The plot is as ridiculous as you expect it to be from a Kingsman movie. To put it simply: he is the action hero we never knew we needed. They’re back and they’re even more complicated. But has some of that old-school charm been lost in the effort to ramp up the stakes? Throw in “Game of Thrones” alum Pedro Pascal as a whip-wielding agent, Julianne Moore as the sadistic villain – whose evil drug-peddling scheme would have run afoul of Pascal’s “Narcos” character – and a rather incongruous Elton John, and this “Kingsman” certainly has an abundance of star wattage compared to its predecessor. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy. (The Kingsmen use a tailor shop as a front; the Statesmen went into the bourbon business.) And if you’ve seen any of the marketing for The Golden Circle, you know there’s someone very special waiting inside.
The references to 1970’s vintage Bond movies are many, the one-liners are mostly amusing and – importantly – the occasional mis-steps into outright sadism that marred the first film have been left out this time. This is a rollercoaster ride – loud, at times exhausting but completely and utterly exhilarating. Luckily, a Doomsday Protocol guides them to a similar organization in the United States called the Statesmen, which also happens to have taken in Eggsy’s mentor Harry (Colin Firth) after his supposedly fatal encounter in the previous film. Jackson saw the ceiling that said over-the-top and kept going. Firth plays an agent named Harry Hart, and in the first movie, mentors young Eggsy, who he’s recruited out of lockup for stealing a auto. Bigger than ever (good show, Michael Gambon), and now there’s room for American A-listers like Channing Tatum, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges and Halle Berry.
You’re right to gasp. So far Kingsman: The Golden Circle is balancing precariously at 50% approval on the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, indicating a mixed reception to the return of super-spy Eggsie and his cohort of nattily dressed secret agents. Released in 2014 and directed by Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class), the film was a surprise hit for 20th Century Fox, raking in 4 million worldwide on an $81 million budget.
The last time we saw Eggsy (Taron Egerton), he just finished saving the world and was about to have an exotic encounter with rescued prisoner Princess Tilde (Hanna Halstrom) who is now his live-in girlfriend.
Poppy’s plan for world domination – besides kidnapping Elton John (gleefully playing himself) for her own personal entertainment – involves exploiting the world’s drug addicts by adding a deadly toxin into trafficked shipments of marijuana, cocaine, and more.
Over the next two hours, they resurrect characters, who clearly perished in the first film, transform a cable vehicle into a waltzer fairground ride and mince up bumbling henchmen for the deranged villain’s homemade burgers.