When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman's journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.
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The first Kingsman: The Secret Service
was a surprise hit, a comedic riff on the James Bond formula with over-the-top violence, characters, and a sharp wit. Its follow-up, Kingsman: The Golden Circle
, picks up where the first film left off and never misses a beat, delivering everything fans expect from a sequel. The action is bigger and more stylish, the cast is larger and more diverse, and, most importantly, the story fits the mold of a sequel - it ups the ante while exploring new corners of this comic book universe.
The focus of Kingsman: The Golden Circle
is still on Eggsy (Taron Egerton), the newly minted Kingsman agent, but this sequel broadens the reach of the secret spy world. When Kingsman is attacked by a new super villain named Poppy (Julianne Moore), Eggsy and tech expert Merlin (Mark Strong) enlist the help of their US counterpart, The Statesman. With agents named after alcoholic drinks like Tequila (Channing Tatum) and Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), Statesman is a less suave spy agency but no less accomplished. With a common goal, the two groups join forces, primarily Eggsy, Whiskey, and a very not-dead Harry Hart (Colin Firth), to take out Poppy.
Because the world of Kingsman
is so rich, very little of what happens in The Golden Circle
feels cliché or predictable. Poppy is as much of a maniacal villain as Samuel L. Jackson's Valentine was in the first film, with plenty of odd quirks and mannerisms. She, too, wants to gain a certain level of power, but her means to an end are completely different and actually pretty sadistic.
It's that sharp-toothed nature that makes Kingsman: The Golden Circle
stand out and feel just as fresh and new as its predecessor. The film imagines heroes and villains that are not afraid to accomplish their goals by any means necessary, and maybe toss out a quip or two along the way. But the violence and action rarely feel gratuitous, thanks to the direction of Matthew Vaughn and some incredible choreography. If nothing else, the Kingsman
movies have a distinct style that flows with the action and avoids the quick cuts of a traditional Hollywood blockbuster. Every fight scene or shootout is a dizzying ballet that feeds of the energy of its music choices and will oftentimes leave the viewer breathless by the end. It might seem odd to say that bloody fight scenes will bring you joy, but that's the best way to describe Kingsman: The Golden Circle
: it wants to entertain through creativity and style more than anything else.
But flashy action can only get a film so far, and luckily Kingsman: The Golden Circle
has a stellar cast to bolster its entire production. There is an overabundance of talent in the film, and every character has a new element to add to the proceedings. Some are given more time to shine than others, and the film never strays too far away from Eggsy, Harry, Merlin, and Poppy, but you can tell that every actor involved enjoys this franchise and wants to do right by it. An action spy movie where spies use umbrellas and bullwhips as weapons is very unconventional, but Kingsman: The Golden Circle
embraces all of its quirks. As a matter of fact, it is those quirks that give the film personality.
Like the first film, Kingsman: The Golden Circle
aims higher than the popcorn blockbuster with a sense of style, an immensely talented cast, and a compelling story. It's enjoyable throughout, with larger action sequences and a far-reaching scope. The only true criticism of the film is that it isn't nearly as funny as the first, choosing to focus more on the slick action and world-building than subverting expectations through comedy. Luckily, that's a non-issue when a sequel like this is so fun, and Kingsman: The Golden Circle
is plenty fun.
The best compliment for Kingsman: The Golden Circle
is that it never downplays its action through quick cuts or obvious CGI. Yes, there are effects-heavy moments, but the most memorable are the tightly choreographed, high energy sequences that ooze style. In a genre where cannon fodder is all too common, Kingsman: The Golden Circle
finds a way to make the first gunshot and the 50th gunshot feel unique, all while a thumping soundtrack drives the action forward. There were small flashes of what Matthew Vaughn could do with action in The Secret Service
, and The Golden Circle
delivers on those promises in spades. This film may not be as funny, but is easily more exciting, and for action fans, that is a huge selling point.