Kingsman: The Golden Circle [2017]

Kingsman Golden Circle 1a

Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong & Julianne Moore
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Distributed by: Sony Pictures
Release Date: September 2017
Running Time: 141 mins

Synopsis: With their headquarters destroyed and the world held hostage, members of Kingsman find new allies when they discover a spy organization in the United States known as Statesman. In an adventure that tests their strength and wits, the elite secret agents from both sides of the pond band together to battle a ruthless enemy and save the day, something that’s becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy.


Having loved the blend of classic and modern spy movies that lay at the heart of Kingsman: The Secret Service, I was very keen to see what the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle had to offer. From the outset, director Matthew Vaughn throws Eggsy (and the audience) into a breath-taking cab ride through London and displays his uniquely kinetic directing style that drags the viewer into the screen. I was in awe at the spectacularly fluid camera work that seemed to enhance the action occurring on-screen, mirroring the church fight scene from Kingsman: The Secret Service and Hit-Girl’s onslaught in the Kick-Ass finale. This is the third movie that Vaughn has directed which has been based on a Mark Millar comic book (and a Jane Goldman script), and his directorial style suits the high-energy and irreverent ultra-violence inherent in Millar’s work.

Taron Egerton takes the reigns as the self-assured Eggsy (aka Agent Galahad), confident in his position with Kingsman after saving the world in the previous movie, although he struggles with balancing his relationship with Princess Tilde and his role as a secret agent. The relationships between Eggsy and his two mentors, Merlin (Mark Strong) and Harry (Colin Firth) provide a strong foundation to the movie, and the film shines whenever two of the three characters share a scene together. Forced to seek help from their American counterparts, Statesman, Kingsman: The Golden Circle introduces some new agents to the cause, although they aren’t quite as likeable as the UK originals. Channing Tatum appears in what amounts to an extended cameo, whilst Halle Berry is resigned to providing exposition. Pedro Pascal (years before rising to prominence in The Mandalorian) impresses as Eggsy’s newest partner, Agent Whiskey, and the sequence where the pair attempt to escape a snowy mountain secret base is another stunning set-piece that just works.

Kingsman Golden Circle 1b

Julianne Moore is an unlikely candidate for the film’s main villain but her turn as Poppy Adams – the mumsy drug cartel boss – is surprisingly effective. Tucked away in her 1950s Americana hideout, she displays her ruthless nature as she forces initiates to the Golden Circle to remove their fingerprints, file down their teeth and get a golden circle tattooed on their skin. She also has Elton John chained to a piano for her own entertainment – a fact that rankles the aging popstar greatly and as a result, Elton John steals the show whenever he is on-screen with his foul-mouthed, cantankerous attitude.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle undoes one of the biggest deaths from the previous film, but it is tough to be mad at the retcon because it brings back one of the best characters from the franchise. Normally I would be hesitant to name who comes back, but the film showcases him on the cover of the DVD. Colin Firth is a welcome return, and rather than reinstating him back as he was, he returns as Eggsy’s equal instead of his mentor. While I appreciate the franchise’s willingness to challenge the status-quo and kill off main characters when you least expect it, it feels like another wasted opportunity when they kill off another lead character in the final act for no real reason other than to have a shocking moment. Maybe it is a testament to how likeable the main cast are that the death actually had an impact and feels like another narrative misstep waiting to be undone in a future film.

A solid sophomore effort for the Kingsman franchise, Kingsman: The Golden Circle lacks the ugly duckling origin story of its predecessor but it doubles down on the bonkers action sequences and super-suave spy hijinks. While the American counterparts feel rather two-dimensional in comparison to the Kingsman crowd, the clash of cultures between the two organisations gives the sequel a worthy hook and opens the door for Julianne Moore’s garish Americana evil base. Electrifyingly energetic and charming as heck, Matthew Vaughn maintains much of the hilarity from the first film, even if it has a few narrative hiccups along the way. Taron Egerton is extremely likeable in the lead role, managing to somehow flit between chav and chap without seeming insincere in either world. Well worth watching if you enjoyed the first film, Kingsman: The Golden Circle continues to out-bond Bond in every single way.

Score – ★★★★ ½


Kingsman: The Golden Circle is available on Blu-Ray and DVD from Amazon UK, as well as available to stream on Disney+.

Our review for Kingsman: The Secret Service is available here.

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