Rob Reviews "Kingsman: The Golden Circle"
Fifty-five percent on Rotten Tomatoes seems a bit off to me when it comes to “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”. I can see the standpoint of this sequel to “Kingsman: The Secret Service” setting the bar as high as it did three years ago to the point where what followed it would not be able to measure up. However, the flaw to that logic is that the first film was one of those out-of-nowhere hits that just took the world by storm and this one brings the audience back to the characters that are established with some new ones as well.
With Matthew Vaughn back in the directing and co-writing chair (Jane Goldman returns here as well), our story takes place one year after the first film ends, with Eggsy (Taron Egerton) well-established as a Kingsman code named “Galahad,” living in the former residence of his mentor, Harry Hart (Collin Firth) and trying to balance both constantly saving the world from evil and keeping up with his girlfriend, Princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom). When a global drug dealer named Poppy (Julianne Moore) makes a move towards global domination, Galahad and Merlin (Mark Strong) must find and enlist the help of their American counterparts, known as the Statesman. Hidden in a bourbon distillery in Kentucky, they meet up with agents Ginger Ale (Halle Berry), Tequila (Channing Tatum), Champagne (Jeff Bridges), and Whiskey (“Narcos” star Pedro Pascal) in order to once again save the world and maybe even meet up with an old friend who may or may not know who and what they are.
For people that find the classic James Bond films to be a little dated and the Austin Powers films to be way to hokey, Vaughn does his best to bring those fans back into the over-the-top spy genre fans back into the fold. One of the things that I love most about both “The Secret Service” and “The Golden Circle” is that they require such a suspension of disbelief that they both seem to work on every level, giving me that sense of awe and wonder with the right balance of humor to keep the story moving. I did find the second installment to not be as well-paced as its predecessor, having me feel all of its two hour and twenty minute run time, but that did not keep me from enjoying my time in the theater. The difference with “The Golden Circle” is in a story that is more complex than “The Secret Service”. There are a lot of things going on here, especially with a few twists and turns, and that can (and does) weigh down a film like this quite a bit. Again though, it didn’t make me enjoy it any less and it still does not justify the level of reviews that I am seeing online about it. And even the over-the-top violence effects from the first are toned down here, and that didn’t bother me either. At a certain point, we as critics have to stop expecting everything to be a cinematic masterpiece that can only be truly enjoyed by the elite whose nostrils haven’t pointed towards the ground since the Renaissance and just go “is this an escape from the chaos that exists outside of this auditorium?” in order to truly review a film. In the case of “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” the answer to that question is “yes, yes, yes”. It shows a maturity of the journey we follow Eggsy on, and honestly, I am looking forward to its next installment.