Review: In 2014, ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ surprised everyone with a bold storyline, visceral action, and a completely self-aware premise. It became a hit that needed a sequel. But does the follow-up meet everyone’s expectations? It’s certainly not an easy task to track down this smash hit, but “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” certainly tries to raise the ante, keeping the same ironic humor intact, with some gritty action and a cast of famous names. His problem stems from the fact that he doesn’t know exactly when to step down, in an excessive effort to outdo his predecessor.
The story is a story we all know pretty well – a psychotic villain is holding the world, or at least the United States, hostage in an absolutely absurd way. Our heroes must save the day, but the odds are stacked against them when their resources are depleted. In order to make the task even more difficult, they must gain the trust of their new allies, and again, this is a two-way street. Add in some crazy baddies and we’ve got a neat little package. But ‘The Golden Circle’ still has a few tricks up its sleeve. Since the action is the main focus, there’s some nifty editing and camera work that makes it a lot easier to follow, reminiscent of the insane chapel sequence in “The Secret Service”. In the acting department, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Pedro Pascal, and Julianne Moore are all effective in their respective roles, but it’s a missed opportunity not to save Colin Firth’s return as a shocking surprise. By contrast, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, and Jeff Bridges feel underused – no doubt being booked for the next entry in this franchise.
It also means there’s a lot of fluff this time around that could have been removed, to make it a leaner, meaner storyline. But the cast and director Matthew Vaughn seem to have had a lot of fun making this movie and that essence translates well on screen as well. As long as you don’t expect it to be a genre-defying blockbuster, sit back and enjoy “The Golden Circle” for what it’s worth. If nothing else, watch Elton John playing an extremely colorful version of himself – and that means something!