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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Whiskey claims to not have any ill side effects from recovering from his headshot wound. Is he telling the truth, or are his Knight Templar tendencies (to let all drug users die and drive up Statesmen stocks) the actual side effects?
    • Merlin and Ginger have a talk about leaving the computer work and joining the others in field missions. Merlin argues for the benefits of staying indoors and doing the tech work. Does Merlin secretly want to be a field agent but shrugs it off due to his bureaucratic adherence to not letting emotion into his work? Or, considering how almost out of nowhere his suiting up scene comes, has Merlin already gone into the field before and discovered preference for a staff position instead? note 
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    • Whiskey constantly vetoing Ginger from becoming a field agent. Is it simply because he's a Politically Incorrect Hero who believes that women are not suited for field missions, or is it out of fear for her safety, given the death of his own wife and unborn child? The revelation of his Face–Heel Turn muddies this even further.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: Understandably, many Americans weren't terribly flattered by this film's depiction of them and their country. With American film critics in particular savaging the film, resulting in a paltry 52% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • You'd think Eggsy would be torn up about Roxy and JB's deaths throughout the film, considering that they were his closest comrades in the first film. However, outside of a memorial toast and some words spoken to Charlie, you'd be hard pressed to believe Eggsy even remembered Roxy at all. Even worse is how JB is treated, as he is basically forgotten the moment Tilde literally buys a replacement puppy, save for the obligatory And This Is for... moments. Eggsy might be repressing his feelings for the sake of the mission, but we don't see anything between him defeating the Golden Circle and his wedding.
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    • Harry Hart also has no visible trauma over what he was forced to do by Valentine during the Church Massacre in the first film, or the fact that he got shot in the head.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: After all her henchmen are dead, Poppy offers no resistance at all when Eggsy and Harry approach her with no other tricks up her sleeves, and when drugged by her own virus, she willingly provides them with the correct password to distribute the antidotes before succumbing. Whiskey ends up being the Final Boss instead.
  • Anvilicious: The film's not-so-subtle commentary on the United States' long-running War on Drugs and substance regulation (despite the emphasis on punishment long being on the wane in favor of treatment or legalization). It's much more overt and pointed than the original's satire of climate change and Silicon Valley tech culture. And it doesn't show much distinction between light safer drugs such as Marijuana and hardcore drugs that are hazardous to your health such as meth or cocaine, Whiskey's backstory aside.
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  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Eggsy's friend who is watching his dog sneaks into Eggsy's study while he's having dinner with Tilde's parents; when he puts on the glasses he and Eggsy connect, allowing Eggsy to see him playing with his gadgets and he begins to curse at him, while Tilde's parents think he's talking to them. Any drama or tension from Eggsy's outburst at the parents is never followed up on, while the plot thread of his friend finding his gadgets gets cut short thirty seconds later when Eggsy's apartment is blown up.
  • Broken Base:
    • Matthew Vaughn's trademark stylized Jitter Cam cinematography. Is it still exciting, allowing for the movie to continue standing out with its visual style? Or is it getting annoying and giving you headaches?
    • The inclusion of Elton John. Was he a fun cameo appearance, or did he overstay his welcome to the point of hijacking the film?
    • The reveal that Eggsy and Tilde have been in a relationship for a year after the events of the first movie. Some were pleased that Tilde wasn't cast aside and forgotten in the way of Bond girls and were interested in her character, while others questioned the necessity of a romantic subplot (pointing to it adding to the the film's oft-criticized Padding) and found it pointless or unbelievable especially the ending, where their marriage turns Eggsy into royalty, which has near daily public duties to justify the public funding.
    • Merlin's sacrifice in the climax. Some think the scene is a good sendoff to the character, while others think it's a lazy way to write the character off from the story by way of Eggsy suddenly grabbing the Idiot Ball by stepping on a landmine even with a mine detector in his hand and requiring Merlin to sacrifice himself.
    • Harry's return. People are up in arms about his appearance in the film. Either it's great having him back to fight alongside Eggsy, or his revival cheapened his sudden and tragic demise. Some preferred that Harry stayed dead and made appearances in flashbacks or something similar, or have the resurrection pushed back to a potential third film where the fallout from his death would've resonated enough.
  • Cargo Ship: Of all people, famously stoic and uptight Merlin has at least two.
    • Shipping Merlin with his clipboard was already a thing before the sequel, due to the scene in the first movie where Eggsy and Harry take his clipboard and he looks unhappy about not holding his clipboard. A clip from The Golden Circle promos showing that he's given his clipboard a bladed weapon upgrade only boosted the Crack Pairing. Who's gonna steal his clipboard now?
    • Merlin x fried chicken. He's already said he loves it, after all.
  • Complete Monster: Poppy Adams is the head of the Golden Circle, the biggest drug empire in the world. When an employee named Charles brings his friend Angel to her as a new hire, she punishes Charles by forcing Angel to put him into a meat grinder and then forces Angel to eat a burger made of Charles's meat. After discovering all the Kingsman locations, she has them all blown up and kills all of the Kingsmen except Gary "Eggsy" Unwin and Merlin. She takes singer Elton John hostage as a pet and as personal entertainment with a shock collar. When Angel uses one of her products, Poppy has her robot dogs attack and tear him apart. The crux of her plan to legalize the drug industry so she can make even more money is to have the millions who she sold to infected with a deadly virus through her products that lasts three stages before death.
  • Contested Sequel: The film received mixed reviews from critics and viewers alike. While opinions on plot and characters were divisive, The Golden Circle is still considered an enjoyable film because of the ridiculous amount of over-the-top action, comedy and raucous moments.
  • Critical Dissonance: The film sits with a "Rotten" 52% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic reports that professional critics give it "average" reviews. Although fans cite it as a Sophomore Slump in the storytelling department compared to the original, it's still received rather warmly by audiences.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Poppy having Angel put Charles through a meat grinder? Horrifying. Cooking a burger made with his ground remains? Gross. Angel commenting that the burger is delicious? Hilarious!
  • Die for Our Ship: Fans who shipped the ever-popular Hartwin, as well as those who shipped Eggsy with Roxy or Merlin, were not happy with Eggsy's relationship with Tilde and their eventual marriage. The deaths of Roxy and Merlin, especially the rather anticlimactic and forgettable death of the former and the questionable sacrifice of the latter, stoked the flames even further, while Hartwin shippers complained that Harry was brought back rather unbelievably only for his relationship with Eggsy to not develop in the desired way. Some have written their own fix fics where the relationship between Eggsy and Tilde either crumbles or doesn't exist in the first place.
  • Ending Fatigue: So Poppy and her personal army are defeated and her plan is thwarted. Mission accomplished, right? Well first we have to go through a second climactic fight scene when Whiskey arrives after all the action is over and attacks Eggsy and Harry. Not only did it simply pad out the runtime, but it was so unnecessary to the plot that you could've cut it out and the scene would've gone exactly the way it was going anyways.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • By a celebrity playing As Himself, no less! Sir Elton John is having a blast in every scene he's in, and he even takes part in a climactic fight and defeats several mooks by himself!
    • Mark Strong's portrayal of Merlin wasn't exactly without fans, but his expanded role in this film and Dying Moment of Awesome have led even detractors of the film to name him as one of the film's strongest elements.
    • Whiskey, due to his badass skills and his surprisingly sympathetic backstory.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Charlie sports a more threatening visage this time around and fulfills a role similar to Gazelle as a tough badass Dragon with a cool gimmick. It helps that while a bad guy in both films, this one plays up his competency and skill and downplays his obnoxious Hate Sink qualities.
    • Whiskey is this to some with his creative fight scenes and gadgets.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The film did very well in the Philippines, where several reviewers cited that the US president's war on drugs hit close to home thanks to their own president's hardline stance towards drugs.
  • He's Just Hiding!:
    • To many fans, Roxy.
    • Some have also extended it to Merlin. It certainly helps that an interview with his actor revealed he was supposed to have survived.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Channing Tatum is a southerner in a film where John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" is one of the characters' favorite songs and an important thematic element? It happened twice within a month (though in this film it's Merlin's favorite song, not Tequila's).
    • Fans of Narcos will find it funny to see Pedro Pascal hate drug dealers again.
    • In this movie, Sir Elton John attends a wedding between a royal and a commoner from different countries. About eight months later, he'll attend the wedding, that can be described similarly, between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
    • Taron Egerton has been cast as Elton John in a biopic. We've come full circle.
  • Ho Yay: So Elton was totally flirting with Harry, in a Call-Back to when Tilde flirted with Eggsy in the first movie.
  • Idiot Plot: The movie's plot simply seems to rely on having Eggsy making uncharacteristically stupid decisions drive it forward, making him come off as an incompetent Kingsman whose actions end up causing more harm than good. Druglord (lady?) Poppy isn't much better, as her plan include killing off her own costumers. Even the U.S. President calls her stupid.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Whiskey. He was a Statesman agent who was willing to let Poppy and the President commit mass genocide and tried his damnedest to stop Harry and Eggsy from getting the drug antidote but only because he wanted to avenge his dead wife and kid who were killed by druggies (his wife was pregnant at the time). To top it all off he dies a horrible and arguably undeserved death.
  • Memetic Mutation: The Statesmen always/excessively interjecting "Yeehaw" has become a fandom meme. Made perhaps even funnier by how this usage seems to have no real basis in canon, being simply the result of promotional material humorously playing up cowboy stereotypes.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Poppy Adams instantly crossed it when she forces one of new recruits to throw his best friend into a meat grinder, and has him eat a burger made out of said best friend's remains simply out of a test of loyalty. The implication being that she does this to all recruits.
    • The president willing to let tens of millions of drug users die just to say he won the War on Drugs. As pointed out, this includes innocent people that only tried a drug once, people who used marijuana for medicinal reasons, children who were born addicted thanks to their mothers using while pregnant, sex slaves forcibly drugged to make them more compliant and even his own Chief of Staff, who only started using because of the president's demanding workload. (And, although this isn't mentioned, there are some parts of the world where pot is legal, so he was also dooming people that legally did nothing wrong.)
    • Charlie goes over by annihilating the Kingsmen for the humiliation he had received from the end of the second act onward. Among the casualties are Roxy, the new Arthur, and a couple of collateral victims who had nothing whatsoever to do with Charlie's humiliation.
  • Narm: In the first film, the pub fight scene was instigated by friends of Eggsy's abusive father looking to seek revenge for Eggsy wrecking their car. In The Golden Circle, the bar fight scene is instigated by a bunch of nameless random cowboys who suddenly decided they don't like British people who earlier didn't have any gripe with the group. While it serves to show how much damage Harry's cognitive abilities have taken, it feels so incredibly forced, especially when compared to its predecessor and its Catharsis Factor.
  • Narm Charm: In a movie with cybernetic arms that can attach instantly and gel that can recover agents from being shot through their eye, the most impressive piece of technology may be the ordinary looking meat grinder at Poppy's that can convert a full human body into perfectly prepared ground beef in seconds. And is somehow able to sort clothes and meat into two separate piles.
  • Padding: The fight between Eggsy, Harry and Whiskey. It doesn't add anything to the plot other than four extra minutes so the movie can have a Call-Back to the church scene.
    • In fact, considering the film is a whopping 2 hours 21 minutes long, one of the largest criticisms is that the film felt far too long due to too many unnecessary subplots and characters clogging up the runtime between action scenes. For example, you could completely cut out Whiskey from the film and the overall plot would not have been affected at all.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The general consensus of the film is that it falls just short of the original in terms of originality, humor, and action and even shorter in regards to Character Development and the general plot.
  • Squick: Poppy had a guy shove his best friend into a meat grinder, then made him eat a burger made out of the guy's minced flesh.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Played rather straight, with general audiences expressing surprise at finding the literal butt-of-the-joke princess in a serious relationship with The Protagonist with little to no development. Actor Taron Egerton doesn't seem to like it either.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Tequila is sadly an Advertised Extra in the main film itself, being Put on a Bus after getting infected by Poppy's drug virus.
    • Roxy. A Kingsman agent who came first in her training, has a great rapport with Eggsy and Merlin, and is the only female agent. She seems primed for a bigger role in the sequel, but instead she's unceremoniously killed in the first twenty minutes to give Eggsy motivation.
    • Kingsman as a whole, since they all get killed when Poppy bombs their headquarters.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Some think that Statesman as a whole is underused in the film, with Tequila being put out of action for most of the movie, and Champagne and Ginger Ale only having roles at the Statesman HQ. The only Statesman agent with a major role is Whiskey, and then he turns out to be a Rogue Agent. The story instead mainly focuses on the already familiar Kingsman faces like Eggsy, Harry, and Merlin, and it's them who get to shine in the climax, not the Statesmen.
    • With the huge amounts of Lampshade Hanging and often Reality Ensues moments in the last film, you'd expect the sequel to have some acknowledgement of how the world is recovering from Valentine's Hate Plague, maybe even tie it into the plot in some way? Well, the best we get is Poppy kidnapping Elton John in the confusion. We don't even get to see the Statesmen's full reaction to the V-Chip incident besides a small response to the church scene. Did they get affected and nearly kill each other, or find some way to avoid getting affected? We'll never know, at least in this movie.
    • Whiskey's feelings towards drug users and Poppy's plan, motivated as they were by his tragic backstory, could have been discussed a lot more over the course of the movie, especially since the Statesmen are largely out of focus for most of it. Instead they're just there to give him an excuse to have a climatic final fight against Eggsy and Harry.
    • It's heavily implied through a conversation with Ginger and his suiting up that Merlin may have had some desire to become a field agent. The latter scene seems to be the climax to some character arc that was ultimately cut from the final film.
    • Minor example, but seeing Harry backstage at an Elton John concert would have been a nice Brick Joke.
  • Too Cool to Live:
    • Whiskey, who stole every scene he's in thanks to his sheer awesomeness with his cool demeanor, kickass fight sequences, and a tragic Freudian Excuse backstory. It's almost sad to see him turn evil and have to be put down in a gruesome fashion by Eggsy and Harry.
    • Merlin also counts as well, with this movie developing his character arc further including many Hidden Depths. Of course, he bites it in a Dying Moment of Awesome Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Poor, poor Roxy. She spent the entire second and third act of the first movie showing how likable and capable she was as a Kingsman just to be unceremoniously blown up in her pajamas.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Coming off of the highly successful and popular first film, The Golden Circle was definitely going to be measured with high expectations.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Unlike the traitorous Charlie, the unapologetically evil Poppy and the ignorantly corrupt President, Whiskey is given a sympathetic and relatable backstory as a Freudian Excuse for his villainy, and he just so happens to be a walking Moment of Awesome. Yet he's given the most brutal fate of the four aforementioned characters, as if he was meant to be a Hate Sink for the audience rather than the exact opposite. Though it's also possible his death was supposed to fall under Rule of Cool, since he is the Final Boss and everything.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: None of the three actual actors were on set when the final moments of the climactic fight was filmednote , but it's almost impossible to tell that body doubles and digital head replacements were used unless viewers are really looking for the effect.
  • What an Idiot!: See the page.
  • Woolseyism: Ginger ale is not exactly popular/well-known in Russia, so in Russian translation Statesman tech support's code name is Cola - which, you know, goes well with alcoholic beverages.

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