The Chaotic and the Stupid: Our Review of ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - September 21, 2017
The Chaotic and the Stupid: Our Review of ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’

For any other stylish action thriller, the prominent role of Elton John as comic relief (and a very minor side-story) might be surprising, but it should come as no shock for filmmaker Matthew Vaughn and his new Kingsman, an exhaustive orgy of self-indulgence and silliness.

That this film is wildly incoherent, making for at times eye-popping action sequences and at others eye-rolling comments, shouldn’t faze anyone who saw the original. Just like most blockbuster action films that spawn a sequel, The Golden Circle is exactly like the original, except now it’s bigger, more bonkers, and has a eye firmly planted on building worlds for future movies.

Here, when our now accomplished young hero Eggsy (Taryn Egerton) and mentor Merlin (Mark Strong) become the last remaining Kingsman – the super secret and super stylish and super hi-tech British spy agency – they head to Kentucky to meet up with their American counterparts: the booze-brewing Statesmen. While the set up and meeting sound promising, especially considering the Statesman clan includes Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, and Pedro Pascal, it’s just one of many half-hearted and unfulfilled ideas in this excessive, easily distracted film.

Berry and Pascal play the most prominent roles, as Tatum is mostly there to draw people to the theatre, soon pushed to the side in the story and saved for adventures in years to come. The potential for more films in this franchise is one of many preoccupations in The Golden Circle.

Another partial focus is Julianne Moore’ villain, a cartoonish entrepreneur who owns a monopoly on the worldwide drug trade (called The Golden Circle), and a seemingly well-funded tech department. However, her flimsy plan for world notoriety involves poisoning millions of drugs users globally ,and letting them die lest the U.S. President legalizes all drugs. She also has two killer robot dogs because she says people aren’t as trustworthy or competent – yet henchmen conveniently patrol her jungle hideout with the exact stupidity necessary for a Kingsman breach.

That’s her agenda – late in the game a caricature of a southern President explains bluntly that all drug users are bad so they should die; not the most subtle of messages. But the film doesn’t care about anything, especially with social commentary with the nuance of a bumper sticker. An entirely unnecessary and supremely idiotic tangent in Glasgow reminds us how sexist these films are, adding in a lack of scientific understanding for good measure. The scene, in which Eggsy needs to seduce a beautiful woman, provides both eye candy and trivial way to start a rift between him and his girlfriend back home.

Oh, Colin Firth is also back but he has amnesia; there may be a double agent; a rejected Kingsman applicant now has a cyborg arm; our heroes have a ton of random technology that will either appear or disappear based on how convenient it is to the story. And boy is there a lot of Elton John.

Still, Kingsman isn’t terrible. It’s a movie that asks you to turn off your brain, and if you don’t, it will do it for you. It’s action sequences are entertaining and employ the familiar acrobatics. It’’s a movie this generation deserves, full of pretty things, utter convenience, and no thought necessary.

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Anthony is a lover of a good story in any form, on any subject. Tirelessly navigating filmdom, he is equal parts an unbridled idealist and stubborn curmudgeon, trying to strike a balance between head and heart when it comes to pop culture. He pens stories about television, music, the environment, lifestyles, and all things noteworthy and peculiar.