movies: kingsman - the golden cirlce

I'm not completely sure how I feel about Kingsman: The Golden Circle. It's the sequel to 2015's Kingman: The Secret Service, which I loved.

And it's a good sequel, it hits a lot of the right beats, but it just doesn't seem as... cohesive somehow.

Also, it needs about 150% more Channing Tatum, even if we do get to see him in some very well stuffed underwear, he's essentially hardly in the movie at all. I was very much looking forward to seeing him and Taron Egerton suited up and taking on the bad guys.

One of the things I do love is that they brought characters you wouldn't necessarily expect back for this movie. Specifically Hanna Alström as the Danish princess, now Eggsy's girlfriend (which is a great way to twist the trope that she was just the "do it in the asshole" girl from the last movie). But also Edward Holcroft who played one of the failed Kingman recruits in the last movie, and who is actually really great as the villain's prime henchman in this one. If anything, he also suffers from the "not enough screentime" problem as Tatum.

I will say... and mild spoilers incoming... that bringing back Sophie Cookson for two scenes before getting rid of her for the remainder of the movie was a complete waste. I mean maybe she wasn't available for the whole movie, but it was disappointing the she wasn't better utilised.

And also in the mild spoiler territory, while Pedro Pascal does fine as the American agent they do team Eggsy up with, the movie couldn't signpost his eventual reveal (well, in broad strokes anyway, not in the specific details) any more than it did... if for no other reason that he's not in any of the posters.

To be perfectly honest though... while it was sweet that they brought Colin Firth back (again, not really hiding the fact, since he's on the posters and did press for the movie), but I kind of wish they hadn't. His return kind of crashes into the middle of the movie and grinds it to a halt for a bit, and there really isn't anything that he does that... just to pluck an idea out of absolutely nowhere... Tatum couldn't have done instead and equally well. Don't get me wrong, Firth is good, especially when he's playing the... again, spoilers... amnesiac version of Harry, there's a completely different expression in his eyes, he's clearly a totally different person... I just wonder if we needed any version of Harry.

Rounding out the cast are Halle Berry and Julianne Moore... Berry is great, but just seems to be completely underused (although in the cast of both her a Tatum, if the rumours of a third Kingsman movie and a possible Statesman spin off movie are true, they would both have much larger roles to play in both of those, I'm sure. But Moore is chewing the scenery in much the same way that Sam Jackson did in the first movie... but in a much weirder Stepford sociopath kind of way.

I will say that the technology feels a little more fantastical this time around... the first one it was more of a stretch that the tech could do what it was doing... this time around they've kind of gone over that hill and just kept on going. Which isn't to say that there's anything wrong with that, it just requires a little more suspension of disbelief.

Speaking of which, while the payoff(s) (there is technically more than one payoff) for the joke is okay, I probably could have done without all the Elton John sequences. Yes, they dragged poor Elton into this. And all of those scenes with him just feel weird. I don't know if it's because he feels like a little bit of a caricature of himself now anyway, or what, but I could have survived without him.

Again the costume design and production design in the movie are good, but not quite as strong as the first one (almost... but it's not quite as lush thing time around).

Like I said at the start, while it still feels like it's taking the spy movie genre and ramping everything up as far as they'll go, it doesn't feel quite polished this time around. It's still fun, with some genuine laughs, it's just not as good.

And as an aside, I'm also wondering if this is going to be the start of a trend of "villainous American presidents" on screen.

yani's rating: 3 whiskey bottles out of 5 

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