The follow up to Kingsman: The Secret Service follows much of the same formula that made the first one such a big hit.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle picks up a year after the first one. Eggsy (Taron Egerton) has taken the title of Galahad from his mentor, Harry Hart (Colin Firth), who supposedly died during The Secret Service. Eggsy also now lives with his girlfriend, the Crown Princess of Sweden, Tilde.
While Eggsy is in Sweden with Tilde, the Kingsman headquarters is destroyed by a missile attack and all of the agents are killed aside from Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong), leaving the two men no choice but to activate the Doomsday Protocol.
They discover a similar agency in the U.S., called Statesmen, which is posing as a Bourbon distillery in Kentucky (Kingsman poses as a tailor shop in the U.K.). It’s revealed that Harry is still alive after surviving the gunshot he sustained last year, but has lost his memory and believes he is a butterfly expert.
Eggsy and Merlin join forces with the Statesmen, whose head agent, Champagne (Jeff Bridges), tells them about a terrorist organization called The Golden Circle. While following a lead on this group, agent Tequila (Channing Tatum) develops a mysterious blue rash and is taken off the case. Eggsy gets agent Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) as his new partner in the mission.
I had high hopes for Kingsman: The Golden Circle since I loved the first one. Kingsman: The Secret Service was a creative piece that finally got me to enjoy a spy movie, and while the sequel followed a very similar formula to the first, it doesn't quite compare.
Overall I feel like money was spent on big names, which didn’t really add anything to it, as opposed to creating something that expanded on the first one in a way that does the original justice.
There are moments where The Golden Circle lives up to the magic of the first one, like when Eggsy and Harry are together and Eggsy finally figures out how to regain Harry’s memory. Or when Ginger (Halle Berry) becomes the new Statesman.
I never expected to say this but, one of my biggest criticisms is that they didn’t use Channing Tatum to his full potential. It feels like he was brought in as a name to attract more women, but his character was quarantined for most of the movie, which is kind of a waste considering his comedic work is where he really shines. They did end The Golden Circle in a way that may indicate he would be involved if a third movie gets made.
The score, composed by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson, was probably the best part of the film to me. It reminded me a bit of the score from The Avengers -- but not in a way that seems plagiarized. The effects used were also incredible and didn’t seem overdone, which is another point in The Golden Circle’s favor.
All of the performances were well done. There's a reason each of the "big names" cast in The Golden Circle have the recognition they do and I don't think a single member of the cast disappointed me.
My only real criticism is that this movie focused too much on getting as many big names on the bill and not enough on the cohesion of the story. Kingsman: The Golden Circle isn’t a bad movie -- I don’t want the time I spent watching it back or anything quite that dramatic -- but it just didn’t quite capture the magic of the first one for me. I’d consider it kind of a sophomore slump more than an outright disappointment. I do hope a third one gets made and the production team is able to rekindle the flame of Kingsman: The Secret Service. The Golden Circle is worth a watch if you’re a fan of spy and action movies in general, or if you don’t have sky-high expectations like I did.
Features on the DVD include Black Cab Chaos, which breaks down the opening fight scene between Eggsy and Charlie and Kingsman Archives, which features concept art and production stills from the movie. The Blu-ray also includes a full documentary feature called Kingsman: Inside The Golden Circle.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. If you have seen the movie and want to rate/review it, click here. ~Hayley Michaud