When the first Kingsman film hit nearly three years ago, I think many of us were caught off-guard by its success. And also with the anal joke. It was a fresh take on the spy genre, a rags to riches tale told with espionage in mind with fantastic humour to boot. A sequel was always going to be highly anticipated for me. And then they gave the first trailer Frank Sinatra music? Yes please!
So, with all that expectation placed on it, is the second Kingsman any good? Let’s get into it.
Taron Egerton plays the likeable spy, Eggsy, with the codename of Galahad which he inherited from Colin Firth‘s character in the first film. A mysterious organisation known as the Golden Circle run by Poppy, played by Julianne Moore, attacks the Kingsman so Merlin (Mark Strong) and Eggsy look to their American counterparts, Statesman to help.
The original cast all do superb work here, with Egerton showing he can show a great deal of range, even as a super-spy. They feel like a very believable unit as the Kingsman which was placed at great odds when compared to the Statesman, brimming with big name American stars like Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry and Channing Tatum, in addition to Pedro Pascal, who you may know from Netflix’s Narcos. Out of all of them, he gets the most work but his character didn’t seem as believable to me. And as for Channing Tatum, other critics have mentioned his role being particularly small, and it is for someone of his calibre, but he plays it very well and I think he will be excellent in any sequels. The villain of Moore is a decent enough Bond villain- moustache twirling and menacing but pretty saccharine at times- and she was enjoyable enough for me and about on par with Samuel L Jackson from the first film, even if her plot is a little more nonsensical.
The action is all pretty darn brilliant too, especially during the climax which I really enjoyed. The main takeaway from this film is how fun it is. It is peppered with great humour and even some sweet character moments. Eggsy spends a lot of the film in a difficult time with his lady friend and their moments felt very genuine indeed.
A few negatives to highlight though because, sadly, Kingsman 2 is not quite as polished as its predecessor. That final battle scene was overlayed with a certain knighted British musical legend’s work but he also appears frequently in the narrative. His role in the film begins as a cameo although he overstayed his welcome just a little too long where he wasn’t as funny anymore. The rest of the action was solid too but the opening scene threw me in too fast and I was left a little bit behind when, about ten seconds in, the fighting already kicked off. I was generally fine with the plot but a few moments and story points are repeated during the film and from the previous film and whilst many provide nice nostalgia, some felt like padding for already over-padded runtime. A final moment, towards the end, really felt pointless to me and provided motivation that the character already had. It was done well but felt like one too many nails in the coffin also.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle might not break any fresh ground, unlike the first superb entry in the franchise, but it is a great deal of fun. There are some lovely character moments and stunning action set-pieces and I am certain you will come away with a smile on your face. A relatively worthy sequel. Get watching!