Hthere is a sentence I don’t remember Kingsman: The Secret Service: “Independent intelligence agency”. This is pronounced in Kingsman: the golden circle about Kingsman’s American counterpart: Statesman, which we are introduced to here. But what does that mean, precisely? That means they’re mercenary spies, doesn’t it? I have a vague memory of Secret Service mentioning something about Kingsman funded by the heads of the crowns of Europe, which at least offers a veneer of government authority and allegiance to law and order – although there are some profound aspects to it as well problematic; justice and order don’t always go side by side, and maintaining the status quo that the rich and the aristocrats want is riddled with… problems. But who funds Statesman? Secret Service suggests that the organization is supported only by sales of the Statesman-branded Kentucky bourbon which is the front of the organization in the same way that Kingsman tailors are the front of the British organization (albeit not financial). But here’s a good basis for comparison: Most recent reported annual income for Jack Daniels, the clear inspiration for the Statesman bourbon, was $ 121 million. Even if this represented a profit, not an income, it is far from sufficient to finance a spy group with international operations.
So: Where does the money come from and why? Who benefits from having globetrotting spies at their disposal? What the hell is going on here, and how are Kingsman and Statesman different from the international drug cartel they are joining forces to fight against golden circle, private money exercising its power as it sees fit?
I wish I could say there’s any clue here that returning writer and director Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class, Kick) appreciates that he’s about to satire deep-rooted global interests all acting like a huge, self-reinforcing cabal. But that wouldn’t be true. (Vaughn teams up again with co-writer Jane Goldman [The Limehouse Golem, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children], and again, they’re working from the graphic novel by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. But since it was limited to six numbers, all of which were used by the first film, this one is entirely invented by Vaughn and Goldman. The atrocity of it is upon them.) Vaughn seems to think he’s making a spoof of James Bond-type spy movies, but neither does he. He is, instead, in full consciousness, dubbing Bond. The Bond franchise has been a full-fledged carnival of toxic masculinity – narcissism, sociopathy, misogyny, violence – but oblivious, or at least unconscious, that its idea of masculinity was toxic rather than cool … until Daniel Craig take over. tux in 2006, and the character and the show woke up a lot more and took a step back from toxicity. If it wasn’t already obviously clear with Secret Service, golden circle confirms it: Kingsman is aware of the extremely horrific connotations of Bond (and the traditional espionage genre in general) and has no interest in anything but celebrating them. (That’s a big deal in modern big-budget cinema: Male filmmakers – always men – think they can condemn misogyny or narrow gender expectations or extreme violence or all of the above just in s ‘engaging in exaggerated versions. They can’t.)
Let’s eliminate this: Kingsman: the golden circle is bad, lazy, and cheap storytelling, aside from its horrible connotations. It is full of youthful dislikes – a swim in a sewer soaked in shit; a cannibalistic burger – even though he claims he’s a gentleman. Its action sequences are literally cartoonish, all the chaos generated by CGI in which it’s impossible to tell what’s going on, entirely devoid of the athleticism and rugged grace that a punch-up or car chase can have. really well choreographed and photographed. (There is some kinetics here, but nothing really exciting.) He demands that his hero behave in the most stupidly unreasonable way possible in order to keep the plot going. (On a secret mission to steal a vial of desperately needed Macguffin Serum, the protagonist only takes one when he might as well have grabbed a handful, and you can guess what happens next.)
There is much more to it. The soundtrack is full of seemingly random pop and rock songs that are either shamefully on the nose or (much more often) horribly out of tune with what’s really going on, including the less significant use of a John Denver tune. in a full year of his music On screen. The film embarrasses a few big names in supporting roles: Julianne Moore (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, Freeheld) as villain and Bruce Greenwood (Gold, fathers and daughters) while the American president makes pantomime, without creating plausible characters. (Even exaggerated characters in a comic book movie still have to work in their own stories.) Emily Watson (Everest, a royal evening) as an advisor to the President and Elton John (The Eldorado road) as he himself is terribly abused by Vaughn. Jeff Bridges (Hell or high water, seventh son) as the Statesman boss appears to have shown up on set for a day of filming to phone in a few quick scenes that exist entirely apart from the rest of the story. And all Channing Tatum (Logan Lucky, The Lego Batman Movie) fans who see him as a Statesman agent are going to be very frustrated: he barely appears in the film. (The only newcomers here who are doing quite well are Pedro Pascal [The Great Wall (2017), Game of Thrones] as State Agent and Halle Berry [X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Call] like Statesman’s Q, although the latter, being a girl, obviously doesn’t have much to do.)
But the really offensive aspects of golden circle are those who knowingly embrace toxic masculinity as if it was the only possibility. As if politeness itself was a joke, a fantasy that doesn’t exist in the real world. As if all masculinity that isn’t toxic weren’t real. It’s a joke that half the time is drawn on its own hero, Agent Kingsman Eggsy (Taron Egerton [Sing, Eddie the Eagle], an intriguing young actor who is not well used by this franchise). He laughs at the idea that Eggsy might be well educated and knowledgeable in a wide range of sophisticated subjects, such as classical art and the world economy, then “admits” that the only way that might be true is if Eggsy cheats, obtains information transmitted to it via a communication device. He mocks his grief over the death of his mentor, Harry (Colin Firth: Bridget Jones’ baby, before I go to sleep), who was shot in the head in Secret Service, bringing him back from apparent death. (Harry was saved by Statesman, who has technology that allows people to survive a bullet to the head.) The movie pokes fun at Harry, who suffers from amnesia and is back to college age himself. , when he studied butterflies, sniffing at that display of unmanly interest in pretty bugs so inappropriate in a manly secret agent.
golden circle is a real stew of revolting attitudes towards men, women, the narrow expectations we are held to and the (presumed) futility of ever escaping them. Vaughn ridicules Eggsy’s tender feelings for Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström): he now lives with her in London after saving her (and the rest of the world) at the end of Secret Service. Reminder: it was she who offered him, then to a complete stranger, anal sex as a reward for having saved the world (he accepted). This sequel turns that dastardly attempt at humor into a throwaway one here: It seems his standard goodbye these days as he goes to his Save the World job is to remind him of what he will receive as a prize at his return home. But this is all just a nasty prelude to Vaughn and Goldman’s new misogynistic trick: Eggsy is forced to plant a tracking device on a woman (Poppy Delevingne: King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword, Pirate Radio) in order to follow her to the location of her mean boyfriend. The tracking device should be planted in her vagina. (I want to throw up just by typing this.) So not only does this scenario involve some kind of rape, as it is clear that a woman cannot be asked for her consent to insert this device into her body, but it also involves to torment Eggsy because he really does not want to indulge in the sexual activity that this task requires, such is his devotion to Tilde. Vaughn made it clear that the main purpose and the main “humor” behind his tortured concoction of this scene is Eggsy’s discomfort, not the violation of this woman, who is literally reduced to a vagina: we get a full gynecological perspective like Eggsy does the act. (But don’t worry! Tilde is appeased by Eggsy’s deception with a marriage proposal. Because what could a woman expect from a man?)
Vaughn thinks he’s nervous and unconventional, but absolutely everything he’s throwing up onscreen here – including the idea that a man’s feelings about a rapist are more important than the woman they are. ‘he raped – is tedious, even if he is stronger and more obnoxious than usual. . Please save us from the male artists who think they are dangerously innovative. We have had enough.