Capping off a summer that strangulated audiences with sequels, here’s another one! Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the produc—uh, I mean…”totally legit movie film” from the highly profitable Kingsman brand, which began in 2015 with Kingsman: The Secret Service, which surprised everyone by being enjoyable and funny. Can The Golden Circle live up to it’s predecessor? No. Wait, sorry, does that count as a spoiler?
Returning main character, Eggsy, (played by Aaron Egerton) has settled into his new life as suave, secret agent “Galahad”; he gets to wear posh suits, he’s dating a Swedish princess, and apparently defeating evil agents isn’t all that hard. But life is thrown into chaos when most of his fellow agents are killed and the headquarters of the Kingsman demolished at the hands of The Golden Circle, a vague but evil drug cartel. Left without his usual resources, Eggsy has no choice but to partner with the Kingsman’s American counterpart: the Statesman, western themed operatives who use lassos and speak with thick, comical drawls (apparently the American answer to James Bond is cowboys. Fair enough, at least it’s an idea).
Kingsman: The Golden Circle isn’t bad. It isn’t good either; because it’s nothing. The film is so devoid of plot, characters, laughter, suspense, and general artistic effort that one could probably compose a mathematical equation to prove that it doesn’t actually is exist. There is nothing for audiences to latch on to here unless they’re amused purely by the collation of moving images with sound.
The picture is criminally wasteful of the team of actors it’s assembled. You’d better hope you like Eggsy, because he’s the only character that does anything throughout this entire film; not in terms of having a story or arc (he doesn’t), but in the most literal terms possible. Mark Strong returns as Merlin (The Q to Eggsy’s James Bond), who—when the movie hasn’t forgotten about him—can be found sitting behind a computer. Halle Berry is Ginger Ale (all of the American agents are codenamed after beverages), his American equivalent, who also spends the movie sitting behind a computer. Channing Tatum plays Tequila (no, really, I wasn’t kidding about the names), who has one action scene then is comatose throughout the rest of the movie. Jeff Bridges as the leader of the Statesman has only two scenes, both of them spent sitting down. Julianne Moore as the villainess spends the whole movie sitting down. And, yes, Colin Firth’s Galahad is resurrected and does get a nice action sequence…after a lot of of sitting down. This film is two and a half hours long.
The “conflict” (quotes intended) revolves around Julianne Moore’s villanous Poppy Adams, a 1950’s housewife cliche who queenpins a drug operation from a hidden base in the jungle. I don’t have the mental energy to articulate specifically how silly this all is, but it’s goddam ridiculous. She poisons the drugs she sells in an effort to scare the President of the United States into legalizing all elicit substances. What sense does that make? Why would the President have the singular power to make a global decision like this, you ask? The answers are simple! Shut up.
Kingsman: The Secret Service was renowned for how clever and funny it was, and during the frequent lulls in The Golden Circle I kept wondering why I wasn’t laughing, but I soon figured it out. The Secret Service was a parody of Connery-era Bond while The Golden Circle is poking fun of Brosnan-era Bond, so here’s the problem: you don’t need to make fun of the 90’s Bond films, they do that on their own. Brosnan’s Bond is largely considered the worst era in the franchise because of how stupid it got, because they were dumb to a point where you can no longer parody, you can only recreate. The Golden Circle isn’t a send up of Tomorrow Never Dies or Die Another Day; it’s a fan-film remake.
Verdict: Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a void made purely to suck in three hours of your time and $10 of your bank account, failing to deliver on the hype of it’s forbearer, but that much could be said for many sequels. I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.
Post-review rant: Okay, so, this wasn’t pertinent to the review, but Sir Elton John is in this movie as a MAJOR character and he’s just embarrassingly awful. They don’t even let him sing! I took a full point off the movie’s score just for that. It’s at -1/10 now.