The sequel to the surprise box office and critical hit Kingsman: The Secret Service is here. Once again directed by Matthew Vaughn this sequel has big shoes to fill if it’s going to come close to being as good as the first.
The basic outline of the story is when the world is held hostage, the Kingsman must team up with their American allies the Statesmen, in order to stop the enemy.
I’m going to get straight to the point with this one, this a bloated sequel. The story feels rushed and somewhat uninspired. The film does ask an interesting question in regards to the legalisation of drugs in comparison to alcohol, but the issue is, that type of subject matter cannot have the desired impact as a theme in a film, when that film isn’t supposed to be taken too seriously and when it’s as over the top as this film is. The script for this sequel is severely missing the level of finesse that made the first film work so well, there’s more than a dozen jokes that just didn’t land for me, there were a couple good laughs but the ratio of successful jokes was way off. I have no problem suspending my disbelief whilst watching a film of this nature, they could show me any gadget and I will be on board with what that gadget may do, no matter how outlandish the function may be. That being said the main plot gets so silly in the third act that I actually couldn’t suspend my disbelief anymore. The elements of the script that almost always work are the more quieter character moments. When you look at the film as a whole there isn’t much character development through out, whereas the first film had plenty. When we do get little moments of time with some of the key characters they ended up being some of the better aspects of the film.
The two standouts from the cast this time round are Mark Strong as Merlin and Pedro Pascal as Agent Whiskey. Mark brought an added layer of depth to his role and it felt like the script paid attention to him in particular, with an attempt at a more emotional character arc. Pedro was great in his role creating a very likeable character who was awesome in his action sequences. Taron Egerton was once again full of charisma in his performance as Eggsy, and Colin Firth had more freedom to do something a little different with his portrayal of Galahad this time around, in terms of bringing a little more of a dramatic edge to the role. As for Channing Tatum’s Agent Tequila he was disappointingly absent from the majority of the film. He felt like a glorified cameo, meanwhile there is an intended cameo from a musician that I won’t spoil, that overstayed their welcome and was actually featured in the film more than Tatum. Halle Berry fit the her character Agent Ginger Ale very well as a companion to Merlin, in terms of being one of the more tech savvy agents. Then we are left with Julianne Moore’s Poppy Adams, she is the main villain of the film and she is most certainly different from most villains we are used to seeing these days. Her performance is eccentric and whimsical and it works for the most part, but as the film reaches it’s climax she begins to feel like an after thought and there isn’t a satisfying conclusion to her character in this film.
Matthew Vaughn directs in a similar manner to the first which is expected and the actions sequences are helmed in a very entertaining fashion. The problem is in the first film, the stylistic flair used during these sequences, in terms of the cinematography and music felt fresh and exciting. It feels a little stale in this film because it’s used during every action sequence and at times the camera moved so rapidly around the action, that it became difficult to actually see what was occurring. There are a couple IMAX sequences that certainly added to the thrilling experience of the action. The use of songs worked quite well, one of the final fights was cut to Word Up by Cameo which is a surprising choice but it fit the sequence impeccably. The musical score was great, the main theme for the Kingsman remains as one of the best original pieces of a film music in the past few years.
Aside from the story, the biggest issue I have with this film is the run time. It’s far too long, it definitely could’ve been much shorter. There are entire ten to fifteen minutes scenes that could’ve been completely removed from the film and it wouldn’t have affected much. At a point I started to fidget in my seat as I became a little bored, I checked the time and realised there was a further forty to fifty minutes left of the film, at that very point it felt like I had just began an endurance test. Nobody should feel like that when watching a film.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a bloated sequel with a messy story that is far too long, the action is entertaining even if it was tough to see what was happening at times. If you were a big fan of the first you’ll probably find even more to enjoy about this film, but if you don’t fit into that category then you can skip this one until it’s on home release.
(2 Stars out of 5)
Kingsman: The Golden Circle – Starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry and Channing Tatum.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn.
In U.K. Cinemas now. In U.S. Cinemas Friday 22nd September.