Kingsman: The Secret Service was a massive hit when it landed back in 2014, it was a fresh, original, fun, and entirely entertaining modern spy action comedy that put Taron Egerton on the fast track to stardom. Needless to say, this sequel had a lot to live up to and had to not fall into the trap of thinking bigger is better. For the most part I believe this movie is every bit as good as its predecessor but just falls short due to minor nitpicks. In the film, when the Kingsman HQ is destroyed Eggsy uncovers a secret leading him to the US counterpart of his organisation known as Statesman. The two organisations band together to take out a common evil who is threatening to kill millions. This sequel delivered on all of the elements I wanted from it, a great blend of comedy and action, excellent fight choreography and cinematography, top notch performances, and like its predecessor; a shitload of fun. At 2 hours and 21 minutes it’s around 10 minutes longer than the last film and I feel as though it really didn’t need to be.
One of the biggest highlights of Kingsman: The Secret Service is the action, it’s very fast paced, shot beautifully, and each action sequence feels wholly original utilising a range of crazy gadgets to change it up each time. The same can once again be said here as with every action sequence I had the biggest, dumbest smile on my face as I enjoyed the chaotic beauty of everything on the screen. There are enough action set-pieces in here to garner your full attention throughout and it ensures you are never once bored, even for a second. I’d say there’s a larger variety of action sequences in this film and it all just helps to give it a very refreshing feel. The way the action is shot though is absolutely stunning, Matthew Vaughn has proved he can shoot action very well whether that’s here, in Kick-Ass (2010), or even in X-Men First Class (2011). It is all very fast paced and filmed in a way that makes each sequence feel like one long take when it very obviously isn’t, but this method works wonders to suck you into the scene.
It manages to capture the same tone as its predecessor with a near perfect blend of action, comedy, and a touch of drama and emotion to give some characters enjoyable and meaningful arcs. It never loses the heightened sense of fun, even during character centric moments as you have some unique personalities all putting their skills together in unique ways. Taron Egerton is just as thrilling to watch as before and he will forever be Eggsy to me as he brings this character to life. It’s also really neat seeing how his character has grown since we met him to where he can take charge here in certain situations, a nice 2-film arc so far. But this is by no means a one-man show as Mark Strong (Merlin), Edward Holcroft (Charlie), and Pedro Pascal (Whiskey) are just as good alongside him adding wonderfully to every scene they star in. It’s no secret that Colin Firth is back for this instalment and he is a great to watch but as for the role he plays here I will not go into it at all.
Samuel L Jackson played a very memorable villain in the first film, whether you liked the ridiculousness of his character, his lisp and his love with McDonalds or not he was a major part of what made that movie enjoyable. Julianne Moore has since claimed the role of maniacal villain as she plays Poppy, a somewhat quirky villain but not as far down that oddball road as Jackson’s villain. She was decent and she serves her role in the story well but she may be the least memorable element of this entire movie. Not bad by any means, just fine. I mentioned that this runtime is 10 minutes longer than its predecessor’s and I don’t feel like it needed to be. If around 10 minutes was cut out here and there from some subplots in the latter half I feel like it would tighten the whole film up a bit and cut out some brief moments of downtime. But that’s really the only noticeable quarrel I had with this sequel. It is a bit of a retread of the first film in some instances but it honestly didn’t bother me at all due to how much fun I was having…… if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
So in the end, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a thoroughly enjoyable sequel that delivers on everything you loved about the first film and does a great job blending the familiar with the new. There are some good laughs in here, a tonne of thrilling action, a touch of well handled emotion and it’s all balanced throughout. Fans of the first film will definitely get a good kick out of this and all I want now is that third film to hurry up. Oh, and there is a music icon in here whose appearance at first might seems cheesy and pointless but I’m telling you, it pays off hilariously.