Matthew Vaughn, one of the most dependably fun directors around, brings us the sequel to his ridiculous reinvention of the spy genre, Kingman: The Secret Service.
After the rags to riches story of Eggsy (Taron Egerton) becoming a full fledged Kingman by saving the world, The Golden Circle follows up with the Kingsman all but destroyed. Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) seek help from their American counterparts, The Statesmen, to bring down Poppy’s (Julianne Moore) Golden Circle.
The first film brought a new lease of life into the spy genre by cleverly satirising it’s age-old tropes. This is not to mention the charm, wit, humour and spectacular action sequences. And if you enjoyed that, you will enjoy Kingsman, The Golden Circle. This also applies vice versa, which may be why this romp of a sequel is receiving mixed reviews and is currently flagging on 50% on Rotten Tomatoes.
As you might expect with an American element added, this sequel is longer, bigger and more ridiculous. Not that this is a bad thing. Everything is dialled up to eleven. There are more gadgets, more death defying stunts, an even more ridiculous plot line. It’s the very definition of a romp. It may be overlong and a little overstuffed but this doesn’t really matter because you’re too busy having fun.
While Eggsy’s journey this time around isn’t quite as compelling, although he does have a love interest, it’s the supporting cast that add the emotional weight. Mark Strong’s Merlin thankfully has a lot more to do this time around and he’s responsible for most of the best moments in the film. A certain character from the first film (no spoilers) also returns in an unexpected and interesting way.
The new characters, although most don’t have a lot to do, are all welcome additions to the cast. They’re even used to set up further films. The introduction of the Statesmen adds more weight to this universe and provides a different dynamic to the first film.
The ridiculous plot-lines and unnecessary sex scenes are surely there to satirise James Bond, Jason Bourne and the like. Whether you think the action is over the top or the sex scenes distasteful, that’s exactly what Vaughn is going for. He is deliberately challenging the audience at the same time as mocking spy tropes.
The Golden Circle feels less of a play on the tropes of a spy film than it’s predecessor but that doesn’t stop it being an awful lot of fun.