‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ will delight fans old and new alike, but it lacks the polish and efficiency of its predecessor.
The characters get some progression, there are some laughs and thrills to be had and ultimately it’s fun to be back in this world with these people.
Taron Egerton returns as Eggsy Unwin, now secret agent Galahad and continuing to save the world with the help of tech support Merlin (Mark Strong) and dating Princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom).
An attack on the Kingsman headquarters leads Galahad and Merlin to travel to Statesman (the American equivalent of their secret spy organisation), to do battle with drug mogul Poppy Adams played by Julianne Moore.
It is here they come face to face with the long-assumed dead Harry Hart played by Colin Firth. There’s a lot of plot in motion with characters flying back and forth across oceans to various locales, but for all that movement things take time to progress.
Character wise, Harry is not how we remember him and Eggsy is navigating being a spy and in a serious relationship. Many of the new American agents played by the likes of Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry and Channing Tatum don’t really get to do much. On the other hand a certain beloved pop star seems to be having the time of his life in a series of unexpected cameos.
This is the first time director Matthew Vaughn has directed a sequel to one of his hits and while satisfying there are a few missed opportunities.
In addition to the American stars not doing much, some of the action feels too sped up and full of effect shots to remain engaging or have real stakes. It is a refreshing choice to have the character of Tilde return and develop something real with Eggsy, but she is not given a lot of agency in the story herself.
On the other hand it’s nice to see Bruce Greenwood playing the US President with a neat twist on dealing with a hostage situation. It’s also interesting to note the Statesman make their money from alcohol whereas Moore’s Poppy wants to legalise her product of hard illegal drugs.
Vaughn and his team also tap into the audience’s love for the bond between Eggsy and his two mentors in Hart and Merlin. This final point can’t be stressed enough, if you think back on it Hart and Eggsy didn’t get to really go on a mission together in the first film.
Egerton remains a star, Strong seems to be having a lot of fun in his role and Firth who got to be cast against type in the first film brings a lot of heart to the character in the sequel.
‘Kingsman 2’ falls into the trap of many sequels by going bigger, but not necessarily better. Yet the sequel remains a fun night out at the movies and does not diminish any anticipation to see a third film go into production.
'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' is released nationally in cinemas today (21 September, 2017).