In 2014 Kingsman: The Secret Service took the world by storm with its completely gonzo punk rock take on the spy genre that introduced the world to a brand new hero in Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin, who was played to perfection by newcomer Taron Egerton. Now Egerton and director Matthew Vaughn are back for Kingsman: The Golden Circle and I can promise you that if you’re looking for a shot of insane awesomeness right to your optic nerve then you’ve come to the right place.
Set after the events of Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kingsman: The Golden Circle picks up with Eggsy having become the golden agent of the elite spy service known as the Kingsman, and well life is pretty good for him. But that all comes crashing down in a surprise attack that decimates the Kingsman. Devastated from the attack, Eggsy and his trusty advisor Merlin (Mark Strong), head to America and partner up with their new found allies The Statesman. Together the Kingsman and the Statesman have to combat a new and extremely dangerous villainous named Poppy who has her eyes set on world domination, and who is willing to sacrifice millions of lives to achieve her grand schemes.
I’m going to come out and say it: Kingsman: The Golden Circle IS SO MUCH FUN!!!
From its opening titles to its closing credits, it’s an absolute riot that plays on what came before in the original film and cranks it up one thousand percent. With his first ever sequel director Matthew Vaughn is able to dig deeper into this fantastically crazy spy world that he conceived and the result is something truly amazing.
While he played upon the traditional gentleman spy archetype with the original Kingsman, here in The Golden Circle he gets to take a crack at the cowboy country manner of the American based Statesman. Here the wardrobe is denim and Stetsons and just like their English counterparts these cowboy agents have their own unique ways of doing things. This juxtaposition of two worlds leads to some great moments up on screen and makes this second outing a thoroughly fresh take.
One of the things I also love about Vaughn as a director is that he also injects his own personality into the project. While Kingsman: The Golden Circle is undoubtedly a lavishly big budgeted Hollywood action film Vaughn really makes it his own with subtle injections of his own personality. These come in the form of the likes of Eggsy’s distinctive spy glasses that are based upon Vaughn’s own signature eyewear, along with a killer robotic beauty therapist who resembles his wife Claudia Schiffer all too well. As a film fan I love seeing this kind of stuff, and these little nuances make all the difference.
The cast, oh where to begin. Well first off their amazing. Taron Egerton returns in dapper form as Eggsy, and while he may have some serious skills in saving the world, he’s still the cheeky, up-start estate kid we know and love. Life has changed quite a bit for Eggsy, and he’s now in a committed relationship with Princess Tilde, who, um ‘rewarded’ him for saving the world in the previous film. While I can’t say much it’s this relationship that really makes things personal for Eggsy and makes him committed to saving the world this time around.
The always dependable Mark Strong really steps up this time as well. As Eggsy’s trustee trainer and advisor Merlin he has a far larger role in the sequel, and you get to see a different side to him, such as his particular love for John Denver.
But it wouldn’t be a Kingsman film without the one and only Colin Firth as Harry Hart, and in a miraculous situation, the previously fallen spy makes a full return. While I can’t say much without drifting into spoiler territory, let’s just say Firth’s return as Hart is a welcome relief and leads to some very interesting sequences up on screen.
Then there are the bourbon slinging cowboys of the Statesman. Stepping up to the plate is Pedro Pascal as the aptly named Jack Daniels, codenamed Agent Whiskey, who pairs up with Eggsy to save the world. Pascal is channelling his inner Burt Reynolds here with a perfectly groomed moustache and cocky southern charisma. He’s also pretty adept with a lasso and bullwhip, and these unique skills provide some seriously cool action scenes.
While Whiskey might be the Statesman’s All-American boy, it’s Channing Tatum who dances to his own tune as resident statesman bad boy Agent Tequila. Brandishing a Winchester rifle and one serious Stetson, Tequila loves his liquor and is ready to party. He goes toe-to-toe with Eggsy and Merlin in one hell of an intense action scene and has plenty of fun doing it.
Rounding out the Statesman cast are Halle Berry as resident tech Ginger Ale who is a little bit flirty with Merlin and who is on point with her computer wizardry and the legendary Jeff Bridges is his super cool self as Statesman head Champ.
While Samuel L. Jackson’s Richmond Valentine was one seriously deranged and quirky villain, Oscar winner Julianne Moore takes it up a notch this time. Moore’s resident baddie Poppy Adams is best described as a psychopathic Martha Stewart who is altogether kooky and whose affinity for small-town Americana matches her love for diabolical ways to dispatch those who cross her. Poppy is totally coo coo and her nefarious plan to bring the world to its knees is original and makes her one dangerous adversary for the combined Kingsman/Statesman task force who are dispatched to stop her.
And finally, in a surprise and smashing cameo appearance, Sir Elton John steps out onto The Golden Circle’s stage. Celebrity cameos don’t get much better than this and well Elton is just utterly brilliant.
If you want action you’ve really come to the right place. While the infamous ‘church massacre’ from the original Kingsman is an altogether classic piece of cinema, Kingsman: The Golden Circle adds to this with some seriously crazy stunt sequences. Again I can’t really go there without straddling the spoiler line, but Kingsman: The Golden Circle has some pretty epic moments that include its adrenaline-charged opening car chase, and the impressively crazy showdown at Poppy Land which has lead flying left, right and centre and see’s both Eggsy and Hart kicking some serious ass!
I shouldn’t have to convince you to want to watch Kingsman: The Golden Circle, it’s simply brilliant and what do they say “you can’t get enough of a good thing.’ Kingsman: The Golden Circle is that good thing and if you’re looking for a good time in the cinema then you need to buy a ticket and take this ride. Spy’s, gadgets, perfect suits, good whiskey and a do or die mission to save the world and rescue the girl. Yep, Kingsman: The Golden Circle has it all!
Image: 20th Century Fox