Matthew Vaughn’s 2014 Kingsman: The Secret Service was a fun, action packed send up of the British spy thriller genre, and despite the efforts of Vaughn and his returning cast, Kingsman: The Golden Circle falls pretty short of matching it.
The sequel finds Taron Ederton’s Eggsy teaming up with an American spy organization called The Statesmen (featuring Haley Berry, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges) to help stop a criminal mastermind (Julianne Moore). While the film was enjoyable, the over the top action was amped up to a level just shy of overkill (some may argue it crossed the over-kill line), which came off as a bit hollow. The thought process behind this was clearly “Well, it worked the first time, let’s just do more of it.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t pay off. The cartoon- like violence of the first film was perfectly balanced with smart dialogue and cool characters, and while all of those elements still remain, the film leans too heavily in the CGI action direction. I don’t believe the film would have resonated as much as the first Kingsman if they had toned it down a notch or two, but it still would have been a much better movie then the one were given.
Egerton was a highlight in the film. His handling of the secret identity-like dual personas was fantastic. He was a great leading man here, and I’d like to see him again in the role, though in a better film. Colin Firth, who is never not great, returns, though fans of the first film may be wondering how (it makes sense within the context of a film of this type). The inclusion of the American counterparts in the story felt a bit off for me, if only because as an American, one of the reasons I enjoy a film like the original Kingsman, or any of the 007 series, is that they are distinctively British. It’s a specific type of escapism, one that is nullified when American actors are brought into the fold (I felt the same way about Samuel L. Jackson’s character in the first film, though to a lesser extent). That said, the American actors cast here are always welcome on screen, and I would definitely welcome a Statesmen spin-off.
Over all the film was enjoyable enough, and while there was nothing glaringly bad about the film, it just failed to live up to the standards of the first one. I wouldn’t say you should skip it all together, but I’d recommend waiting to watch it on Netflix.