By: Paris Wong
The consensus is sequels are rarely ever as good as their predecessors — but ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ is the perfect example of how to live up to the hype and then some.
If you haven’t seen the first film, ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ — what are you waiting for? Stop reading here and get to it! Not that you’ll be too confused watching this one without the first, but watch it and treat yourself to two full hours inside director Matthew Vaughn’s head. Then watch ‘The Golden Circle’ for two more. You’ll thank me later.
This time around, Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton) is officially Agent Galahad of Kingsman, a top secret international intelligence agency whose primary objective is to ensure the safety and general peace of the world. However, his mission becomes a little more complicated when the entire operation is destroyed by an unknown underground organization — forcing the Kingsman, based in Europe, to seek help from a similar organization: the Statesman, based in the United States.
What’s always so fascinating about these films is how they’re able to tackle real issues — in the first, it was overpopulation and the environment, and now, spoiler, it’s the war on drugs — and spin them in an unexpectedly fun way. There’s no soapbox or shortage of dark humor here, but director Matthew Vaughn roots the ideas in just enough reality to make audiences think: how does this relate to current events? Could this actually happen? If someone had the resources, the technology and frankly, the lack of sanity to hold millions of people hostage the way the megalomaniacs in these stories do — what would we do?
This sequel embodies everything that a follow-up movie should; just like the first installment, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s pure fun and insanity, thoroughly entertaining from start to finish, and it definitely warrants a second, third, even fourth watch. In theaters. Yes, it’s that mind-blowingly impressive. Vaughn takes all that worked for the first film and turns it up ten notches for this one. That intense, seemingly one-take fight scene in the church with Harry (Colin Firth) is a cake walk compared to the sequences featured here — yes, sequences plural. There have to be at least half a dozen or more, done up in the same gripping half stunt, half CGI that is trademark to this series. Their hard work completely pays off.
Be warned: this movie will shock you, stress you out, make you laugh, make you cheer, make you cry, make you cringe in disgust — but most of all, it’ll make you want to go out after it’s over and immediately buy another ticket. The cast nails every scene, even the emotional ones that seemingly crop up out of nowhere. It’s an emotional roller coaster. You’ll be laughing through your tears, especially if you were a fan of Mark Strong’s Merlin, who will make it so you can never listen to John Denver’s ‘Country Roads’ without thinking of his superb performance.
While I personally would have liked to have seen more Roxy as Agent Lancelot (Sophie Cookson), the new additions in Agent Ginger Ale (Halle Berry), Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), Tequila (Channing Tatum) and Champagne (Jeff Bridges) went above and beyond my expectations. Maybe you’ll predict what twists and turns will take place throughout the story, maybe you won’t, but it’s safe to say none of the Statesman disappoint. And hey, maybe there’s money there for a prequel?
Other than that, it’s the perfect blend of hilarity and bittersweetness, and while there are countless callbacks and parallels to the first movie, it maintains its originality. It’s fresh. It’s fast-paced and action-packed. It doesn’t pull its punches or its punchlines. Taron Egerton is an even more extraordinary lead this time around, if you can believe it’s even possible for him to be more brilliant — and as a result, it’s clear that everyone else, cast and crew, brings their absolute A-game as well.
In short, if you want to just sit back and have a good time, this is it — this is the movie you want to make time to see in theaters.
‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ is…
Everything about ‘The Golden Circle’ impresses, from the iconic fight scenes and the stylish gadgets, to the unbelievable special effects, to the actual heartwarming journeys the characters go through (well, okay, most), and to the undeniable heart that made us all love the first film so much.
James Bond, Jason Bourne, Jack Bauer — or Eggsy Unwin?