Kingsman: The Golden Circle
3.5 out of 5 — Jeremy Wood
After 2014’s surprise hit “Kingsman: The Secret Service, “ starring Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Firth and newcomer Taron Edgerton — you knew there had to be a sequel. The question, as with all sequels, was could the cast and crew recapture the magic that brought us the first movie? With “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” the answer is a resounding “YES!” The fun, the suspense and the all-out action is all back in this movie. Unlike the Bond movies, which have gotten away from the campy stuff and what used to be a man’s man, James Bond, “Kingsman,” is everything those movies used to be and more — with 2017 technology and situations, of course.
Matthew Vaughn is back to direct, and he keeps the ball moving with what will most likely be the second in a series of movies. If they can keep things the way they have been in the first two films, and continue to write interesting story lines with fresh and new ideas — then that won’t be a bad thing at all.
This storyline sees our heroes shortly after the events of the first movie, moving on with the loss of their good friend, Harry Hart (Colin Firth) and re-establishing the secret service as the pre-eminent protectors of the world — all under the guise of being a top of the line men’s clothing shop. With little time wasted, the action starts right out of the gate with Eggsy (Edgerton) coming face to face with a recruit that didn’t quite make the cut to join the Kingsmen in the first film. After a tremendous fight scene and car chase, Eggsy subdues his enemy and escapes just in time to get to his friend’s birthday party — but the fight and chase are just the tip of the iceberg as to what really is going on, as the enemy does just enough to hack the Kingmen’s database in order to learn the whereabouts of all of the secret bases and agent locations. With one fell swoop, the new villain, Poppy, played fantastically by Julianne Moore, wipes them all out with missile attacks — killing everyone and destroying everything that was the Kingsmen — with the exception of Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong). Poppy’s ambition is to rid the world of anyone who might deter her from becoming as famous and well thought of as any business person — with the small exception that she is the world’s biggest drug dealer. Merlin and Eggsy button up their sadness and set out to figure out what just happened, and who is responsible for it, by using their emergency protocols which lead them to a bottle of whiskey. After drowning away their sorrows, they discover the whiskey was produced by a company called The Statesmen in Kentucky, USA. Believing they have found another agency who can help — they set out to cross the pond and get help. Enter Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry and Pedro Pascal (who you’d swear is a young Burt Reynolds).
As I mentioned earlier, the Bond films as of late, have taken on a very serious tone. The levity and perhaps political incorrectness of the movies had been erased — in favor of a more action / Jason Bourne’ish tone. The Kingsmen movies take all of that back in spades. The guys are ladies’ men, the ladies are strong, and in some cases, seductive and dangerous. Without giving too much away for either film, the villains (such as Jackson and Moore) are just as fun as the main characters, and eat up the screen just as effectively. The action sequences are simply magnificent. How they film some of the things they do — I could never guess. I would love to be on set to watch just one fight sequence come together. The camera angles, cut aways, slow motion, fast motion and variety of shots is stupefying. My guess is just one of these five minute sequences take days to not only choreograph for the actors, but then weeks to coordinate, film and edit. The acting is terrific and the story line is genuinely thought provoking in regards to what should be done with the drug epidemic all over the world. In the end, the movie leaves that question a little blurry — but certainly shows there are troubling problems on both sides of the fence. And this film expands the universe into the good ol’ USA, bringing in The Statesmen. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if movies are spawned completely off of that concept in the future, in addition to continuing the Kingsmen and their adventures. I have really enjoyed these first two installments of — again — what I estimate to be several more films in the future. If you’ve see “IT,” and want a nice change of pace this weekend at the theater — go visit the Kingsmen.