Everything you need to know about Kingsman: The Golden Circle can be encapsulated in a single scene: three dapper dressed British gentlemen, armed with an umbrella, a briefcase and a Bowie knife, sneak through the jungle to fight a Saturday-morning cartoon villain in a 1950’s American town staffed by robots.
But let’s go back a bit to the original Kingsman movie in 2014, which released under the radar and surprised people with the novel concept that spy movies could be fun and cheesy again, since the Bond films stopped doing that.
Then the trend continued with The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and everything was great for a few months, until the sulky train wreck Spectre came out and we were back waiting for this sequel.
Now that’s it’s here we almost wish they hadn’t bothered.
Let’s talk premise, and we won’t go outside of anything the trailers on this page reveal. The film picks up a short while after after the first movie with Eggsy (Taron Egerton) still spying it up, until he and the Kingsman organisation come under siege by an organised, well-funded group of bad guys known as the titular Golden Circle.
Great. Fantastic. A little bit of spy vs. spy and a generally traditional plot. Well, except for the fact that the real plot doesn’t actually start until half way through the run time, and about 60% of this movie is boring filler made up of relationship problems, debates about substance abuse, and absolutely gratuitous shots of people putting on fancy clothes and drinking alcohol.
The rest is an insane, twisting “story” of the Golden Circle’s boss Poppy (Julianne Moore) holding the world at ransom with a McGuffin similar to the first movie, that is so badly thought out that the movie itself points out to you how flawed the plan is. We won’t say why but, wow, it’s dumb.
At certain points we could almost see this movie taking up the mantle of an over the top cartoon with Moore tearing off her face to reveal she’s part Skeletor and part Cobra Commander, but then it has those real world problems mixed in there that make that dream impossible.
The entire cast here puts in effort, but they could not escape the crush of terrible plot and writing. Even favourites like Harry Hart / Galahad (Colin Firth) come across as irritated to be here and generally unlikable.
Making a great character this bad is actually commendable in a sick kind of way and, oh, if you’re wondering why he’s alive here when he was supposed to be dead, just don’t think about it.
They explain it with movie science and it’s a waste of your brain cells to make sense of it. We understand the desire to bring Colin Firth back when everyone loved him the first go around, but if you’re just going to create Terrible Character #756 out of him, what was the point?
This aggressively stupid story is then paired with globe hopping that makes season seven of Game of Thrones look believable, some admittedly interesting set design, and odd popular music choice which must have been learnt from the Suicide Squad school of soundtrack design.
Finally, with all else failing Kingsman: The Golden Circle really needed to nail its action scenes and set pieces to claw back some points and give you a singular reason to pay to watch this.
Well, it does that badly too.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a movie so desperately try to recapture a magical moment from its predecessor. This movie tries and tries to make something as good as the Church fight scene happen again, and it never pulls it off. Are some of the action pieces interesting enough to hold your attention? Sure, but they don’t feel special or inventive in anyway, even when things are genuinely going off the rails.
This numbness may be general fatigue you’ll get from the extended, boring scenes, so maybe this is a movie better seen as a series of clips on YouTube, and we can’t think of anything more damning to say about this movie.