By Jason Yon
Elm Staff Writer
Three years ago, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” was released in theaters. The eccentric spoof on the world of James Bond was received quite well by critics and moviegoers alike. There was something about the style of the characters and the nearly comic book level of action that clicked. It was only a matter of time before a sequel was released. Like every other franchise, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” tries to take everything to next level as a sequel. A new agency is introduced, there are more fights, and the movie is nearly 20 minutes longer than its predecessor. It is evident that a lot of effort was put into trying to make the second “Kingsman” much larger in every way.
“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” starts almost immediately with a crazy car chase that sets up the rest of the film. One of the failed Kingsman initiates from the previous film becomes the right-hand man to Poppy (Julianne Moore), the eccentric illegal substance mogul behind Poppy’s Pharmaceuticals, the largest “corporation” behind the illegal drug trade. Poppy destroys all of the Kingsman assets and then essentially holds the world hostage. Poppy poisoned everything that went through her company: cocaine, heroin, meth, and, of course, cannabis. Every popular illegal substance in the world is poisoned, leaving millions affected and Poppy with the antidote. The plan is to hold the world for ransom until drugs are legalized everywhere, making Poppy extremely rich and famous. From there it’s up to the remaining Kingsmen, Eggsy (Taron Egerton), and Merlin (Mark Strong), along with the new Statesmen (the secret agency) to save the day.
The biggest draw to “Kingsman: Golden Circle” would be the action. It is, after all, an action movie. The action of the first “Kingsman” made it famous, especially the church fight scene. Director Matthew Vaughn chose to move the camera around with the action, moving it seemingly as fast as the characters themselves. The result is a frame that follows punches and kicks in a frantic manner that also allows for a fairly clear understanding of exactly what is going on in the fights. It was great in the first movie, but “Golden Circle” took it to the extreme. Every single fight is maxed out with this style and it loses its charm by the end of the movie.
The best part of “Golden Circle” is the Statesmen, the American counterpart to the English Kingsmen. Without the inclusion of this new group, I honestly would not have given the movie a chance, and the Statesmen definitely worked. Where the Kingsmen hide behind a tailor shop, the Statesmen have a giant whiskey distillery in Kentucky. All of the Statesmen’s code names are types of alcohol and, of course, all of their gadgets are western themed; double barreled revolvers, electric lassos, and fancy hats that protect from head shots, to name a few. The Statesmen are a fantastic contrasting group for the Kingsmen and a perfect caricature of American machismo. I certainly hope they return in whatever future this franchise has.
“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is top tier when it comes to modern action movies. Awesome characters, timeless style and entertaining and over the top action sequences add up to a really good time. Unfortunately, the movie does run rather long, but removing parts from that runtime to shorten it would only reduce the number of jokes or action sequences that populate the movie. Also, the first movie is pretty much required to understand the events and characters of the second; everything is tied very closely. These do not really detract from the movie as a whole and “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is a great action movie to watch and laugh about with friends.