Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Running Time: 141 mins
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a British film and the sequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service. After Kingsman and its agents are almost entirely annihilated by a series of missile strikes, Eggsy is led to the Statesman, Kingsman’s American counterpart, where he sets about finding and bringing down the ruthless drug lord who commissioned the attacks, before the whole world falls victim to her ambitions.
I loved this film. Although it doesn’t compare to the insane brilliance of the first film, The Golden Circle is still a fantastic exercise in big blockbuster entertainment, with none of the original’s sense of humour lost, and with no reluctance to go all out in some of the most outlandish action scenarios you’ll ever see, making this yet another fantastically funny and endlessly entertaining action movie, and one of the best in recent years.
The original Kingsman was a huge shock to me, simply because it was so fresh and brilliant out of seemingly nowhere. Now, there’s nothing in The Golden Circle that can really hold a candle to the first film’s greatest moments, and nothing will ever beat the legendary church scene, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a hugely entertaining sequel all the same.
First off, the action is even bigger this time round, and although the stakes might be fairly similar, it feels like a justifiable sequel, with yet another Bond-esque action plot opening the door for all sorts of brilliant blockbuster thrills. The film starts off with a brilliant bang, and manages to keep up a pretty relentless pace for the best part of two and a half hours.
That runtime may seem a little exhaustive at first, but I was so entertained by the film that I really didn’t want the action to end, and felt like its long duration was perfectly acceptable given the enormity of some of the film’s biggest action, something that really can’t be said for so many modern action movies.
Of course, one of the main reasons that the action here is so entertaining is because of director Matthew Vaughn’s unique style. Although the film’s first big fight sequence feels a little heavy, and maybe not as comical as some of the original’s best action, the rest of the sequel excels in providing visually thrilling and endlessly dynamic action sequences, ranging from all sorts of locations around the world, and shot in a way that really makes you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster ride.
But it’s not just the action that makes this film great, because the humour is there too. In comparison to the first film, it feels as if the humour here is a little less risky, perhaps because we’ve seen the style before, or perhaps because certain church scenes last time out caused a lot of controversy, but that doesn’t mean it won’t make you laugh.
From start to finish, the film never loses its sense of fun, consistently bringing itself back down to earth from its huge action stakes to make you laugh in all sorts of silly ways. Ranging from simple slapstick to Bond parody jokes, and even a legendary cameo appearance from Elton John (who is arguably the film’s real standout), Kingsman: The Golden Circle is as funny a film as it is relentlessly action-packed, and that’s really saying something.
Finally, we move onto the performances. As I’ve already said, Elton John is spectacular, but a lot of his co-stars are just as good as well. Taron Egerton leads the film brilliantly with excellent confidence throughout, proving his chops as an action star and more, whilst the likes of Mark Strong and Colin Firth also prove just as entertaining as they were last time out in their both physical and still hilarious roles.
The film’s story puts the Kingsman together with their American cousins, Statesman, however I can’t quite say that the Yanks are anywhere near as entertaining. While there’s a good performance from Pedro Pascal, the likes of Channing Tatum, Halle Berry and Jeff Bridges all feel like they’re just there for a quick cameo, and don’t add all that much to the fun factor of the film.
Finally, there’s Julianne Moore, who rather uncharacteristically puts in an amazing turn as the film’s villain. Although she may seem like a fairly inactive baddie in the grander scheme of things, she plays a pretty psychotic and ruthless villain with a fantastically unnerving performance, and it makes her just as threatening, if not more, than most action movie villains, all the while still making you laugh with some of her most crazy and outlandish ambitions.
On the whole, I had so much fun with Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Yes, it’s nowhere near as stunningly entertaining as the original, but it still proves two and a half hours of endlessly enjoyable action and comedy, directed brilliantly by Matthew Vaughn, and featuring a whole host of great performances that will undoubtedly have you loving every minute of this mad blockbuster, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.1.