Kingsman: The Golden Circle – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Kingsman: The Golden Circle – 3/5 – Sequels either knock it out of the park or just can’t compete with the original.  Whether it is the lack of material, character development or general storytelling, they have a hard time finding the success of the original counterpart.  Kingsman: The Golden Circle provides another window into that parody styling, but falls flat in capturing the essence of what made the first film great.  Even in repetitive material; there is a lot of fun that can be found.  For all its flaws, Kingsman: The Golden Circle provides an average but entertaining ride on the big screen.

Premise: With their headquarters destroyed, The Kingsman must team up with their United States brethren to stop a new threat to the world.

Please refer the film’s IMDb list for the actor/actresses list.  In short, the acting is an up and down affair.  The main standout characters come from the returning cast.  That would-be Taron Egerton as Eggsy and Mark Strong as Merlin.  These two do a wonderful job in pushing their dynamic as fun, witty and distinct agents working under the Kingsman banner.  These returning characters provide that same kind of colorful splash that made them different, unique and fun.  What you get to see develop is a deeper complexion of the Mentor/Student role, especially when another returning character comes back into fray.  From the unintended banter, intuitive exposition and honest interactions, they provide a spark for the film.  They add the fun, wholesome and genuine appeal that the audience can gravitate towards.  Beyond these two, the rest of the cast aren’t as stellar.  The secondary returning and new characters don’t do enough to add that fun flavor.  Outside of one cameo appearance, what you have is the common archetypes found in any other spy film.  With that generic ‘one-trick pony’ routine not developed with care, the obvious cartoonish aspect become unwelcoming to the audience.  Even with those one-dimensional aspects, they aren’t on screen long enough to completely ruin the experience.

The direction follows the same outline as the first film.  The outline takes the basic structure of a spy story and makes it ‘self-aware’ through parody tropes.  Trying to rehash the same plot points from the first film can be successful (22 Jump Street), but it never establishes it’s ‘self-aware’ elements and becomes a convoluted mess of characters forced into a generic plotline of fighting a villain trying to take over the world.  Within the first couple acts you see a lack of development.  All you have is a film trying to move a thin plot along a linear path of predictability.  There are no emotive, dramatic or fun elements.  You just get a ‘safe’ mixture of over-the-top sequences, unbelievable gadget use, typical Rated- R action and outlandish set pieces.  Things just happen without explanation, leaving you with many mind-cringing moments, plot holes and convenient storytelling.  As the film attempts to piece some purpose for the Kingsman making their way to the United States, they keep pushing the ‘extremes’ of the graphic novel lore.  In it, it never tries to create a place of fun, self-aware elements.  This completely dilutes the experience that was attempted, moving away from the genuine detail of the parody and satirical elements of the spy genre.  With this lack thereof feeling, the second act becomes:

Characters trapped in a situation > over-the-top action ensues > wild antics/one-liners and last second saves > move character to new/obscure situation

The ‘in your face’ antics are boring; dulling the sensation of the hyper-violence.  You are left guessing real purpose for the agents and villains.  It feels like throwing paint on a canvas with hopes that some kind of design becomes real.  Even with so many flaws surrounding the overall story, what keeps you invested are the main characters of Eggsy and Merlin.  You see their arcs coming full circle (from the first), showing how they evolve as a person and agent.  Seeing them interact through witty banter provides that subtle enjoyment.  As the film heads into the third act, it puts all its focus on these two characters.  This helps bring the film into the light of enjoyment.  In the climax, you find that perfect mixture of parody and satire of the spy genre.  This reveals the heart of the film while pushing the terms of the outlandishness of the situation.  Once you get to the conclusion, it all bears fruit in the end.  Seeing where the characters end up provides that closure you were hoping for all along.

The visuals are a mixed bag of exotic locales, common city landscapes and CGI created environments.  Some buildings, characters and devices are obviously computer generated, but it never detracts from the aura of the world.  With the mixing of grounded and fantastical visuals, it provides an escape into some of the exciting action elements.  The score is an overuse of 80’s tracks.  Some provide a spark while others just make you wonder they were used in the film.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle might fall flat on so many aspects, but there is enough here to have a good time.  Even with a rehashing of a lot of the first film’s plot points, the main characters keep you going to the end.  If you’re a fan of the first or like to have a fun time at the theaters, this is for you.  It is worth seeing at the theaters at a matinee price.

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