The first Kingsman as many would know was not grounded in a gritty reality as many spy films are nowadays. It took a very flexible approach and was a love letter to the far-fetched spy film with goofy gadgets and a story to match the ridiculousness of it all. It appealed to an audience that didn’t know it still enjoyed the type of film Kingsman was. Now like many one hit wonders, it would rather have the success of being a good sequel rather than thriving off the acclaim it already received. Kingsman: The Golden Circle could tell a different story however, after all a bit of light hearted entertainment is good for everyone. But something had changed, a shift in the status quo.
The general rule of a sequel is to ensure that its can hold up and sit side by side to the original. Now looking at Kingsman, that’s an enormous task to undertake especially since this is Matthew Vaughn’s very first attempt at a sequel and it is an attempt that falls short of the mark and unfortunately for Matthew Vaughn, recycling events from the first film does not equal a good sequel. Many of the iconic moments from the first Kingsman film are tweaked and given a makeover to create the illusion that what you are watching is fresh and new, but the giveaways are painfully obvious from repeated dialogue to similar camera angles.
The massive amount of talent attached to this film is incredible and it easily the most impressive cast of the year, but the newest characters importance is questionable. It’s as if the film wants to take the characters from point A to point B but instead end up somewhere in the middle unfulfilled and wasted, for instance, the combined brains of Merlin (Mark Strong) and Ginger (Halle Berry) make you think they would become closer but it feels like that important character relationship is forgotten about. Even the big selling point of Channing Tatum as Tequila is shameful as he is rarely in the film at all, he is briefly reintroduced to us in glimpses but it’s so easy to forget about him, he gets less screen time than Elton John which tells you everything.
It’s not exactly in bad taste that a film can use star power to entice its audience, but their characters have to be at least somewhat relevant to the story. The President of the US (Bruce Greenwood) is introduced during the middle of the story and is instantaneously given a role in the story that is central to the narrative, with no introduction or build up, it come across as a desperate attempt to wrap up story-lines. Also, the role Harry (Colin Firth) plays is as if he was thrown into the script because he was a popular character in the first one, the film also explains through a flashback that is too necessarily complicated whereas a simpler explanation would have sufficed.
Nevertheless, although we have ourselves a case of what I call the sequa-virus in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, it still manages to be very entertaining through its action scenes that still use the quick zoom in/out style cinematography and long takes the first film became famous for. The final action scene raises your heart rate due to the exhilaration of the gunfights and isn’t off-putting by the over the top weaponry used. And while the opening scene matches the same intensity I do have one issue with it. It opens with the title of the film and then comes the action scene, I feel it would still have the same effect if the two had been switched around as the scene feels very much like the opening to a Bond film before the famous opening titles.
The relationship of Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and the Swedish princess Tilde (Hanna Alström) took me by surprise as I wasn’t expecting for that to continue past the first film given the first films all be it R-rated ending but I was glad to see that Matthew Vaughn took the chance of making their relationship more long-term. Through the thick fog of wackiness, the humour has remained and for most this will be the most crowd-pleasing element of the film, this is the glue that holds the tone of the film together creating an entertaining atmosphere.
Kingsman is by no means an outstanding film, there is evident scattered all over the place of languid writing and characters being all over the place that we are expected to just go along with it. Yet while it may disappoint some audiences, it is still vastly entertaining to watch thanks to the films overall silliness . Kingsman was such a breath of fresh air from the pragmatism of a Daniel Craig Bond film that it was a big reminder of how fun the genre can be. The Golden Circle however has lost sight of it reason for existence and has given way to the new purpose of becoming a praising franchise when it could have easily achieved the same praise from being a standalone film.