Movie Title: Kingsman: The Golden Circle
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 2 hr. and 21 min.
Who did I watch with?: Stephie
Where did I watch it?: Home
This review contains spoilers for Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle opens with Charlie, the rejected Kingsman, turned supporter of Valentine in Kingsman: The Secret Service leading a mission against Galahad to try and get information out of him. The one big difference between Charlie then and Charlie now is that now he has a robot arm. Yes, you read that right. A robot arm. Mayhem ensues and Charlie uses his newfound powers to strike a serious blow against the Kingsman on behalf of international drug kingpin Poppy played by Julianne Moore.
Unlike the rapid pace of the first film, Kingsman: The Golden Circle opts for a slow build. Very slow. Most of the big action set pieces that were distributed over the course of the first movie take place over the last half hour of this movie. In place of the action we have character development that is hit or miss. Eggsy is now in a relationship with Princess Tilde, the woman he rescues at the end of the first film. He has dinner with her family as her father tries to grill him about Indian finances, Frida Kahlo, Moorish revival architecture, and the origins of Bluetooth when disaster strikes. Eggsy meets up with Merlin before heading to America to meet up with the American equivalent of the Kingsmen, the Statesmen. On the other hand we get to watch Julianne Moore ruthlessly operate a drug cartel, which is a sight to behold.
The Statesmen soon reveal that they are in possession of the presumed deceased Harry Hart, who was shot in the face during the events of the first film. I was not initially very happy that they brought him back. It takes courage to kill off a character you are billing as your lead and have him ably replaced. His story arc is long and not very interesting, but culminates in a nice payoff once he gets back in the game.
One of the beautiful things about this movie is the amount of times it manages to work in a variation on Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver. I wasn’t counting while I was watching, but thinking back I think I heard six. I’ve loved this song ever since I saw Me First and the Gimme Gimmes cover it in blistering style after announcing that it was not in fact a cover, but an atrocity. The other beautiful thing is the presence of Elton John who is awesome. Elton, kidnapped by Poppy during Valentine’s kidnapping spree, serves as her personal entertainment and when he gets his revenge it is delightful.
On the downside there are several scenes or entire portions of the movie that could have been cut out or reworked to pick up the pace. It did not need to go to Glastonbury Music Festival to drum up drama and the implementation of the tracking device was…strange. The action set pieces are not as creative as the first movie until we get to the last half hour and then the movie goes mental. Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges are also significantly underused.
Lastly, the movie has some social commentary on the war on drugs, which by any measure has been an abysmal failure. After people become infected the President in the movie, who is similar in temperament to our current Commander-in-Chief, advocates letting all the victims die because they are all worthless drug addicts. By letting them die we are “winning” the war on drugs. People aren’t just left to die, they are put in cages, and stacked on top of each other in a football stadium. A montage of the various victims shows how people from all walks of life use drugs for different purposes and that it does not make them degenerates. They are still people. The end of the movie satirizes American greed one another character implies that he can’t wait until the drug addicts are dead because it will positively impact his stock prices. It is interesting social commentary given all the demonization that occurs in today’s media and political climate.
While the movie has a slow build a lot of the character development hits its mark though certainly not all of it works out well. Once the action kicks in there are some incredible sequences. Julianne Moore is great as Poppy and watching her chew the scenery as the business leader of a drug cartel is fantastic. It is not as good as Kingsmen: The Secret Service, but it is still a worthy successor. See it, but only after you watch the first movie.
Tomorrow’s Movie: Mother! (2017)
Today was a walking day and I did about 1.5 miles in 30 minutes. There is still a lot of snow on the road, so once again, I feel like I went at it harder, but didn’t get much result in terms of distance increase. Tomorrow is a resting and fasting day and then I’ll be run/walking three miles on Tuesday with a weigh in. Bring it on.