Tuesday 26 September 2017

Film Review: Kingsman The Golden Circle

Having really enjoyed the first Kingsman film, The Secret Service, I was excited to learn about the upcoming sequel to the 2014 comedy spy flick. And it seems I wasn't the only one, as The Golden Circle has been highly anticipated by fans across the world ever since it was announced.

Following the long-awaited UK release last Wednesday, I went along to see the movie the following day. Filled with action, adventure, love, loss and plenty of humour, the film certainly didn't disappoint.

A Taste of the Action

The Golden Circle stars Taron Egerton reprising his central role as Eggsy, a down-and-out youngster turned super-spy after the events of the first film. Having found his footing as a suave young gentleman spy, this new Eggsy looks to be cool, confident, calm and collected - a far cry from the familiar Eggsy we recognise from The Secret Service.

Through a chain of events that lead to the majority of the film's stellar all-star cast getting killed off within the first half an hour, Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) find themselves jetting off to the USA. Once there, they come into contact with Statesman, an independent intelligence agency basically operating as the American equivalent of Kingsman.

In a plot similar to that of the first film, the duo, accompanied by Statesman resources and agent Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) is tasked with the duty of saving the world by stopping twisted CEO-turned-villainess Poppy (Julianne Moore) from succeeding in her convoluted quest for world domination.

Have We Been Here Before?

However, the plot isn't the only similarity that Golden Circle holds to the original. Much of the humour remains, as do certain references harking back to moments from Secret Service. In fact, this film simply seems to build on the foundations and success of its predecessor, hoping to capitalise through a formula which has already proven to be so popular. Unfortunately, however, it felt as though this was also the film's downfall. The original was so great because it was a spoof of the spy genre, yet it still felt grounded and realistic enough to be relatable. In contrast, Golden Circle takes things to the extreme, welcoming even more unbelievable scenarios and some scenes which are frankly quite ridiculous. Even the opening action sequence seemed to lack that unique sparkle that seeped from the first film, which was a real shame.

But this isn't to say that the film was poor. It was good, at times great, but it was always going to be a challenge to live up to the original, something which, sadly, wasn't achieved.

Characters, Cameos and Compassion

Although the story was engaging and the humour fun (in all honesty, Elton John managed to steal the show with his brilliant comedic cameo role) it was really the characters that made the film a success. We all know and love our main characters, and ever since the trailer was released, it was widely debated how Harry (Colin Firth) was going to come back from the dead. Of course, avoiding spoilers, throughout the film we watched how Eggsy's relationship with Harry changed as his character grew, eventually ending with a beautiful scene which really goes to show just how far Eggsy has gone since we first met him at the beginning of Secret Service. It's sweet, it's poignant, and it fits.

Weighing in at a lengthy 2 hours and 21 minutes, there's no doubt that there is a lot of unnecessary set-up and a lot that could be cut from the film. However, at times that familiar charm we all fell in love with back in Secret Service returns, making it easy to overlook the flaws as we fall back into a world of larger-than-life villains, international jet-setting antics and our favourite gentlemen spies.

Have you seen the film? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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