Three years ago writer/ director Matthew Vaughn surprised audiences with his over-the-top and hugely entertaining action-spy-comedy, “Kingsman: The Secret Service”. Now he is back with the follow-up, “The Golden Circle”. The key players are back, Eggsy (Taron Egerton), Merlin (Mark Strong), and Harry Hart (Colin Firth). Yes, Harry’s death in the first film is addressed.
Much has changed for Eggsy since we last saw him. He has become a super-agent in the time that has passed. Not only that, but he is in a serious relationship with Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström). Things were going quite well for the young spy, until the Kingsman headquarters was destroyed, killing almost all the Kingsmen, one of his closest friends, and his dog.
A ruthless and psychotic drug-lord named Poppy (Julianne Moore) is the one responsible for not only taking down the Kingsmen, but also holding the world hostage by lacing her drugs with a toxin that will kill anyone who uses them. Poppy is the only one with the cure and she will only release it if the U.S. President (Bruce Greenwood) legalizes narcotics.
Eggsy and Merlin soon discover they are not the last two Kingsmen alive. Harry survived the shot to the head from the last film and has been in the custody of their American counterparts known as the Statesmen. Champaign (Jeff Bridges) runs the whisky company/spy agency with his top agents Tequila (Channing Tatum), Ginger (Halle Berry), and Whiskey (Pedro Pascal). Once Harry overcomes his amnesia, the Kingsmen with the help of the Statesmen seek out Poppy in order to take her down and save the world.
“The Golden Circle” throws a lot at you, trying to outdo the first film. The problem is that the last film was already quite over-the-top and the more Vaughn tries to push things, the harder It is to buy into the story. Admittedly, the kidnapped Elton John stuff was quite amusing, and getting to see him have some fun in the film’s final act is easily one of best things going on here. There is plenty of great action, some solid laughs and rarely a dull moment. If you can get past much of the stupidity on display, you will probably have a good time with “The Golden Circle”
By: Marc Ferman