Kingsman: The Golden Circle Entertains, But Falls Short of Predecessor
For those who know us, it is no secret that we both hold Kingsman: The Secret Service in high regard. It was exciting, witty, debaucherous, and above all else, epic. For us, it felt like a revitalized Bond experience, with a little more humor and special effects mixed in. And so when the sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, was announced last spring, we began anxiously awaiting its release.
Our expectations, however, would eventually be diminished by a variety of things. Though we remained excited, we figured the movie would be lacking, especially compared to the first one. First, the movie was drastically over-marketed to the point where we thought we knew the plot before even watching the movie. Second, Hollywood hasn’t had much success with sequels in recent years. For instance, The Amazing Spider-Man series was a flop, Avengers: Age of Ultron was not nearly as good as the first, and the Transformers movies have been degraded with each new installment — to the point where the latest abandoned a coherent plot altogether. Other mishaps include the Hangover sequels, Terminator revivals, and —although these examples are a little more dated — horrible sequels to comedy classics like Blues Brothers and Caddyshack.
Simply put, numerous signs pointed to Kingsman: The Golden Circle being a flop. And if you were to check Rotten Tomatoes, you might come to that conclusion as well.
Luckily for those who have either seen, or are planing to see, The Golden Circle, this sequel punches well above its tomatometer weight. For starters, The Golden Circle featured the same cinematographic aesthetic as The Secret Service, as well as many of those blisteringly fast action sequences that made the first one so memorable. Plus, the terrific chemistry seen in the first film between Eggsy (played by Taron Egerton), Harry Hart (Colin Firth), and Merlin (Mark Strong) is on display for most of the The Golden Circle — particularly between Eggsy and Merlin. And we would be remiss not to mention the humor throughout (even if not all the jokes hit), terrific music (John Denver, anyone?), and noteworthy cameo that was part-cringeworthy and part-hysterical (we won’t give it away, though).
But let’s be clear: this sequel was definitely not as good as the first Kingsman. In short, The Golden Circle suffered from a mediocre villain, an unsophisticated plot with many holes and discrepancies, and a lack of charm compared to its predecessor. It was also disappointing to see the film squander the anticipated additions of Channing Tatum and Halle Berry to the franchise, as neither were particularly important to the story.
So what will come of the Kingsman franchise moving forward? Without going into much detail, the film’s ending offered conflicting signals as to Eggsy’s future (which we both interpreted differently). In addition, many critics are speculating that the film’s lukewarm reception signals that the end is near. Yet despite pedestrian reviews, The Golden Circle still pleased people like us who loved the first installment — evidenced by its over $100 million worldwide gross after only a week.
Translation: manners, maketh, money.
Clearly there is an appetite for the stylish and zany Kingsman franchise, and the sequel to the smashing first entry did little to extinguish that enthusiasm.