I genuinely loved the first Kingsman film, so I was excited to catch the sequel, which came out this week. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a movie that aggressively attacks its own legacy. Some of the ingredients that composed the first film were on full display in this movie, but it lacked the ingenuity, charisma and heart that really made the original Kingsman an instant classic. It seemed as though the creators of the film misunderstood the special sauce and doubled down on everything the first film had except the secret ingredient.
Brutal, action packed fight sequences? Check. Witty banter with English accents? Check. An emotional spine, tight storytelling and a coherent plot that made audiences both think and feel? Wait… what happened?
This started as a review but… well, it became more of a no-holds barred rant, so be forewarned there are significant spoilers here for both this film and the original Kingsman film. You’ve been warned!
Looking back at the original, I think about all the moments that stood out to me. Gazelle slicing Lancelot in half in the cold open, Harry’s conversation with Eggsy about wealth and privilege, Eggsy’s connection with his dog, the bar fight, the church fight, the eerie conversation between Harry and Valentine, Eggsy’s parkour escape from the chavs, etc. While the action in the first film was great, more than half of the best parts of the movie weren’t action sequences at all.
What does Kingsman 2 offer? It doesn’t come close in any category. No fight in the film matches the church scene in Kingsman 1. The overly contrived plot has nothing on Valentine’s slowly revealed plan to save the world from overpopulation. The deep Knights of the Round Table Kingsman mythology, loaded with historical meaning that tied seamlessly into the theme of the film, is replaced by a puddle-deep Statesmen mythology that’s little more than a naming convention.