by Kevin Muller
Ah, okay, it is incredibly refreshing to be able to talk about a film without beating around the bush. Unlike ‘Mother!,” this film is just a standard action film with an A to B plot-line. Back in 2014, the original Kingsman: The Secret Service, hit theaters and knocked everyone out with its satire, kick ass action, and one hell of a leading man, Colin Firth. Once again, we are thrown back into the world of espionage, gadgets, and satire. Does it work again?
A dark shadow has been cast over the society of Kingsman with the assassination of many of its outlets. Some of the familiar characters, from the last movie, bite the dust in order to set up the plot. Eggsy, again played by Taron Egerton, is now on a mission to find out who was behind this terrible tragedy. It will take a bit of work since Poppy Adams, played by Julianne Moore, is tucked away on a remote island that is furnished in 1950’s memorabilia, which include: a diner, salon, and a bowling alley. Her master plan is to punish the world’s population who are involved in the consumption of illegal substances. Meanwhile, Harry, played by Colin Firth, has survived the bullet to the eye injury kill shot that he received in the first movie. He is being taken care of by “The Statesmen,” which is basically the American version of Kingsman. Every cowboy stereotype exists in both the agents and their home base. A unity develops as both sectors decide to work together and stop Poppy’s evil plan.
Director Matthew Vaughn definitely has a style of his own that made the first one have its own individual charm. It still is a shame that he walked away from the “X-men” franchise after 2011’s First Class. Before the property went back to series regular, Bryan Singer, the series felt so incredibly fresh and new. Here, Vaughn takes full control of the wheel and just goes bonkers with his technique. The results are hit and miss. The big action set piece of the last film was the church battle involving Harry and dozens of people coming at him at once. It was fast, ruthless, and beautifully choreographed. Vaughn takes that idea and stretches it out through the 120 minute running time. The film does add a pretty cool character named, Jack Daniels, played by Pedro Pascal. Pascal, fully immersed in a southern cowboy accent, and the swagger that comes with it, has a cool weapon of choice that injects intensity into the scenes. His lasso that also electrifies, is a blast to behold that you get giddy whenever you hear the snap of it getting ready for battle. Pascal creates an incredibly fun character that fits perfectly into Vaughn’s world. Though not as memorable as Samuel L. Jackson’s Richmond Valentine, Vaughn correctly uses Moore’s innocent nature to make a villain that seems perfect on that outside, but past her cookie cutter nature, is evil. Her plan is a bit over the top but fits into the algorithm of what makes a good Bond type villain. The film’s playful nature is still intact with the characters going back and forth in witty British banter. Egerton is still one hell of a leading man who balances the street smart sly demeanor and kick ass agent perfectly. It is Firth who both is the best and weakest part of this film.
While Firth does give Harry the depth and heroism that made the character work so well in the first film, it is Vaughn’s decision on what he did with the character that does make the film slide backwards a little bit. Before he can get back out there, he has to regain full consciousness of everything that makes him the most renowned secret agent. You can see Firth wanting to move on to the action with the character arch he has to sell. He is great and there is no doubt about that, but it is such an usual and strange section of the movie that is over quite quickly. Once he is thrown back into the action, a little shaky at first, it is where we are reminded why he is, not only an Oscar winner, but perfect for the role of Harry. His essential skills go beyond the fighting and the gadgets. The most dangerous weapon he possesses is his intellect that does save Eggsy a few times. The film does over stay its welcome a bit with the freshness of the original film lost along the way.
A music legend gives an added power to the movie. He not only is hilarious, but holds his own with some of the best in the acting field: Moore and Firth. When the movie becomes sluggish, his presence speeds it a long and just makes you smile ear to ear. Kingsman: The Golden Circle isn’t as good as the original, but it still maintains its identity and provides more of the same that the first one did. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t, but it is sure fun as hell.
I am giving Kingsman: The Golden Circle a 3 out of 5 Hairpieces!