Moral of this story: Don’t do drugs, kids.
By any means is Kingsman: The Golden Circle perfect or as good as the first, but when all the over the top ass-kicking and shameless lasso whippin’ is said and done, the film is still one hell of a blast.
After the rest of the Kingsman are wiped out in a series of missile attacks, it’s up to Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) to figure out who planned this assault and the motivations behind it, but they’ll need a wee bit of extra help first…
Cue in Statesman Whiskey, AKA: the U.S. equivalent of Kingsman, an American spy network using a whiskey distillery as the forefront for all their secretive operations. Albeit being less posh than the Kingman’s tailor shop, there’s still something sexy and mysterious about traveling via whiskey barrel into the hub of the Stateman’s organization. Which makes me begrudgingly want another Kingsman-esque film where we follow these U.S. agents into the field in their all American, rootin’ tootin’ guns a blazin’ action adventures. The A-list group of agents including Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, and Pedro Pascal, also helped the overall appeal of Statesman.
Together the new ensemble track down Poppy (Julianne Moore), a reclusive drug lord, who purposely poisoned her copious products in order to finally gain recognition in the business world. She has the cure conveniently ready to send to the millions of substance users world-wide, but she won’t release it until the President of the United States makes a deal pardoning her drug empire and letting her openly sell her products in the U.S.
After a Statesman agent is also poisoned by one of Poppy’s products, not to mention other characters near and dear to Eggsy, the agents attempt to intercept Poppy and get her to release the antidote before it’s too late.
For me, the biggest problem of Kingsman: The Golden Circle was the marketing. It was obvious from the start that Colin Firth was returning to play Galahad all thanks to the trailers and numerous posters spoiling one of the best moments in the film months ago.
It’s a brilliant and heart-wrenching scene when Eggsy and Merlin, who are still not over Galahad’s death, find out he’s actually alive. The way his character is revealed is so fantastic I wish we had no idea Firth was even returning in the first place. To find out along with those characters would’ve made the film so much more enjoyable — but alas, even with Galahad’s reveal and finding out how he managed to survive, everything was too predictable and there were no real shit your pants plot twists like in the first film.
Just imagine how amazing it would’ve been to find out in the cinema that Galahad was SOMEHOW STILL ALIVE after being shot point blank in the face? I mean it’s not quite the “Luke, I am your father” scene but c’mon! It would’ve been amazing! I could just hear audience members shouting, “OH MY GOD, NO WAY!” at the reveal. Like how does anyone survive that nonsense? It was certainly a missed opportunity for the film and an example of how Hollywood can’t really rely on secrecy anymore, unless it’s Star Wars, to market a film — and how 90% of the time we know the whole damn story of a movie before we even buy our tickets.
And don’t tell me it’s because Colin Firth is the only actor who would’ve drawn the crowds. There were so many famous actors starring in this sequel, that it wouldn’t have mattered had Firth not been apart of the initial marketing campaign. You didn’t need him plastered all over the posters to drive old and new fans alike to buy tickets.
I had other obvious gripes with Kingsman: The Golden Circle, like how the plot moved slower than the whiskey aging process, Poppy being one of the most boring villains (not to mention Julianne Moore’s wasted screen presence), Elton John somehow having more screen time than Colin Firth, and the fact I couldn’t find myself caring for most of the characters because there were just too many, and they were all sloppily written.
Believe me, I had heaps of fun and still laughed out loud at some of the more uncomfortable jokes/moments, but Golden Circle missed the spark and originality of the first film; despite it having a 2 hour and 21 minute running time, the film felt like it was trying to cram way too much into an already full plate.