Title: Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Country: UK, USA
Language: English, Italian, Swedish
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Music: Henry Jackman, Matthew Margeson
Cinematography: George Richmond
Tom Benedict Knight
Enticed by a fatter paycheck and more directorial latitude, Matthew Vaughn finally caves in for making his first sequel after many a critically appraised mainstream artifact under his belt, and the outcome is roundly, a major let-down.
Racking up more household names in the beefed-up cast (4 Oscar-winners are at Vaughn’s disposal) and compared with its gratifying first chapter, the second outing of the UK secret intelligence Kingsman is visually derivative and thematically callous. Plot-wise, the faux-father-son correlation between Eggsy (Egerton) and Harry Hart (Firth) is the mainspring in the works after patly resuscitating the latter from the grave beyond, only significantly undercut by a surly Firth who looks like he would rather be in somewhere else than back in the fold. Also the romantic byplay between Eggsy and Princess T of Sweden (Alström) doesn’t register any real chemistry to shore up their devoted union, conversely, it falls right into the fix of cliché and stilted caprice.
On the callous part, casually dispatching the arguably most competent agent of its ilk along with other conveniently home-bound senior honchos, Roxy (Cookson) is graded first among the new recruits in the chapter one, is a misogyny-tinged, lame move and belies that it is still a boy’s game in the vein, a blinkered mindset under the spiffy surface. Then there is a self-sacrifice from one of our beloved characters right before the final battle, sentimentally coupled with John Denver’s country dirge but as Kingsman’s relentless gizmo-purveyor, it really doesn’t make any sense that Merlin (Strong) has no other alternative to deal with a simple land mine, it is at once heroic, vacuous and over-deliberate, yet it is not that egregious when we compare it with Eggsy-Harry pair’s minced liquidation of someone who is clearly not a heinous murderer but has a slightly more world-savvy and self-seeking opinion about the crisis caused by our villainess Poppy (an almost t00 delectable to detest Moore), who is the best thing in this hyperbolic, brand-advertising and inordinately smug hotchpotch of a half-baked cash cow, she should have a robotic army under her command instead of just two miserly ferocious watchdogs and a handful of cannon fodder to safeguard her empire, if she is indeed the richest drug dealer alive.
Regarding of the money-splurged action pieces, Vaughn ratchets up its CGI-burnished sleekness, scale-related showiness but nothing is even remotely in the same league of the groundbreaking church massacre money shot in the previous one, and the most pernicious thing is, THE GOLDEN CIRLE is so crummy that it conduces to the self-questioning of why one has fallen under the spell of its antecedent in the first place, and it impels me to peruse my rosy review of KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (2014) to mollify the grievances, that is a bummer one doesn’t properly foresee!