Despite high hopes from fans, Matthew Vaughn’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” definitely takes the silver when compared with the first movie of the series. While still packed with entertaining action and wildly funny dialogue, “The Golden Circle” trades the opportunity to develop potentially excellent characters for a cheesy plotline and an unnecessarily dramatic side romance.
The movie opens with protagonist Eggsy Unwin engaging in an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat fight against old rival Charlie Hesketh. Despite the promising start, like Eggsy’s luck, the movie and characters only go downhill from there.
Within minutes, missiles sent by the devastatingly dull villain Poppy Adams kill all the remaining Kingsmen except Eggsy and his behind-the-scenes counterpart Merlin. One of the most dynamic characters from the last movie, Roxy, dies in this attack, making her the first example of the movie’s failure to take advantage of well-developed, strong characters.
The movie then attempts to compensate for her death with too many incomplete or weak characters.
Halle Berry’s tech-support character Ginger Ale is probably the biggest disappointment. As an ambitious and intelligent black woman, Ginger had a lot of potential for character development and promoting Hollywood diversity, but her character is unidimensional and shows no aptitude for the computer job she was originally appointed to, her skills being far outweighed by those of her Kingsman counterpart Merlin. She is also unrealistically promoted to field work, having never engaged in any physical combat in the movie.
Tequila, Channing Tatum’s amazingly hilarious character, is probably the only new personality likable enough to make up for Roxy’s absence. However, he spends half of the movie delirious or knocked out in an ice tub, leaving the audience robbed of the heat, excitement and humor his character brings.
An unexpected treasure in the movie is Colin Firth’s performance as Harry Hart after he was killed in the original “Kingsman.” A beloved mentor and character from the last movie, Harry’s death was impactful and heartbreaking for “Kingsman” fans. His return in “The Golden Circle” degrades the significance and tragedy of his murder a little, but Firth more than makes up for it through his stellar acting. Harry is introduced with no memory of his Kingsman life after his “accident” from the last movie, and Firth morphs the confident, well prepared, put-together agent into an aloof, confused lepidopterist. Harry’s character development after his memory returns is the only realistic and engaging one to follow, as he struggles with recovering and self-doubt.
Just watching the first movie alone is probably enough to be able to anticipate important events or reactions, and excitement and novelty is lost through its repetition.
“The Golden Circle” tries, with limited success, to introduce a romantic relationship for Eggsy. He and his girlfriend, Swedish princess Tilde, are in love and dedicated to each other, which is not a hindrance to the movie’s merit until Eggsy needs to engage in sexual intercourse with another woman in order to plant a surveillance chip. Painfully cliché and only necessary to create cheap drama, the scene tore an annoying rift in the relationship between Eggsy and his girlfriend, leading to another plethora of predictable clichés and glaring plot holes.
Along with the overused tropes, “The Golden Circle” follows a plot parallel to the first movie. Both feature psychopathic villains who control the lives of mass populations through popular substances, microchips for Wi-Fi last time and recreational drugs this time. Both movies also feature one of Eggsy’s loved ones in danger, an inside “double agent” and corrupt government officials. Just watching the first movie alone is probably enough to be able to anticipate important events or reactions, and excitement and novelty is lost through its repetition.
Still, the movie’s redemption lies in the wonderful action scenes and humor. “The Golden Circle” is packed with action scenes that are fast-paced and exciting, keeping the audience on their toes with anticipation for more. The camera angles, shots and effects all contribute wonderfully to enhance the quick, brutal movements in the fights.
The humor from the first movie is evident in “The Golden Circle” as well, but unlike the plotline, never overused or unwelcome. It appears in a variety of circumstances and from different characters, ensuring that everyone in the audience has a smile on their face at some point during the movie.
“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is a an exciting action movie with great cinematography weighed down by poor character choices and cliché plot-lines. “The Golden Circle” is perfect for those seeking a movie with intense, entertaining fight scenes, but for fans of the first Kingsman installment, the sequel is comparatively an unfortunate flop.