Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the sequel to 2014’s surprise hit, Kingsman: The Secret Service. A film about espionage, suits, and action. The Golden Circle is much more of the same, but it has a few twists and turns along the way. Does the film live up to its predecessor or is it like many of the bad sequels we’ve seen in the past? Well, let’s find out.

The story is relatively straightforward, The Kingsman need to take down the worlds biggest drug cartel (The Golden Circle), lead by Poppy (Julianne Moore). Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) need to get help from the Statesman, Kingsman’s American counterpart. That’s pretty much it. There are more things that factor into the story, but that would be stepping into spoiler territory, and where’s the fun in that? The story is a little weak but it could’ve easily been made worse if it wasn’t for the cast. Everyone did a fantastic job! They all owned their roles and really elevated the film. That’s not to say everything was peaches and cream. Channing Tatum was completely wasted in this film, and it really bums me out. He could’ve been a great co-lead with Egerton [like the trailers made it seem]! Pedro Pascal basically played the role we all expected Tatum to play, and I didn’t even know he was in the movie! Unfortunately, Julianne Moore is also wasted. She could’ve been an interesting villain, but they didn’t flesh out her character. She’s insane just for the sake of being insane. Why is she in this line of work? Why does she hate the Kingsman? These things are never really explained and it makes her character very shallow.
The movie hits hard with the action! It’s quick, brutal, and intense – everything you can want from an action scene. The opening scene is an awesome car chase – setting the tone for the rest of the movie. The Statesman adds a new dynamic to the fight scenes with weapons like electric lassos, baseball grenades, and shotguns – because ‘Merica! In all seriousness, it was great. The Statesman are good enough to have their own spin-off, and the film hints that we’ll see them again in the future.

One thing I haven’t touched on was Harry (Colin Firth) returning after his death in the previous film. It’s great to have Firth back, and he was a major reason why the first film worked so well, but he’s completely unnecessary in this movie. It would’ve been more powerful if he stayed dead. They have moments where it flashbacks to the first film, leading to a couple emotional scenes from Eggsy. This was a perfect way to bring him back, and it was really effective. Unfortunately, when Harry comes back the flow of the film has to stop so we can work him back into the story. Maybe if they took the story in a different direction it could have worked? It felt like someone (the studio or director) thought that Taron Egerton couldn’t carry the film on his own; so they tried to recreate what worked in the first film. It doesn’t ruin the movie but it does hold it back.

In the end, Kingsman: The Golden Circle tries to capture the magic of the original, but it’s ultimately held back by trying to be more outrageous. It’s pretty forgettable but there’s still a good time to be had. It’s an enjoyable film, especially if you’re a fan of the first one.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle hits theaters this Friday.

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