Movie Review with Brandon Yechout – Kingsman: The Golden Circle


Graphic by: Kainin Blissett

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” offers a welcome return to the stylish and surprisingly entertaining universe of 2014’s “Kingsman: The Secret Service”. Unfortunately, this newest installment is hampered down by a variety of puzzling decisions on the filmmakers’ behalf that keep it from being as enjoyable as it very clearly could have been.

For those unfamiliar, the “Kingsman” films revolve around a secret intelligence organization called Kingsman, which operates out of Britain under the guise of a tailor shop. The films feature highly stylized over-the-top action, and never take themselves too seriously. The first film was somewhat of a surprise hit, cited by many as a well-executed and enjoyable tribute to the genre of spy films. I certainly enjoyed it, and I was looking forward to seeing what the sequel had in store.

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” begins with an admittedly spectacular action sequence, as Eggsy, our protagonist, fights a rejected Kingsman from the previous film, Charlie, in the backseat of a speeding car. Eggsy manages to dispose of Charlie, but Charlie’s dismembered mechanical arm remains in the car and is able to hack into the Kingsman database, acquiring information that leads to the destruction of the Kingsman. Eggsy and Merlin, the only surviving Kingsmen, must then travel to the United States and join forces with the Statesman, the American Kingsman equivalent, in order to uncover the mastermind that orchestrated the Kingsman’s downfall, and ultimately prevent said mastermind from killing millions more.

The one thing that remains just as strong here as it was in the first film would definitely be the action. All of the action scenes are well-choreographed, fast-paced, stylish, and overall just incredibly enjoyable to watch. All of the acting is solid, nothing much to say in that regard. The Statesman are all funny, and the dynamic they share with the Kingsman is delightful as well. There’s even a callback to the ‘manners maketh man’ fight scene from the original film, which is, although somewhat hasty in its execution, still fun to see.

This is where things start to head downhill. The villain, called Poppy, is probably the film’s greatest weakness. She certainly has an interesting motive, I’ll give her that. Unfortunately, that’s really all she has going for her. Valentine, the villain from the first film, didn’t have much to him either, but at least he was funny. The tone of his character fit right in with the rest of the film. Poppy, on the other hand, is grating to watch. Her mannerisms are irritating, she’s not funny at all, and she generally lends an awkward atmosphere to the film which, compounded against the film’s smattering of already existing awkward moments, certainly does the film no favors. A great example of this would be her entire introduction scene. She introduces herself to two new henchmen recruits, and explains very carefully to them everything there is to know about her. Really? How lazy is that? She shouldn’t have to explain herself in such detail, her behavior and the interesting, if poorly handled environment she inhabits should tell us what she’s all about. Next, she makes one of the henchmen shove the other into a meat grinder, from which she takes the ground henchman meat, cooks it, and forces the remaining henchman to eat it. What? It’s not disturbing, it’s not funny; I honestly have no idea what they were aiming to do with this scene. It’s nonsensical, and it’s just plain stupid.

The film also tackles a far more political issue than the first, dealing with the ethics of drug use. Though this acts as an interesting motivator for the villain, as she brings up a couple of thought-provoking points on the matter, the film predominantly handles the subject with an insulting amount of carelessness, exemplified by this film’s ‘President of the United States’ character, who is such a comically over-exaggerated strawman that, no matter what side of the debate you’re on, you’re likely to be offended by.

Aside from the villain, and, as I already mentioned, there are a fair amount of generally awkward moments that litter the film. By far the most memorable of these would be Elton John’s role in the film as himself; possibly the most peculiar cameo appearance that I have ever seen in any film. Though funny at first, the whole joke of it quickly wears thin, as practically every scene he is in can be summed up as “It’s funny because it’s Elton John, and he’s swearing” or “It’s funny because it’s Elton John, and he’s fighting somebody”. They should have kept it simple, and although part of me enjoyed seeing him in the film as often as he was in it (it’s Elton John, who wouldn’t want to see him cussing somebody out or fighting somebody), most of me was sure that they overdid it.

Overall, though “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” maintains much of what made the original so enjoyable, the villain, the handling of the message, and the general awkwardness that pervades much of the film hold it back from being all it could have been. I hope that the third installment in the “Kingsman” franchise proves itself to be a skillful return to form. Until then, I would just stick to the first film. Brando’s rating? Two out of four stars.