#REVIEW: “KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE”
Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
Back in 2015 Mark Millar’s Kingsman was not a widely known Graphic Novel and expectations for a Movie starring virtual unknown Taron Egerton were low. With a worldwide take of over $400 million USD, Kingsman: The Secret Service was an instant hit leaving little doubt that a sequel was in the offing. Fast-forward to 2017 and anticipation for Kingsman: The Golden Circle is so high even Oscar winners are fighting to get in on the action.
Eggsy (Egerton) is in Sweden meeting his girlfriend’s royal parents when Kingsmen’s headquarters is blown-up. Desperate to avenge the loss of life and real estate, Eggsy and Merlin head off to America to meet their colonial counterparts: the Statesmen. The alcohol magnates are led by Champagne (Jeff Bridges) and his two chief operatives Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and Tequila (Channing Tatum). Eggsy and his new international team intend to take down Poppy (Julianne Moore), who is blackmailing the President of the United States to legalize the sale of hard drugs. Along the way, Eggsy must deal with old foes, romantic woes, and resurrected friends.
The supporting cast clearly enjoyed making Golden Circle. Pascal and Tatum balance the inherent camp of their boozy names with sharp dialogue and well-choreographed fight scenes. The action scenes are obviously why everybody will be queueing up to the latest Kingsman installment and Co-Writer/Director Matthew Vaughn brings the big guns straight out of the gate. In the opening sequence, Eggsy is involved in a fight in the backseat of a car and the stakes are only raised from there. Robot dogs named after an Elton John song, deadly gondolas, electric whips, and stun watches are reminiscent of another British spy but are all approached with the freshness Vaughn has become famous for.
While much will be made of Colin Firth’s return to the Kingsman fold, the real heart of the Movie is Mark Strong. Always the brains of the operation, Merlin is the one who rallies Eggsy when the going gets tough and reinforces the idea that the ideals of the Kingsman haven’t died simply because they don’t have a storefront. Strong’s performance will likely not garner the attention of his gun-wielding costars but without him the others are simply hollow archetypes.
Perhaps no crime in the movie is so egregious as the under-utilization of its female cast, especially Julianne Moore. Although Vaughn paints Poppy as the bad guy he is quick to spend time with an uncaring President (Bruce Greenwood) who sees Poppy as a means to an end. By villainizing the President, Vaughn makes Poppy look even more like a comic book knockoff rather than a challenging foe for Eggsy and his allies. Her maniacal drug queenpin is delightfully insane but in the moment when Moore might finally step into her action star shoes she is instead relegated to keyboards and whistles. Even Elton John gets his moment in this movie – but Moore isn’t permitted to play in this boys’ club.
Eggsy, like the actor that portrays him, has matured since the first Movie and fans are going to enjoy watching their bespoke hero and his American counterparts as they set out to save the world from another megalomaniacal villain. Boasting a strong cast and fun action, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is that rare Sequel that delivers.
20th Century Fox Films Canada opens Kingsman: The Golden Circle on Friday, September 22, 2017.