Reviews: Kingsman The Golden Circle

An enjoyable flick, but nowhere near as memorable as the first one.

One of the factors that made The Secret Service so special is that it makes fun of the whole 'Gentleman Spy' genre, with a villain obsessed with Bond films going up a James Bond-expy, making fun of all the spy tropes to hell and back. It's what makes most of the movie's charms. We all recognize these spy tropes, but then the movie subverts them in surprising ways.

Problem is, it leaves nothing for The Golden Circle. The spy tropes are all played out, so they decided to add something original like 'The Statesman' with their own cowboy gimmicks. This would've been fine had they go with it all the way. Instead, the movie can't decide what to focus on: The Kingsman or the Statesman. One minute, we're getting introduce to the would-be new main character in Tequila, then he's out of the picture as Eggsy assumes the lead again. Then Whiskey is introduced as an exciting new least until Harry is back in the picture...then the Kingsman becomes the main focus again, leaving the rest of the Statesman in the sideline, and that leads to a lot of wasted potential like characters being unceremoniously killed off *cough*Roxy, Merlin*cough*, written out of the story Tequila, or turned evil Whiskey.

The weakest part of the film is the villains. Poppy is nowhere near as interesting or Genre Savvy as Valentine (which, again, thanks to the played out spy tropes in the first film), and Charlie is basically another generic Rival Turned Evil dragon unlike Gazelle who actually has a personality. Probably this is the reason why Whiskey had to pull a Face–Heel Turn in the climax, because the villains are too uninteresting.

Personally, I don't think Harry should be back, at least not in this film. The main focus of the story should be the introduction of the Statesman. Harry's surprise return means the story would have to deal with his and Eggsy's relationship, which shifted the focus from the Statesman and by extension other Kingsman themselves. Having both Eggsy and Harry in the main roles yet again means everybody else gets sidelined. Hence, again, everybody gets killed off or turned evil. It didn't help that the promotional materials heavily hyped up his return. Just imagine if Harry didn't show up during the film, but after the credits to tease the next film. Leave the Harry subplot out of this movie, and have it be the focus of the next one instead, and the story would've been a whole lot more straightforward.

Elton John's inclusion is okay, but I also can't help but notice that his extended screentime should go to other characters that need it more.

Overall, it was enjoyable. The actions are great and fun enough to watch, but it can't decide what it wanted to be, hence, a lot of things jammed together into the plot and make it a (admittedly beautiful) mess, and that stops the movie from being anything more than another summer action flick.