Fish and Cherries Productions

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Reel Snippet – Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Summary: The Kingsmen are back, defending England from within the shadows with their star agents Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Roxy (Sophie Cookson). But a 50s-obsessed drug kingpin named Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) enacts a quick and merciless culling of the organization to move forward with her own plan, leaving Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) the only apparent survivors. Following a clue in their doomsday vault, they make their way to America to find Statesman, Kingsman’s cousin secret agency with agents Champaign (Jeff Bridges), Tequila (Channing Tatum), Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), and lab expert Ginger (Halle Berry). The two join forces to track down Poppy before she makes her next move, which could bring the world to its knees and turn it into a mass grave.

Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle, while not as good as the first movie, is still fun nonetheless. Part of the problem it faces is that the first one was so novel. It was a very different kind of spy movie with a lower class protagonist that worked his way upwards and blew everyone’s prejudices away. That novelty is gone in the second film and on top of that, it relied a bit more on special effects than the original did on action choreography. Still, when things get going, there’s a good time to be had.

One good element this movie has is its continuity. A surprising amount of details from the first movie have payoff in this one. Remember the Swedish princess Eggsy got down and dirty with at the end of the first movie? They’re still together and he’s meeting her parents. One of the rejected Kingsman applicants-turned-traitor, Charlie (Edward Holcroft), comes back as Poppy’s cyborg right hand man. There are also frequent references to events of the past movie that plot points build on, like Poppy kidnapping Elton John amidst the mass celebrity abductions of the previous film. And I’ve got to say, Elton John cussing out the villains and then kicking their asses in the climax is one of the funniest things I’ve seen all year.

This movie is full of great action scenes, witty banter, and heartfelt moments that kept me invested throughout the film. Where it falls apart for me are the villains. I’m sorry, but I do not buy Julianne Moore as the big villain. I believed Samuel L. Jackson in the last movie as a lispy psychopath who can’t stand to see blood much more than I buy Julianne “Raw Human Emotion Roles” Moore as a stepford smiler who grinds incompetent henchmen into hamburgers. And while we’re making comparisons to the last movie, against Sofia Boutella’s badass swords-for-legs Gazelle, Charlie the cyborg seems like a pale imitation. Even if we ignore their counterparts from the first Kingsman, these two just aren’t that interesting. They don’t have any memorable lines or scenes, they just have their quirks to keep them afloat. All in all, they’re a very milktoast breed of villains.

While I don’t think this reached the level of brilliance or quality that the original did, I found a lot to like about it. I liked that Eggsy keeps his competence and develops more as the story went on, I laughed at most of the jokes, and I got a kick out of Poppy’s robot dogs being named Bennie and Jet. All in all, I enjoyed this, but I don’t think it’s a good jumping-on point for the franchise. I do hope they’re able to make another one, especially since this movie brought some characters back to life and I’m hoping they do the same for other favorites.

Fun Tidbit: Both the Kingsman and the Statesman organizations have interesting naming conventions, the Kingsmen using knights of the Round Table for codenames and the Statesmen use alcoholic beverages for theirs. Their ops people, however, have code names that fit with the theme, just not directly. Merlin may have trained King Arthur, but he never sat at the Round Table. Likewise, Ginger — or rather Ginger Ale — pairs with numerous alcoholic drinks, but is not in itself alcoholic.

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