Thursday, February 17, 2022

#IReadsYou Movie Review: KINGSMAN: The Golden Circle

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Running time: 141 minutes (2 hours, 21 minutes)
MPAA – R for sequences of strong violence, drug content, language throughout and some sexual content
DIRECTOR:  Matthew Vaughn
WRITERS:  Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn (based on on the comic book, The Secret Service, by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons)
PRODUCERS:  Adam Bohling, David Reid, and Matthew Vaughn
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  George Richmond (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Eddie Hamilton
COMPOSERS:  Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson


Starring:  Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, Channing Taturm, Jeff Bridges, Edward Holcroft, Hanna Alström, Calvin Demba, Thomas Turgoose, Tobi Bakare, Bruce Greenwood, Emily Watson, Elton John, Sophie Cookson, and Michael Gambon

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a 2017 spy movie and action-comedy from director Matthew Vaughn.  It is a direct sequel to the 2014 film, Kingsman: The Secret Service.  Both films are based on characters and elements from the 2012 comic book, The Secret Service, by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons.  The Golden Circle focuses on two elite secret organizations that must band together to defeat a common enemy that is holding the world hostage.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle opens a year after Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) defeated and killed the diabolical Internet billionaire, Richmond Valentine.  Eggsy has officially joined the independent intelligence agency, Kingsman, and has taken his late mentor, Harry Hart's (Colin Firth) position as agent “Galahad.”  Eggsy is also dating Tilde (Hanna Alström), Crown Princess of Sweden, whom he saved from Valentine.

One night in London, Eggsy is ambushed by Charlie Hesketh (Edward Holcroft), a rejected Kingsman applicant.  Eggsy defeats Charlie, who escapes.  However, Charlie has a new employer, a mysterious organization known as “The Golden Circle.”  Its leader, Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of illegal drugs and narcotics, launches an attack against the Kingsman that leaves the agency devastated.  The survivors, Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong), make contact with “Statesman,” the American counterpart of Kingsman, which uses a Kentucky-based bourbon whiskey business as a front.  [The Kingsman's front is as a Savile Row tailor.]

With the help of the Statesman, Agent Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and Ginger Ale (Halle Berry), Eggsy tries to stop Poppy Adams' plot to use a toxin in the drugs and narcotics she sells to hold the world for ransom.  She wants her demands met or she will withhold an antidote to the toxin, which means hundreds of millions of people will die.  In order to stop her, Eggsy will have to face many challenges … and a number of surprising reveals.

I enjoyed Kingsman: The Secret Service quite a bit, but it was mostly a substance-free past-time.  As much as I enjoyed the film, I had mostly forgotten about it a few hours after seeing it.  Kingsman: The Golden Circle isn't quite as substance-free as its predecessor.  The bonds and obligations of friendship and love weigh on the characters, especially Eggsy.  He can no longer just live for the job, not when there is a serious relationship commitment in front of him.

I found some of the Statesman characters to be either superfluous or simply boring, with the exception of Halle Berry's Ginger Ale.  I am a longtime fan of Berry's, and she makes the casually smart and calm Ginger an endearing character.  Elton John also makes a surprising and shocking turn as something of a fun and offbeat action hero.

The film also has a wacky-ass and fun soundtrack.  It uses John Denver's 1971 hit, “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” including a poignant version sung by Mark Strong's Merlin.  There are a few Elton John hits, of course, some performed in the film by Elton.  The best song on the soundtrack may be a funky, country rock version of Cameo's “Word Up” by the German musical act “The BossHoss.”

Taron Egerton as Eggsy has star appeal and leading man quality, which is a surprise to me.  I wish the film had given some of the narrative time devoted to the Statesman characters back to Eggsy.  Egerton takes the Kingsman film franchise to the next level.  Kingsman: The Golden Circle is an improvement over the original film, enough of an improvement that I hope to see another sequel.


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

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