REVIEW: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

3 Star

Have you ever done something so stupid, you regret it for years to come? Like calling your teacher mummy… Even if it was a male teacher? Or letting out a fart and accidentally sharting. At a funeral? Or catching up on a movie so much later than its release date?

Unfortunately for me, I’ve done all three. When my life flashes before my eyes, it’s going to be very awkward viewing.

It took me nearly a year to watch Kingsman: The Secret Service, following its 2015 release date. And. I. Fucking. Loved. It.  Since, I longed for its sequel, but it was just, well, anti-climatic. Director Matthew Vaughn filled the successor with much of the same stuff from The Secret Service, but it wasn’t as slick, and my god was it long.

That’s what she never said. Sigh…

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The picture opens with the ever-loveable Taron Egerton battling his way through iconic shots of London, in an attempt to defeat his enemies (and to have an equally memorable fight sequence as Colin Firth’s Lynyrd Skynyrd church-scene). Set to a relatively known Prince hit, this is what you expect from Kingsman; over-the-top and brutal. That’s the memorable fight sequence we need. Unless you count Channing Tatum fighting Colin and Taron in the brewery. Or Pedro Pascal fighting hicks in a bar. Or Pedro Pascal fighting blokes in the snow. Or Pedro Pascal fighting Colin and Taron in a diner. Credit where credit’s due – some of the fight scenes look incredible, but I can’t help but feel that the lengthy runtime of 141 minutes could have been less bum-numbing had some of these scraps been omitted. I was sat behind the love-child of Chuck Norris and Jackie Chan in the theatre, and even he resorted to playing Angry Birds, rather than watching more fights.

And who still plays Angry Birds anymore. Really?

Taking Kingsman to America seems quite fitting, as this movie was far too over-the-top, as, well, everything in America is. I mean, have you seen a single episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? They cheered Colin for tying up his shoes.

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While Samuel L. Jackson’s villain was mildly bonkers – and I’m sure even Matthew Vaughn was too intimidated to tap the Pulp Fiction star on the shoulder and say “Erm, Sam, what the shit is this lisping going on?” – Julianne Moore’s Poppy was ridiculous. She made burgers out of those who betrayed her. She came from a normal country, but has since turned to cannibalism, so you know she’s the big, bad meanie. Gettit?! She has evil robot dogs. Which, seeing as she sought for fame and fortune, wouldn’t it have been easier to sell those, rather than starting some elaborate biological warfare, and bribing the president, then giving the antidote to your own murderous drugs? Oh, and she stole Elton John, because the movie needed an iconic cameo.

(Aside – Elton John is easily the best thing about this whole movie. He swears. He fights. And he sings Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. I’ll skip past the point where he sings Wednesday, and a goon asks “Why are you singing Wednesday?” only for Elton to have to explain that the day is, in fact, Wednesday today, as if we’re all braindead chimps, who wouldn’t understand the parody.)

(Another aside, I was also sat behind a braindead chimp in the cinema, who loved that joke.)

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Mark Strong and Taron Egerton reprise their roles of Merlin and Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin delightfully. Colin Firth, however, was my favourite part of Kingsman: The Secret Service, as his character, Harry Hart, was a suave gentleman who could kick your bloody ass in a heartbeat. In this movie, when he wasn’t stood in the background to fill screen space, he just faffed and moaned. Sure, he was shot in the head, and probably was a much better spy than I’d be with a hole in my brain, but it wasn’t the Harry Hart that we know and love.

Resurrecting Harry may have thought to have been an apology from the writers for killing off a fan-favourite (as well as an attempt to help the sequel commercially) but this was a risky move. Harry was literally shot point-blank in the face, and yet he was brought back to life with nothing but a love of butterflies and some dope as fuck shades. There was no tension when a character was in jeopardy. “Eggsy was shot? Put the magic gel on him. He’s lost a limb? Give him a bionic prosthetic. He has a crippling illness which will kill him in seconds? Cryogenically freeze him.” And while you think I’m going for hyperbole, those are all real solutions in the movie.

Matthew almost appeared to be attempting to rectify many mistakes he made in the original 2015 picture, including the controversial anal-gag. We were – ahem – ‘treated’ to a longwinded subplot featuring Eggsy and Tilde’s relationship. They argue like couples do, but I didn’t come for a posh Jeremy Kyle – I came for exploding heads. Still, they tried to humanise the princess of Sweden. I’ll let it slide, and… Oh. Good. There’s a fingering joke in this movie. That’s funny, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

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As for the British counterparts, Statesmen, Jeff Bridges can do no wrong, and Halle Berry and Pedro Pascal are enjoyable additions. That’s it. That’s all of the new cast members covered. Yup. All of them. Wait. What the fuck? Channing Tatum was in this movie? I know I saw him heavily advertised on the promotional material, but he was only in the movie for a few mere minutes – a lot less than Halle and Pedro – and yet was billed as one of the biggest names in the movie. But then again, what else do you expect from the lead of Jupiter Ascending?

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is an enjoyable watch, if you’re a huge fan of the original Kingsman: The Secret Service. It’s not difficult, challenging viewing, which does have its funny moments, but at times it drags more than Jeff Bridges’ r’s, and having been set-up for another sequel, I hope that Matthew Vaughn returns to paying homage to the classic spy movies of yesteryear, and not creating a three-hour long episode of The Inbetweeners on ecstasy.

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