Kingsman: The Golden Circle has some pretty big shoes to fill. Its predecessor, The Secret Service, is up there alongside Sin City and Watchmen as one of the most visually accurate comic book movies ever made. Director Matthew Vaughn nailed the aesthetic, delivering over-the-top action sequences that put a dumb grin on even the most curmudgeonly faces. With Vaughn returning for the sequel, will The Golden Circle please comics fans in the same way?
Right from the opening action sequence, Vaughn lets the audience know that he’s not only going to supply more of the same fun, over-the-top action from the first Kingsman, but he’s also going to go bigger. And while none of the succeeding sequences match the level of that first one (or the church scene from The Secret Service), they’re still sure to get your dopamine flowing. So many movies (superhero ones included) try to ground their action and make everything hyperrealistic to compensate for the unrealistic plot. Sometimes audiences need to cut loose and suspend their disbelief.
Cinematographer George Richmond returns alongside Vaughn, and plays a huge role in creating a comic-accurate atmosphere. The action is shot with such unbridled energy, it looks like it jumped right off the page. It’s the type of unbelievable ridiculousness that only comics and certain movies (like Fast and the Furious) can pull off. The best word to describe it is simply “fun“. The Kingsman movies are pure fun to watch, and a lot of the credit for that goes to Matthew Vaughn.
The rest of the credit goes to the cast. Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, and Mark Strong all reprise their roles from the first film, while Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, and Pedro Pascal join the crew as agents of Statesman – Kingsman’s American cousin. They all succeed in making you like their characters, but particular praise goes to the returning cast. Again, they’re fun to watch, and you really get emotionally invested in them. There are no less than two character moments in The Golden Circle that will have you welling up thanks to strong performances.
As far as this film’s story goes, it’s OK. It’s a very conventional safe-the-world plot with a villain that’s not very fleshed out or interesting (sorry Julianne Moore). But that doesn’t take too much away from the overall flick. Again I’ll contend that Kingsman isn’t about delivering deep, complex storytelling, but rather simple fun. The Golden Circle delivers on that front.
The Bottom Line
Generic plot aside, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a high-energy thrillride with great characters that will keep you gripped from beginning to end. If you like movies that actually look like a comic book, this continues to be the franchise for you.