As a lover of all things cinema and an executive producer, I am always eager to view Hollywood’s latest films. And with that being said, this year has already offered us some fantastic films. Get Out, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver and Stephen King’s IT were all amazing films, and we still have a few left before the year is out.
With that being said, I figured that I would go through and review some of this year’s most recent titles in an ongoing series of blogs. The first entry will cover Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
When Kingsman: The Secret Service first premiered in 2015, I didn’t expect much. I figured it would be another generic James Bond, comic book movie ripoff. But I was pleasantly surprised. The film had whacky and interesting villains, great actors, a great sense of humor and some fantastic action sequences. And when I heard that a sequel was in the works, I was already on board. Unfortunately, the 2017 sequel doesn’t quite hit the mark.
The Golden Circle sees the main players from the first film return in order to fight yet another villain with a maniacal plot. Newcomers to the franchise include Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges and even Elton John; all three of which felt like tacked-on characters that rarely appear in the film, particularly Tatum, who is frozen on ice early on in the film only to be seen again at the tail end.
Where Kingsman: The Secret Service took its audience by surprise with Samuel L. Jackson’s villainous Richmond Valentine and his lisp and fear of blood, Taron Egerton’s, who plays Eggsy Unwin, acting chops and some fantastically choreographed action sequences (the church scene), The Golden Circle rested on its predecessor’s laurels and never tried to raise the bar. There were very few moments where I was left thinking, that was a brilliant scene!
To be fair, the film does have some very well-choreographed action scenes, but they seemed to be extensions of the first film’s church sequence, using the same type of fast-moving camera style. It felt lazy. And in between these action sequences lay a copy-and-paste save the world plot. The Kingsman are attacked by an eccentric villain, Poppy Adams, played by Julianne Moore, who wants to legalize drug trafficking. With their headquarters blown up and several members of the organization dead, the Kingsman flee to America and seek out the assistance of the Statesman, their American counterparts. The two forces then team up to take down Poppy.
An outlandish plot is to be expected from the franchise, but Moore’s amazingly underwhelming performance was not. Her character falls victim to the “clinically insane and murderous” tendencies that have plagued cinema’s antagonists for the past few years. And while there is nothing wrong with a villain of this type, the character should feel fleshed out and not simply insane for the sake of having a crazy villain. Moore’s portrayal of Poppy was over-the-top and yet incredibly boring, offering no backstory on the character outside of a few lines of dialogue.
The film’s writing also left something to be desired. The script was so by-the-book that I found myself finishing the lines of several characters before they had a chance to. The film’s comedy was also unbearably cringeworthy. Most, if not all, of the film’s jokes fell flat and seemed forced, particularly the Elton John references.
While The Golden Circle was not a terrible film by any stretch of the imagination, it never managed to capitalize on the first film’s zany and fun personality in a meaningful way.