WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
As George R.R. Martin once said, stories in which only the extras die are “such a cheat”. All men must die. Valar Morghulis. This is true. But here’s the deal, deaths should have a purpose, they should make sense to the overall story. The cause of death doesn’t matter, death by meat grinder, death by an exploding chip in the brain, death by churhgoers, you can go as big and fantastical as you like, but the deaths should never be gratuitous. And here I was coming into the theater with popcorn on one hand and high expectations on the other. Because a.) I have always enjoyed Matthew Vaughn’s directorial work, even the underappreciated Stardust, and b.) The first Kingsman, Kingsman: The Secret Service was among the best and inventive movies I’ve seen during the year of its release. Plus, this sequel Magic Mike in it! And Oberyn Martell! And Storm! And The DUDE!!!
But sadly, Kingsman: The Golden Circle gave such a bad start by blowing up the entire Kingsman to pieces. And here I was thinking that maybe in this sequel we get to delve deeper into the Kingsman history and lore. Perhaps meet the other agents instead of them being just holograms. Maybe Percival is the big brother type, Tristan the prankster, Gawain the stick in the mud. Perhaps, we’ll learn the team dynamics, and throw in some office banter, as well. I mean, the possibilities are endless! But nooooooooo, let’s kill everybody off before we even start. And for what, exactly? For nothing. The reasons are just preposterous. And this isn’t just the only meaningless death there is. I think they made some bad decisions on whom to kill and for what. Although the death of the entire Kingsman is what drives our hero, Galahad and Merlin on their quest, and a couple of genuinely raw emotions come out of one or two of those deaths, the story still has a very confusing treatment of it (death) as it goes back and forth from flippancy to reverence.
The plot of the film pretty much follows the same pattern as the first. A villain wants to dominate the world (via drugs this time, instead of smart phone sim cards) and the heroes are their to stop them. And while I didn’t mind the plot holes as much in the first film, I did on this one. Because they took the silliness too far. Over the top, fantastical, and silly, must at least be rational and serve the overall story arch. If that makes sense at all. Instead, people die but they don’t, or people die and they do. trackers must only be inserted in vaginas (they wrote this in the movie, for real. I mean sure, there have been some sex jokes in the first film, but I think this one is completely unnecessary), and they make you eat man burger just because. And no, by “man” burger, I don’t mean a beef quarter pounder.
And I lament that there isn’t enough Jeff Bridges in this thing! And not enough of Channing Tatum either! With the amount of screen time they have in this movie, their appearances felt like mere cameos! The trailers were a trick! A ruse! Sob. They gave a more scenes to Pedro Pascal though, and he had some really great action sequences, but as far as character depth goes, there could have been so much more to him that what he was eventually reduced to in the end. But you know what? I enjoyed Elton John’s performance in this, as much as it was terrible cheesy. I don’t know. I feel like this works in terms of the kind of vibe the Kingsman movies have. And Sir Elton didn’t do too shabby either. He’s pretty hilarious in this! I mean I think he kind of saved this movie for me.
On a more positive note, Kingsman: The Golden Circle doesn’t lack in visual extravaganzas. The Matthew Vaughn fight scenes audiences have grown to enjoy is still there, where he would dial the speed up, and then slow it down for a second or two, and then speed it up again. Yeah, it is still as kinetic and beautifully stylized as before, and there’s more of it too in this sequel. But sadly, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is all just a series of spectacle and not much of anything else. I heard there will be a third sequel, hopefully they would run a tighter ship on that one, and perhaps let Halle Berry kick some serious ass, this time.
Rating: 3/5 Stars