The last time we saw the gentleman spies of the top-secret Kingsman intelligence agency in action, they had just stopped an egomaniacal environmentalist’s plan to halt climate change through mass assassination. In the long-awaited sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the superspies take on Poppy (Julianne Moore), a billionaire kitsch aficionado and drug...read more
The last time we saw the gentleman spies of the top-secret Kingsman intelligence agency in action, they had just stopped an egomaniacal environmentalist’s plan to halt climate change through mass assassination. In the long-awaited sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the superspies take on Poppy (Julianne Moore), a billionaire kitsch aficionado and drug queen-pin looking to legitimize her enterprise by bullying the United States into legalizing drugs.
After Poppy takes out most of the Kingsman agents and their Savile Row suit-shop headquarters with missiles, only street kid-turned-dapper spy hero Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and tech whiz Merlin (Mark Strong) are left to rebuild the organization and -- hopefully -- save the world. With no time to mourn their losses, the agents visit the heretofore unknown Statesman agency, Kingsman’s American counterpart, which is based in a Tennessee whiskey distillery. After a hilarious and rude encounter with Agent Tequila (Channing Tatum), Eggsy and Merlin are provided with the resources and American agents (all code-named after types of alcohol and mixers) they need to locate Poppy and foil her nefarious plans. It’s quite a team, too -- with Champagne (Jeff Bridges) as the boss, Ginger Ale (Halle Berry) on tech duties, and electric-lasso-wielding Agent Whiskey (Game of Thrones’ Pedro Pascal) as backup in the field, wisecracks and action are guaranteed and capers are sure to ensue.
Director Matthew Vaughn (who also co-wrote the script with Jane Goldman) undoubtedly has the finely honed skills necessary to create a rip-roaring, comic-based action flick for a somewhat more discerning adult audience. Like its predecessor, the Kingsman sequel is filled with tightly choreographed fight sequences, gratuitous violence, swear-laden banter, and over-the-top spy gadgets and mission shenanigans; it has a charming cheesiness reminiscent of one of the more absurd Bond films, all while providing raucous entertainment. However, the movie’s overreliance on tried and true gags and easy shocks means it doesn’t feel very original. In addition, the film contains about 20 minutes of overt political commentary that could have been omitted completely, as it serves no purpose except to bog down the story line and lengthen the runtime to 141 minutes (no action comedy should ever exceed two hours).
None of that really matters, though, when you consider that Kingsman: The Golden Circle is still a blast and a half to watch. The settings are fun, the gory action is great, and the dialogue is chuckle-worthy. Plus, the acting is on point -- Julianne Moore in particular is both hilarious and frighteningly psychotic as Poppy, the eccentric Jeff Bezos of illegal substances and their distribution -- and there is one surprising, marvelously lengthy cameo that will have audiences rolling on the floor. Firth and Egerton continue to have fantastic onscreen chemistry, and the scenes where their characters of Harry and Eggsy reunite and team up to kick some bad guy butt are worth the price of admission by themselves.