes in its action, and the heroes struggle and fight as much as the villains.
Music in this movie is never wasted or abused, and even carries weight and plot significance at points. Visually, the film is complex and stunning, with camera shots and angles that will pleasantly surprise the viewer at every turn.
If the film has any weaknesses, it’s the tragic underutilization of Channing Tatum and Sophie Cookson, who played Agent Tequila and Roxy, respectively. Both actors have lesser amounts of screen time. This is surprising for Tatum especially, considering his top billing on the project.
In performances, the actors deliver at every turn. The standout performance of the film is Moore’s villainous portrayal of Poppy, a drug tycoon who wishes to legalize marijuana. At the center of her performance is a sharp, biting commentary on the stage of the war on drugs and the incarceration system, and at points the audience will begin to wonder which side is more to blame.
This leads up to a decision made by the American president that lampoons much of American culture. If that dampens the excitement, be aware that “Kingsman” is a British film series, and is based from that point of view. This will, however, give the audience the opportunity to laugh loudly at the American stereotypes that permeate the film. Personal favorites are the use of baseball bats and lassoes as weapons and the fact that Statesman agents are named for alcohols.
“The Golden Circle” is a roller-coaster of action and adventure. Charming spies and rough cowboys frolic through the plot and action with ease and comfort. Any fan of the first film should grab tickets to see “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” in theaters.