When Matthew Vaughn’s unknown film Kingsman: The Secret Service debuted in 2014, it was a surprising hit to say the least. Its unabashed take on bizarre violence, British humour and a rags-to-riches characterization saw it take on a whole new level of success. Now, almost three years later, The Kingsman have returned to take on The Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is a crime syndicate run by Poppy (Julianne Moore), an all-American diner lover whose twisted optimism and anger just reeks of crazy, but more on that later.
The film opens to an incredibly fraught action sequence between Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Charlie, an ex Kingsman operative who got kicked out in the first film. Think the judges houses stage at X Factor. This pursuing action sequence may seem quite unbelievable for those who haven’t seen Kingsman: The Secret Service. But for those who have, it is just as fun as Eggsy’s drag racing back on the estate. This fight between the two, through the streets of London and the grassy knoll’s of Hyde Park, leads to a catastrophic event and the wheels of motion and plot devices are set in motion. With that being said, Eggsy does drive a cab underwater into an underground bunker. It’s a bit more Bruce Wayne and the Batmobile than James Bond and his premium Aston Martin.
Throughout all the star-studded talent this film has gained, Taron still manages to remain the firm star. He is the focal point, the wonderfully flawed but well-intentioned hero that stays in your mind well after the credits have rolled. Eggsy may be a Kingsman, but he still remembers his roots. He has a stable relationship but he also still hangs out with his friends and wears his hoodies and caps on his downtime.
A Hero is only as good as its villain
Poppy is a maniacal, mince fanatic (and by mince, I mean making burgers out of humans, not mince pies…) On hand to help her run her $250 billion drugs cartel are robot dogs, Charlie and… Elton John. Okay, so Elton isn’t exactly helping, he’s being held hostage but some could say his singing could cure any bad day. Skip past Poppy’s pointless machinations and skin burning initiations and we get to the heart of her motive.
Poppy’s deadly drugs are just one side of a coin, in one hope, her attempt at killing people through recreational drugs will stop more people from taking them but it will also kill more people by allowing her to infect nearly everyone. This is reflected in the president’s chief of staff who is poisoned, despite her valiant attempt at explaining that some people just want to experiment with drugs or others have to for medical reasons, the president brands them all ‘criminals’ who are worthy of death. His lack of sound reasoning and impeachment echoes thoughts of Donald Trump’s irrationality in office.
A Star Studded Ensemble
Channing Tatum’s Tequila is a real joy but unfortunately is not part of the film for that long to actually make an impact. Halle Berry’s Ginger Ale (this got a laugh in the audience) is a scientist for The Statesman agents and she crafts and oversees most of her agents. The head of The Statesman is Jeff Bridges who is also not incredibly relevant or important in the main events and could be taken out without notice but its Jeff Bridges so a cameo is enough to light a film up.
We even get a cameo from model Poppy Delevingne who is taking after her sister, Cara in the acting department. Poppy’s character features in a particularly humorous scene at Glastonbury festival. The description however, is too grim for words. Finally, the last of The Statesman is by far the best, Pedro Pascal’s Whiskey. Some may know Pedro from Game of Thrones as The Red Viper and as a main character in Narcos. He lasso’s his way through the main characters lives with gusto and enthusiasm. He almost becomes a replacement for Colin Firth’s Harry, who after a stint with amnesia comes back better than ever for an explosive fight scene at Poppy’s jungle compound.
The final fight is incredibly tense and incredibly well shot. Both Firth and Egerton give it there best shot with Eggsy fighting one handed and Harry having to fight off a robot dog with mincing teeth. After a film packed with characters, it’s nice to see Eggsy and Harry taking on the bad guys together. With the exception of Mark Strong’s Merlin who continues to help them from behind the battle lines. True gentlemen, always fight together.
Overall, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a fantastic showcase of bizarre humour, frenetic action sequences and over the top fighting. The film may add a few more famous faces to the talent list but Taron Egerton and Colin Firth continue to steal the show with the exception of newcomer Pedro Pascal. The Golden Circle sets up some nice ploys for the next film. With Matthew Vaughn attached, it could be an incredible trilogy on the horizon.