By Matt McDonald, Columnist
When it came out in 2014, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” was an unexpectedly brilliant movie. With its incredible choreography, intense camera work and entertaining twists (not to mention it was just a solid idea), it quickly became popular for all of those who love action movies.
The sequel, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” definitely includes all of these elements, but does it improve them?
It’s the same. The sequel introduces Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton) as a now-established Kingsman who has a girlfriend against policy and seems to be living the life.
But when an unknown source begins to target all Kingsman agents, Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong), his brain of operations, must enlist the help of the Statesmen, America’s equivalent of the Kingsmen, to fight back and preserve not only the system, but the people running it.
I’d like to compare these two to “Guardians of the Galaxy” and its sequel. The first was quick and unexpectedly entertaining, with a great story. The second added more subplots, created depth to the characters and was more complex, but just as entertaining and funny as the first.
Which do we prefer, simple and funny or complex and movnig? I personally don’t believe that any of the scenes devoted to character development or backstory were a waste. Every single one was successful in fleshing out the characters as quickly as possible.
That being said, it leads to a lot of subplots and it can get a little confusing or slow every so often, most notably the love story which, while very crucial, seemed to waver for me a bit.
I think the worst part of this movie is actually the antagonist. Julianne Moore plays an obviously psychotic drug promoter and leader of The Golden Circle, putting on the façade of a homey cook in the small retro town she’s built in the middle of a remote jungle. The problem is that she actively does nothing. She makes a few henchmen kill other people, and devises a very thought-out plan, but the only times we see her, she’s just sitting in the jungle. Her character is weak, flat and undeveloped.
Despite the disappointing villain, there is a lot going for this movie. It once again has consistently very funny moments; the cinematography, while at times in your face, was outstanding; and the idea of the Statesmen was very interesting to explore.
Once again, though, I think the best part of this movie was the writing. Every single time there is a big reveal or decision to be made, you don’t know whether what you’re expecting will actually happen because half the time it subverts those expectations, not just for the purpose of doing so, but to serve the story.
It calls back to the first movie while adding in its own touches. It may not be as consistent as the first, but as the way sequels usually go, this did a good job at following its bar-raising predecessor.