The gleefully over-the-top sequel to what was already a joyful ripoff of the James Bond movies, Kingsman: The Golden Circle goes bigger, bolder, and more over the top, expanding the Kingsman mythology and world in exciting ways that make for a promising future to this franchise. If you didn’t know that Kingsman was based on a comic book franchise, The Golden Circle makes that fact quite clear, both for better and for worse.
The Golden Circle (or, 2 Kingsman 2 Furious), is maybe a step down from its predecessor, but it’s pretty close – if you were in the bag for the first, I can’t imagine anything would have changed in this one. All the elements are there – the insane violence, the juvenile sex jokes, the British “stiff upper lip” mentality both being subverted and … well, verted – and director Matthew Vaughn has a few tricks up his sleeve that really amp things up to be sure. If nothing else, it’s hard to imagine any other film or director could have the sheer audacity to have a visual effects shot inside a woman’s vagina.
Julianne Moore makes for a wholly fun and effective villain here, with a fully realized persona that not all villains tend to get in action sequels like this one. She’s colorful (literally) and gets to both play against type as well as into type. It’s one of the funniest things about this movie, even as her diabolical, evil plan is nonsensical in a distracting way.
Also surprisingly funny is a cameo appearance by Sir Elton John.
I was pretty disappointed at the way the film treated a fun character like Roxxy (Sophie Cookson), from the original film – she was a character with a lot of promise and the filmmakers really didn’t do right by her unless they’re planning to bring her back from the dead, which – spoiler! – happens with Colin Firth’s character.
I didn’t really buy much of the Colin Firth character arc but what the heck, this movie is too silly to really take seriously.
Pedro Pascal is really fun here as a spy cowboy, but it’s worth wondering what this film might have been if they had been able to sustain the original production schedule which called for a beefier Channing Tatum appearance.
Still, ultimately this movie is almost exactly what I expected.