Remember in 2014, when we were all dismayed over the end of Kingsman: The Secret Service? No, wait, I’ll remind you why. About 90% of the film was literal badass perfection; it was a film that taught us about nobility coming from yourself, not your status. It had a male and female friendship without any sexual feelings. It launched Taron Egerton into the stratosphere as a young disillusioned man who’d become one of the best agents the Kingsman ever had. It had Colin Firth literally beat the sh*t out of a racist church congregation, delivering one of the best lines prior to the fight. It had pug. It was glorious.
Then it ruined all that fun with a gratuitous and unnecessary anal sex joke, bringing all the nuance and maturity down, soiling a rather excellent romp indeed.
With the release of the sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, there was a whole lot of buzz and hope that we could forget all about that messy nonsense. However, The Golden Circle took everything bad from the first film and carried it into this exasperating and convoluted sequel.
The Golden Circle takes place a while after the events of the previous film. Egsy has settled into his Kingsman role whilst residing in Harry Hart’s old home, and is in a relationship with Swedish Princess Tilde. However, deluded and exiled drug baron Poppy is determined to bring the Kingman down. With a fiendish plot to takeover the world, Egsy and his team must head over to USA and enlist the help of the Statesman in order to stop her.
All the right components are here for the Golden Circle; Taron Egerton is a charismatic and hilarious lead with Mark Strong and Colin Firth returning in their roles. There are epic fight sequences and cool gadgets, rounding into an average action garb. It has its moments, including the light-hearted ones that keep you invested. There’s also the talents of Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Pedro Pascal, and Halle Berry added to the mix as part of the Statesman crowd.
Sadly, though, everything is wasted on a convoluted plot-line, heavy CGI set pieces, and a sequence so ridiculously sexist it’s hard to enjoy anything that comes afterwards. The pace is slow and monotonous; it drawls through exhausting exposition then rushes through epic fight sequences. There is no rhythm or rhyme, which is what made The Secret Service so frivolous and fun. Then throw in the overused Elton John, whose first appearance is hilarious but every moment afterwards becomes a colourful irritation.
Then there’s the ‘fingering’ scene. Excuse me for using such crass language, but that is the only way I can describe it. Egsy has to implant a tracking device on an enemy’s girlfriend. Apparently, in the Kingsman universe, the only way to do that is with a small condom and inserted through her vagina. After debating about it with his girlfriend, it is a task Egsy winds up doing and we get to see it in weird CGI detail. Ludicrous, appalling, and disgusting. The joke, as with the anal sex one from the previous film, is off-kilter. It doesn’t fit in with the narrative nor does it make anyone laugh. Why there is an insistence on it being in the movie is anyone’s guess, but it is a squeamish moment: a sickening tripe of a moment in an average to bad film that sours your taste for the Kingsman.
There were high hopes for The Golden Circle but it is a jumbled mess of a film.