The Golden Circle picks up shortly after the events of its predecessor, The Secret Service. Eggsy is now in a domestic relationship with the princess of Sweden, keeping in touch with his mates, and still finding time to be a spy. However after Poppy (Julianne Moore) eliminates most of the Kingsman in one fell swoop, Eggsy and Merlin make their way to Kentucky to meet up with the Statesman. Their American counterparts. Poppy is a drug dealing kingpin with a fetish for the 50s who wants to be recognized as being the most successful businesswoman in the world. Poppy wants the President of the United States to legalize all drugs so she can become a legitimate businesswoman. Poppy has laced all her drugs with some sort of virus that will kill all its users in a matter of time unless the President complies with her demands. But she didn't count on the President being glad to be rid of every drug user on the planet. I know it sounds absurd, and the more I describe it, the thinner it gets.
The plot is barely there. The movie opens with a barely decent car chase throughout England with no context whatsoever. Why would Poppy even go after the Kingsman? I know the dropout from the first Kingsman movie may have brought them to her attention, but why even bother? Did he plan to leave his arm in Eggsy's car? It certainly didn't seem like that was the case. Had Poppy done nothing, her plan would have succeeded flawlessly. The plot demanded it, I guess. Julianne Moore was barely a memorable villain either, and these movies often live or die by their villains. The action, which was such a standout from the first movie, suffers from too many close-ups, shaky cam, and quick editing. So much so it makes me wonder if the fight choreographers and cinematographer was the same team as the first movie. I'd be surprised if they were. They try to match the wild brutality of the church fight and the sheer exhilaration of the Eggsy vs Gazelle fight, but nothing even comes close. Instead we get Robo-dogs that can rip a person in two and yet can't chew through a bowling pin. A mechanical arm that can throw a bowling ball hundreds of yards and through the side of a building, but yet can't knock the wind out of a human being.
Poppy and her right hand man from the first movie, who was clearly supposed to fill in the vacancy left by Gazelle (Sofia Boutella), isn't up to the task at all. He even comes complete with mechanical enhancements, but he can't hold a candle to Gazelle. Channing Tatum is basically a glorified cameo in the movie, as is Roxy (from the first movie), and Jeff Bridges. I would hardly call the comedy of the first movie refined, but it worked, however the humor takes a major dip here. Relying on Elton John to routinely drop F bombs and round house kick security personal in platform shoes. I shit you not. The humor isn't all bad, but it's nowhere near the standard of the first movie. I wonder if the writers were the same? I could check, but it doesn't really matter. The pacing was really poor too. I've come to expect a lot better oversight from Matthew Vaughn.
The moment of peripitia between Harry and Eggsy was good, and the moments with Merlin were played out well, but it really wasn't enough to save this movie from mediocrity. The flashy action sequences that were choreographed to a predictable soundtrack didn't work. The President's assistant trying to justify her drug use by saying that she has to work a lot didn't wash with me. Hasn't she ever heard of coffee, or even prescription drugs? Are we supposed to feel better knowing that a habitual drug user is running the White House now? The Golden Circle was pretty disappointing. Too long, too derivative of the first movie, and too ineffectual overall. And the ending? Ugghhh. I was hoping that this would be a worthy sequel, but they should have left well enough alone.
Written by - The Sentry - 21/08/2017