There are problems with Kingsman 2 The Golden Circle that are so detrimental to the movie, that it’s hard to review it without mentioning them. The first outing for Mathew Vaughn’s love letter to Bond, was fresh and smart, and had the concrete block that is Mark Miller’s comic book series for support.
The bad boy turned secret super agent was fun and different, and there were some star turns from the assembled cast. The film perhaps worked due to the nature of the premise, the origin story of Eggsy was exciting and we warmed quite quickly to him and his situation. There were some memorable set pieces, “Manners Maketh Man” and the church battle, and a few shocks that felt genuine and well staged.
The sequel here though suffers from some sequences that are rehashed, without irony or wit and others that are borderline offensive and tonally wrong. The film opens well enough with an action sequence that was thrilling and outrageous, and with more than a shade of Roger Moore’s Bond infused through it. In fact, there seemed to me to be a lot of nods to Moore’s run as Bond all through the first two reels.
However, as the plot leads our hero to Glastonbury, we are faced with a set piece so misjudged that you have to ask yourself how this ever made it to the final cut, and what were they thinking it added to the plot in the first place? In fact, the whole “laddish” tone of many of the scenes just never lands properly, and those off kilter moments continued right to the end.
It’s no spoiler that Colin Firth returns to this outing, and the explanation of his return cheapens every moment of jeopardy in the whole screenplay. Who cares if the leads get shot? We can just magically bring them back, no harm no foul.
In the first act, The Kingsmen are taken out by drug lord Poppy, Julianne Moore, so Eggsy and Merlin team up with the US branch, The Statesmen. This group of American agents appear on screen in sequences that look as if they were all shot in one day, and with performances that do the job, and no more.
Julianne Moore hardly leaves her set for the whole movie and Elton John (yes, THE Elton John) gets more screen time than Channing Tatum. Elton’s jarring appearances did nothing except take me out of what little drama I was involved in. It was like watching Ed Sheeran on Game of Thrones, he just shouldn’t have been there no matter how good his back catalog is.
Along with all the green screen, the film just looks and feels ridiculous, the plot goes nowhere and it’s a shame because there was scope here for a great movie, instead we seemed to get a violent re boot of Austin Powers, but not as funny and with less soul.
On the plus side, there are some very stylish suits to look at, but that just reminded me the film was all style and no substance. For fans only.