Having loved the original Kingsman I was so excited to learn there was a second in the works. I had no idea how they would approach the new film considering Harry (Colin Firth) was no longer in the picture. The first film established Eggsy (Taron Egerton) as the lead in the next chapter of the Kingsman.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle starts by introducing you to just that The Golden Circle. Oddly enough when you first read the title of the film it conjures up images of Bond. Then the film begins in the middle of a jungle, reminiscent of the Bond villain lairs. We are introduced to the villain in this tale Poppy (Julianne Moore) who throughout the film plays this sickly sweet character who is both so fake in her sincerity and charm, whilst cold and calculating.
Then we’re greeted by a familiar face, Eggsy, who we see has really embraced the Kingsman lifestyle. We also launch straight into the fight sequences. One of the coolest car chase scenes ensues. I absolutely loved the camera angles and techniques used in this sequence, as well as the other fight scenes within the film. This opening scene, in particular, use drone style footage. It really worked as you were gaining a birds eye perspective of the many cars travelling through the streets, with all the glittering lights of the surrounding cars and buildings, mixed with the gunshots sparking off the metal. The person in pursuit of Eggsy (who earlier confronted him in front of the Kingsman tailor shop) is scorned ex Kingsman Charlie (Edward Holcroft), who now has a bionic arm. We learn that Charlie now works for drug lord Poppy, who has embraced the bionic era, as evidenced by her bot dogs and updated bionic arm for Charlie.
Familiar faces are back Mark Strong returns as Merlin (who throughout the film has a weird obsession with the song ‘Country Road’), Sophie Cookson returns as Roxy and Hanna Alstrom, reprises her role as Princess Tilde, Eggsy’s girlfriend. The moment Poppy extracts her revenge on the Kingsman actually shocked me. This then prompts Eggsy and Merlin to take action and enlist the help of their cohorts in America, the Statesmen.
I wasn’t that drawn to the American side of the story. I found Pedro Pascal shines as the lasso toting Whiskey. I absolutely loved his fight sequences where slow motion was utilised much like the style of the first films where we see Harry fighting. Again, to draw a parallel we have a bar scene where Whiskey teaches a pack of goons some manners. Jeff Bridges as the Head of the Statesmen fills the brief perfectly. There’s something about his voice that really creates a sense of authority to any situation. Channing Tatum as Tequila didn’t really make an impact on me. Whilst Channing did a great job with the accent and fight scene, the character didn’t really offer a lot to the story and it’s fairly evident half way through the film. Also, I really wish they utilized Halle Berry’s character Ginger more, like the way they established Merlin in the first film.
It’s a hard thing to avoid, so skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want a bit of a spoiler. One thing that didn’t sit too well with me was the return of Harry and the manner in which he performed throughout the film. I really disliked Harry in the sequel. Yes, the Statesmen found him and saved him, he then suffered from amnesia. When he eventually recovers he’s still lacking that Harry quality that made him so likeable in the first. The fluidity to his character changes and it’s just not the same. Yes, he’s physically and mentally different, but I don’t think it worked. I’m contemplating the idea that if his character wasn’t in the sequel it wouldn’t be that different. In contrast, the relationship between Eggsy and Whiskey was great to see, particularly the sky lift scene. One particular character in the film, that had the whole cinema in stitches, was Elton John as Elton John. He was absolutely hilarious from start to finish, with opulent costumes and unique performances contributing to the storyline.
Overall, I definitely think I’ll see this film again in cinemas. There were elements that really worked, and perhaps if there were more of a focus on those scenes and more fight sequences it would be closer to the level achieved in the first.