Kingsman: The Golden Circle' Is Bigger But Not Better Than Its Predecessor

Danny Woods
September 23, 2017

The Bridget Jones's Diary star, 57, returns to the role of suave spy Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, a sequel to the hugely successful Kingsman: The Secret Service.

The references to 1970's vintage Bond movies are many, the one-liners are mostly amusing and - importantly - the occasional mis-steps into outright sadism that marred the first film have been left out this time. A scene involving a very big bag of weed as a centrepiece indicates that he's still totally, occasionally "fam, bruv". Dumbledore himself, Michael Gambon is in charge and Mark Strong continues to be a reliable ally as Eggsy does his part alongside Roxy (Sophie Cookson). They set out to Kentucky to get help from their American brethren, a private intelligence agency called Statesman, hidden within a bourbon distillery. You tear it down, of course - and that's exactly what happens here, with the surviving Kingsmen forced to connect with their American counterparts, the Statesmen, who use rope and Whiskey instead of umbrellas and suits to save the day. With the two organisations collaborating, Eggsy, in partnership with Agent Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), aims to find and destroy the mysterious crime group known as "The Golden Circle", which is led by the highly unstable Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore). There are a handful of other twists but even they are predictable, and especially because we've been conditioned to the nature of this filmmaking with one prior movie, it no longer feels fresh. With individual story arcs and character development more or less accounted for in the first film of a franchise, every sequel faces the all-too-familiar "I thought the first film was better", from a sizeable chunk of its audience.

"Because Elton's in the movie, I came up with the gag of 'Wednesday night's alright for fighting", Vaughn said, referencing the parody poster that accompanied Elton John's casting acknowledgement in May, "and I was thinking, a lot of people aren't gonna understand when he does that". Watch out for a surprise turn from Elton John that will have you in stitches whenever the film switches to Moore's mountain-top lair.

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The Guardian UK gave the film three stars out of five. Halle Berry is all of us. It often feels too wrapped up in its apparent goal to excel above its predecessor on the insane scale that it loses sight of telling a story that we can successfully follow or buy into, not that you would ever actually buy into, really, anything that happens in this film.

"Kingsman: The Golden Circle" is rated R for sequences of strong violence, drug content, language throughout and some sexual material; running time: 141 minutes.

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