Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, and Mark Strong return for the second outrageous installment of the “Kingsman” series. In “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” the dapper spy organization finds itself all but destroyed by a global drug empire called the Golden Circle, led by Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore).
Eggsy (Egerton), Harry (Firth) and Merlin (Strong) discover the Kingsman’s American Counterpart, the Statesman. The American organization consists of Agents Tequila (Channing Tatum), Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), Ginger (Halle Berry) and Champagne (Jeff Bridges).
Matthew Vaughn relies on many of the same techniques as in “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” The fight scenes are stunning, and the audience is left grinning at the completely over-the-top, but flawless choreography.
As fun as it is, Vaughn lets the action overpower the emotional story that made “The Secret Service” so enjoyable. The first movie follows Eggsy’s Cinderella story as he competes to become the next Kingsman agent. The audience is able to get attached to him, becoming invested in his character.
“The Golden Circle” lacks any kind of emotional story arc. Harry is revealed to have miraculously survived the gunshot wound to the head from the last movie, negating any sense of shock as half of the key characters from “The Secret Service” are killed off.
On the same note, Harry’s rise from the dead was revealed in the first trailer, undercutting what should have been a fantastic reveal. The audience is left unenthused by Firth’s entrance and the rest of his role, which is far less enthralling than before.
Vaughn’s only explicit attempt at an emotional appeal is Eggsy’s tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend, Princess Tilde (Hannah Alström). “The Golden Circle” departs from the spy movie archetype of the womanizing agent finding a new sexual object in each installment, with Eggsy trying for an exclusive relationship with the Swedish princess. The appeal falls flat however, owing to Alstrom’s unimpressive performance and Egerton’s mostly stone-faced acting.
The American counterpart of Kingsman had great potential which was mostly wasted by a lack of real character development from any of the members. Tatum, as Agent Tequila, was expected to have a large role, but it was cut to just a few scenes when he was poisoned and put out of commission for most of the film. Pascal seems to have been shoved into Tatum’s role, and while entertaining, he lacked the charisma that Tatum brings to every project. Bridges’ role as the head of Statesman was the biggest disappointment. His character never leaves one room for the entire movie.
“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is an Americanized magnification of the prequel. It’s fun, but lacks the charm that made “The Secret Service” so enjoyable.