Movie Review : Kingsman - The Golden Circle (2017)
Listen, I get it. People don't go to theaters anymore. They stay home, binge high profile television series that give them more bang for their buck or use streaming services, twenty-first century's answer to video stores. Movies are not self-sustaining anymore and money is now in cinematic universe. Matthew Vaughn, director and co-screenwriter of the Kingsman movies, should've left it alone, though. He should've walked away with the minor victory Kingsman : The Secret Service was. But he didn't and offered us a silly and convoluted sequel called Kingsman : The Golden Circle, last summer.
This is probably one of the stupid, most poorly written movies I've ever seen and I've crossed into four digits about a decade ago.
So, Kingsman : The Golden Circle opens on a confrontation between protagonist Eggsy Unwin (now a full-fledged Kingsman) and Kingsman school reject Charlie Hesketh, who everyone thought to be dead after the first film (self-included). They fight, Charlie gets his... ugh, mechanical arm * ripped off its socked and the said arm somehow hacks into Kingsman central security, therefore carpet-bombing everyone of their location **. Why did it happen? It is never really explained, but it sets Eggsy and Merlin (the two surviving Kingsman) on the trail of a demented drug-dealer who wants to rule the world because... fuck, I don't know.
What made Kingsman : The Secret Service charming was that its central conflict featured a clash of values (tradition vs progress) instead of the ol' good vs evil every movie of its acumen usually does. This interesting and thought-provoking (progress being potentially evil) is nowhere to be found in Kingsman : The Golden Circle, but it's the least of the movie's problems. Here's a list of things I thought went wrong :
1) The antagonist (played by Julianne Moore) is a drug dealer. It's the most boring thing your antagonist can be, aside from a rich industrial who wants to take over the world.
2) Wait, she's also a rich industrial who wants to take over the world.
3) While her motivation checks out (wanting to make the Fortune 500), it's never explained why the fuck she bombed the Kingsman.
4) It was probably to please her henchman Charlie, but she has no rationale for liking Charlie all that much, who doesn't accomplish anything except getting his arm ripped off its socket several times.
5) There's a bizarre subplot involving Eggsy, the Swedish princess from the first movie and monogamy. Not only it's ill-at-ease in a fun, over-the-top spy movie, but the Swedish princess doesn't have any purpose aside from keeping Eggsy in a monogamous relationship... for some reason.
6) Eggsy is now a Kingsman, but he doesn't act like one. He talks like a factory worker and wears his costume like a work uniform.
7) The Statesman add nothing to the movie. It was a cheap attempt to Americanize the franchise.
8) We learn that Merlin is obsessed with John Denver and country music... for some reason.
9) Channing Tatum has a 100% useless part, like he wasn't useless enough to begin with.
I'll stop here, but I could go on... like, Elton John is throwing flying side-kicks at people in this film. He has perhaps the bluntest, most unfunny cameo in the history of cameos.
Given the killer trailer (provided above) I was disappointed by the confusing mishmash of substanceless ideas Kingsman : The Golden Circle was. Calling it style-over-substance would be underselling it. I mean, the trailer used Frank Sinatra's "My Way" so perfectly, why wasn't it in the movie at any point? It looks like whoever cut it was trying to hide the fucking mess this movie is. And the worst part is that it's two hours and a half long. It's a long time to try and figure out what you're trying to say and ultimately failing. Action movies don't have to have a thesis statement, but they need to at least make sense. Having a character Facetiming his useless wise character to ask her permission to have sex with a target is not only useless, it's frustrating when you know he "has" to do it.
Oh, and the "sex" scene is pretty disturbing to top it.
Despite being a piece of shit, Kingsman : The Golden Circle made almost four times its budget in theaters. It made money. This minor tragedy is part due to people really liking the first returning to theaters to catch the second and the release schedule providing a clever alternative to whoever didn't want to watch Stephen King's It in theaters. There will probably be a third Kingsman movie, then and it will most likely be even worse. The best you can do in the meantime is to stay away from this piece of shit and watch other, better movie. That's not difficult, just open up Netflix and randomly pick anything. Even if it's not great, chances are it's more rewarding than Kingsman : The Golden Circle.
* Charlie will be proven very adept at having his arm ripped off its socket in this movie.
** I know that doesn't make any sense, but it happened.