Kingsman: The Golden Circle has a lot to live up to. Like most sequels, it has to have the essence of what made the first so good and yet do its own thing. That isn’t an easy thing to do as the myriad of failed sequels attest. It’s all to do with how the story advances established characters whilst maintaining their charm which appealed to audiences. Having the same type of stunning action and focussed direction, The Golden Circle is a fair follow-up to the previous blockbuster.
Galahad (Taron Egerton) is young secret agent for the Kingsman spy network. When its British headquarters are destroyed by a mysterious organisation called The Golden Circle, Galahad aims to find the culprits. He follows the trail to Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) the deadly Golden Circle chief. Needing help against the wicked agency, Galahad has help from Harry (Colin Firth) and Merlin (Mark Strong). Together they blast their way around the world to eradicate evil-doers in fine British style.
It can’t be said that this film doesn’t go all out to entertain. It does in spades with myriad gravity-defying action sequences upping the fun factor. The performers are all having a great time as well as spouting the silly comic-book style dialogue. Matthew Vaughn directs in broad colourful strokes with each high-octane scene looking like a comic panel. The script occasionally feels like it’s working too hard to entertain but it achieves its aim more often than not.
Going against its pluses is a threadbare story and weak villains. As much as Moore tries to be a classic ‘James Bond’-style baddie, she fails. Her character rarely displays the genuine menace such villains should have. Moore deserved better as she’s a wonderful performer as indeed are everyone in the film. They are let down by the over-abundance of CGI-infused spectacle even if what’s on offer looks incredible. The mix of humour and drama works and it provides grand escapism few seem brave enough to tackle these days.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle may not succeed in besting its forebear but it generally presses the right buttons. It’s rarely dull and is uncompromising in following its wild path. Whether it’s successful enough to warrant a third entry is debatable. But as the James Bond series proves, you can never keep a good secret agent down for too long.