Kingsman: The Golden Circle – Review

In case anyone was mildly curious to my level of dedication to giving unbiased analysis; I refuse to read any reviews, look at any scores (IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, or Metacritic), or listen to any criticism about a film before I see it. I’m self-disciplined enough to know that just a peak will be enough to sway me to want to think like one of the prestigious critics. As I’m partially through my review and I feel confident in the rating I’m going to bestow upon it, I allow myself to gander at the numbers. I had my number picked, then after looking at the RT disappointing score, I started to rethink my opinions on the film and involuntarily began second guessing my judgement. I took a moment and thought to myself, “Think about nothing other than the film at hand. How good is it?” My answer: extremely. Kingsman: The Golden Circle knows what it is, but tries to be even more. The passion by all involved is heavily prevalent; it may not surpass the brilliance of its forerunner, but it comes pretty damn close.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle continues the story of The Kingsman. After their headquarters are destroyed, Eggsy and Merlin travel to America to team up with the Statesman and an old friend to try and stop a polite yet vicious drug lord whose tactics are as sadistic as her evil plan.

The film brings back the main cast of the original who are still alive (and one who wasn’t); Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Hanna Alström, Edward Holcraft, and Colin Firth as well as new faces including Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, Julian Moore, Channing Tatum, Edward Holcraft, and Pedro Pascal. Wit and charm outweighed performance and dramatic in the original, both of which were also heavily dominant here, but with a larger dose of emotional genuineness central in certain scenes.  Unfortunately, Eggsy wise-cracking punk attitude that was a source of fun in the first was absent and Harry’s charming self was also lacking throughout.

What was an amiable surprise was Mark Strong’s character ark; Strong has proved his acting abilities, but none would have guessed some of his most dramatic work would come in the action-comedy. Strong’s scene stealing scene is easy to identify, and as I listen to the music from the scene I realize just how incredible it honestly was. Granted we’re not yet into the “Oscar-bait” season, no film has gotten me as chocked up and emotional as the scene. It’s comical how the greatest scene in the original was a five-minute action sequence unlike anything I’ve ever seen yet in this film it’s an intimate and emotive sequence.

The film has every characteristic of the first, and besides a more emotional punch, is marginally (the smallest amount defined by the term) less successful at executing them. The villain Poppy (Juliane Moore) is amusing and memorable, but not as much so as Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) in the first. Poppy’s henchman was interesting (Edward Holcraft) but Valentine’s was more (Sofia Boutella). Many other aspects came close to its predecessor, but unlike Jeff Bridges character in the film, there was no cigar. Please take my minor disapproval with a grain; being “slightly” worse than Kingsman: The Secret Service is a feat that any film should be honored to achieve.

I personally don’t care if the film is relatively more of the original; the original is one of my favourite films of all time, why wouldn’t I want another few hours of that? Director Matthew Vaughn has a very distinct aesthetic to his films, and it’s comforting to see the fight choreography and visuals again. There’s two slight homages to the infamous “Freebird/Church Scene” but neither hold a candle to the virtuosity of it. That being said, there’s numerous action sequences and all hit, just not terribly strong.

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle knows what it is, but tries to be even more. The passion by all involved is heavily prevalent; it may not surpass the brilliance of its forerunner, but it comes pretty damn close.”

In retrospect, I see why critics are giving mixed reviews to the film. The first was a pleasant surprise, and with the surprise lost, it’s just an average action flick. The score below is high, higher than many would guess based off the review proceeding it. I never want to see a beloved film franchise regress, regardless of how faintly, so disappointment is inevitable. I use them often; but here’s another sports analogy. If a team won the World Series then the next year lost in the conference championship, dissatisfaction would be unavoidable, even if you’re still extremely proud of the season and the ultimate outcome was a great achievement. I loved this movie, and am filled with joy when reminiscing about it; I will set its setback on the backburner and proudly exclaim my affection for it.

Cinema 35 Rating: 9/10


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