“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is the sequel to the surprise hit from 2015. It succeeded mostly due to its subversive, irreverent spin on the genre.
As for the sequel, it certainly has a lot of the same ingredients that made the first film so outrageously entertaining, but they’re somewhat lost in the shuffle.
Taron Egerton returns as Eggsy, the young recruit who joined the British spy agency known as Kingsman. A year has passed since the events of the first film and Eggsy finds himself in the crossfire of the agency being destroyed and joining up with other agents to find out who’s responsible.
Mark Strong is back as Merlin, his go-to guy. Together they discover an ally in the form of the Statesman, the American equivalent of the Kingsman. Their organization uses a whiskey distillery in Kentucky as a cover for their activities. Once there, they team with the likes of Channing Tatum and Halle Berry and their superior played by Jeff Bridges.
With these talented, bankable actors, the screenplay doesn’t feature them much, or take advantage of their charisma.
Their investigation leads them to Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) a drug kingpin who wants to infect the world’s population with a drug that makes people’s skin turn blue and other side effects. Check with your doctor if her meds are right for you.
Colin Firth makes a return as Harry who supposedly died in the first film, but it turns out the bullet that hit him only gave him retrograde amnesia. He struggles to remember who he was. Will he remember? Will he forget everything? I think I just answered my own question.
The cast and same team are back, but this time they’ve given us a plot that is occasionally murky and some dialogue exchanges don’t have the humor or wit. There is a cameo by an iconic British singer but his scenes are mostly wasted, despite a great use of one of his signature songs being used for the all-out climax.
Let’s talk about that climax as well. The first film was known for its over-the-top violence and the sequel is also loud and violent, but it never goes full throttle until the climax. Until then, there’s only a handful of really exciting moments, but even they are not as creative as the original. “John Wick Chapter 2” is a textbook example of building on great action rather than repeating it.
Even with a puffy running time of 141 minutes, “The Golden Circle” falls victim to overload. I really liked the first one and it’s a shame this sequel doesn’t follow suit.
Rated R for sequences of strong violence, drug content, language throughout and some sexual material.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.