Tuesday, 26 September 2017
If 2015 could be considered a good year for spy movies, then perhaps 2017 is a good year for sequels, with the likes of John Wick, Prometheus, Planet of the Apes, Bladerunner and even Trainspotting all getting eagerly-awaited follow ups. But of all the sequels that were in the horizon at the start of the year, the one I was most excited for (save for Star Wars: The Last Jedi of course) was Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the follow up to one of 2015's most wildly original showings.
The film is set a year after the events of the first film, with Eggsy (Taron Egerton) having settled into his role as the new Galahad. But his world is rocked when the Kingsman are all but wiped out by a devastating attack by The Golden Circle, a drug cartel that is led by Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), a woman obsessed with 1950s American culture. This forces the surviving members to seek the help of their American counterparts, the Statesmen, a spy organization masking as a distillery whose members include Tequila (Channing Tatum), Ginger Ale (Halle Berry), Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and their leader, Champagne (Jeff Bridges).
Going into Kingsman: The Golden Circle, I already knew that director Mathew Vaughn had to achieve the difficult task of delivering the action set pieces fans had come to expect from the first film. And for the most part, the film succeeds, culminatinig in a final act that is arguably just as wild as the church scene from the first film. It's a shame the same couldn't be said about character development. This is one area where I think the movie fell short, even as it tries (and fails) to imbue its characters with some measure of emotional depth.
Channing Tatum was underused and even outright missing for the better part of the movie, with his character's inclusion serving more as set up for the inevitable sequel than anything else. It doesn't help that the whole thing felt overlong, with a run-time of almost two hours and thirty minutes. Perhaps the film could have benefited from tighter editing, but in its present state, it plays more like a string of disjointed setpieces, with very little character development in-between.
All that said, I would still recommend Kingsman: The Golden Circle to fans of the original, or to fans of spy movies, over-the-top action and stylized fights scenes in general. And with a sequel all but guaranteed at this point, here's hoping that the next installment manages to bring some much-needed character moments into the mix.