Kingsman: The Golden Circle

**1/2

Reviewed by: Evelin Toth

Kingsman: The Golden Circle
"In contrast to the stylised visual repertoire, The Golden Circle’s storyline is led by dolefully shallow plot twists and resolutions."

In 2015, Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman was an undeniable novelty on the screens. A strange amalgam of spectacular visuals, reminiscent of the source material’s comic book panels, and crackling wit and plot twists that set new standards for ridiculousness, the film earned itself wide acclaim. Despite its flamboyant presentation, its most gripping element remained the central bond between South London troublemaker Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and suave secret agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth), the uncanny pairing on a quest to save the world. However silly it may have seemed, Vaughn’s formula for this caricature of a spy story worked.

The sequel opens with a thrilling, expertly shot and choreographed car chase scene. For the first 15 minutes, Eggsy and his nemesis Charlie (Edward Holcroft) battle it out in the incredibly confined backseat of a not-so-ordinary black cab, setting the mood for the whole of the movie. With the Kingsmen lower in numbers following Hart’s apparent demise, Eggsy’s both acting as their new Galahad - and as faithful boyfriend to the briefly introduced princess Tilde (Hanna Alström) outside his somewhat unorthodox profession.

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The Golden Circle flaunts many of the traits that contributed to the success of the first outing. It’s action sequences are choreographed to perfection, designed to amaze the viewer with every move. There’s gadgets inside gadgets, hidden functions to be revealed at the perfect moment, spicing up or disrupting fight scenes at a rapid rate. Then there’s the characteristic, mindlessly fun sense of humour that manages to render serious moments inappropriately crass in a matter of seconds. If there was ever a belief that Kingsman films took themselves seriously, it is utterly destroyed by the end of The Golden Circle’s nearly two-and-a-half hour running time.

Despite this, the sequel is tripped by a cluster of faults characteristic of many of modern blockbusters. In contrast to the stylised visual repertoire, The Golden Circle’s storyline is led by dolefully shallow plot twists and resolutions; from the Kingsman’s initial obstacles to the film’s penultimate ‘boss-fight’, the turns fail to escape predictable routes. It falls even more flat on the character front. For most of the film, the missing Harry-Eggsy dynamic is substituted with Eggsy’s relationship with Princess Tilde, a connection that’s given importance, but remains underdeveloped throughout the picture.

While the star-studded cast delivers, the new addition Statesmen - the American cousins of the Kingsman - are no more than two-dimensional cliches. Even established names such as Jeff Bridges or Channing Tatum are sidelined and given little material to work with, leaving viewers expecting something as unique as the Kingsman sorely disappointed. One can only imagine how statesman leader/whiskey mogul Champ (Bridges) would have turned out, had he been given the room or the screen time to exercise his acting muscles. Overall, the film fails to shake off the feeling that characters or plot twists were only inserted for the sake of being there, with little aim or reason for their presence.

Reviewed on: 03 Oct 2017
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When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman organisation must unite with secret US allies to prevent further destruction.
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Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Michael Gambon

Year: 2017

Runtime: 141 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK, US

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