Kingsman: The Golden Circle isn't as good as the first one, with an overly long running time and some questionable plot choices, but there are enough laughs to make up for it.
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Summary: 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.
The first Kingsman movie is what happens when a studio plans for a movie to come in second at the box office instead of first. It was a funny little spy movie that made some great casting choices and took that number two spot with pride. Some good word of mouth helped keep it there for several weeks, and what felt like an one-off was suddenly getting a sequel.
The marketing for Kingsman: The Golden Circle has been pushing the fact that this is going to be a much bigger movie. And it is a bigger movie — bigger cast, some big ideas, a longer runtime — but none of those things feel like they improve the movie in any real tangible way. The original cast handles themselves fine — there isn't any need for all of these new faces with the Statesman, and they ultimately don't do anything particularly interesting.
There has been some seriously misleading marketing when it comes to this movie. Most of the Statesman, with the exception of Pedro Pascal, have hardly any screen time. Channing Tatum is in and out with barely a tip of the hat, Halle Berry has a somewhat interesting plot but she doesn't get much to do, and Jeff Bridges is there and back again with nothing but a few quick jokes. If the marketing didn't focus so much on them, it wouldn't be so bad; but this movie has been telling us that these characters are major when they aren't.
These potentially interesting characters, and several others, are all shelved to give the anal joke princess, Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström), an entire plot. The way they bend over backwards to justify bringing Harry (Colin Firth) is admirable, but aside from having obvious brain damage, they don't do much with him, either.
While there are plenty of jokes that will make you laugh, there are also a few that once again step over the line. This time it involves a honey pot mission and tracker going somewhere on a woman's body. It doesn't come across as funny — it's just gross — but the movie seems to think it's hilarious.
Our villain Poppy (Julianne Moore) is fun, but aside from pushing some buttons on tablets and whistling for her robot dogs, she doesn't have that much to do. Elton John has a fun cameo that's good the first few instances — until they forget the rule of threes and let it go on a bit too long.
There isn't a specific fight scene as deliciously over-the-top as church scene in the first film, but combined as a whole, the fights in The Golden Circle probably get to that level.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle wants to be bigger and better than the first movie, but seems to forget some of the things that made the first movie great. The missing elements are hard to replace as they try to build a world where the entire plot is about death, but death doesn't seem to really matter. It's serviceable, with some glaring problems, but these could be fixed if this franchise gets a third installment.