Cinema is meant to push boundaries. It’s meant to make you think about the consequences of your own life and be able to touch audiences around the world in ways other mediums can’t. But sometimes you don’t want this – you just want a plain old fun film that does away with thinking or doing much. That film for 2017 is Kingsman: The Golden Circle. In my eyes, that isn’t a bad thing, even though critics across the board aren’t that favourable of the sequel to the 2015 hit. Sure, there’s downfalls to the action flick, but it’s just an easy going movie to let you escape from the hard hitters in both the movie world and in the real world.
The film picks up seconds after the first films ending, once again following Eggsy on a new mission to stop the drug baron Poppy (Julianne Moore) from blackmailing the world into making drugs legal. Pretty farfetched, but that’s only the start. Poppy’s hideout is in the middle of a jungle where she’s built 50s inspired stores like an old theatre, a salon and a diner, her headquarters for all her evil doings. She’s protected by 2 intense robot dogs that would spark terror in anyone trying to run from them. Meanwhile, Eggsy’s path takes him to teaming up with the Statesman, the American equivalent to the Kingsmen and, like America is, bigger and bolder in every way.
The story isn’t complicated, instead familiar to 00’s style films like Cats & Dogs (still a classic btw) in which world domination will be accomplished through sheer weirdness, but it’s different and it works. Compared to the first film, however, it’s grounding in some reality has gone. You’re left with some CGI fuelled action scenes that, while impressive, don’t necessarily make you feel there’s any risk in the film. The use of a magic gel pack to heal anyone with a gunshot wound is another cop out that makes you think nothing can really go wrong on either side of the fence. This is all fine, because reality definitely doesn’t exist, but you do have a feeling that you want things to go further and further in a South Park vein. There’s a running gag using a famous singer, which is funny at the start but then doesn’t add much in the other scenes he’s in. You want the writers to exploit him further, making heavier jokes and it never comes. It’s these moments that let down the film; it could have been like a Saints Row style film, with ridiculousness at the centre – instead it plays too close to the line of fun and seriousness.
The cast is on fire in the film however, with Colin Firth’s return in a role that you’d never put him in being the standout. The Statesman counterparts add some flare to the vibe of the film, but again you feel that there was a great opportunity to bring out the humorous side of American culture much much more. There is a cracking fight scene in a lagoon bar that gets you on board with the Statesman early on though – and each of these scenes feel different and new. Director Vaughn has made the effort of switching up the game and it pays off.
Is it the best film if it’s kind? No. It could have gone much further, but it breaks up the Autumn roster of serious and intense films like mother! That will eat you up. This will be a main stay on ITV 2 in a few years to come, and you’ll probably enjoy watching it a few times. Don’t expect much and you’ll have a good time.