Movies: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Starring: Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore . . . Elton John?
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn
Written By: Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn (screenplay) from the comic book by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons
20th Century Fox, 2017
R; 141 minutes
3.75 stars (out of 5)


First question: Was there a fire sale on John Denver music for use in film or something? Or is it just that films with any connection to Channing Tatum are required to use John Denver songs now? Because between this one and Logan Lucky, I've heard more John Denver in the past few weeks than I have since that episode of The Muppet Show from when I was a kid. You know the one.

If that weren't weird enough, Elton John is in this movie and you still hear more John Denver than anything else.

Okay, okay, whatever. Let's get to the nuts and bolts.

A disgruntled Kingsman reject attempts to hijack Eggsy's  very sophisticated cab one night, and while Eggsy manages to fend the baddies off, they still get the info they need to incite the rest of the plot. Namely, they discover locations of all Kingsman agents and properties and destroy them all. Only Eggsy and Merlin survive.

There is a Doomsday Protocol for this kind of thing, and that leads our heroes to Kentucky, where they team up with the Statesman operation—a U.S. cousin to the British Kingsman, natch. But while the Kingsman cover is a tailor shop, the Statesman agency makes whiskey.

Julianne Moore plays Poppy, a psycho drug dealer who craves recognition for her work as the most successful "pharmaceutical CEO" in the world. Alas, she's forced to live in the jungles of Cambodia in an HQ that looks more like she runs Johnny Rocket's. She explains this by saying she grew up amid 50's nostalgia and still loves it. Which is why she's also kidnapped Elton John for her personal entertainment.

Questions you didn't even know you wanted answered:

(1) Do they give an explanation for Colin Firth's survival? A: Yes, and while it feels like a bit of a reach, it is in keeping with the world that has been built.

(2) Is Channing Tatum in this movie? A: For about five minutes. Despite what the trailers have led you to believe, we mostly spend time with Pedro Pascal (you know him from Game of Thrones, but in this film he looks like he's going for gold in a Burt Reynolds lookalike contest).

(3) Is it as violent as the first movie? A: Hmm. There are a couple not lovely moments with a meat grinder, but other than that, it's not terrible.

I enjoyed this film, though not nearly as much as the first. Apparently Eggsy is still in a relationship with the princess who let him "do butt stuff" (and her English has improved) . . . I feel like there is a lot of talent that didn't get fully explored in this movie, and I think the overall problem of drug users being in imminent danger of dying if Poppy doesn't distribute the antidote was weak. As in, not very compelling. And then the denouement felt too easy, and Agent Whiskey's motivation was not established early on, and Galahad Sr.'s mental issues get dropped halfway through, etc. Like, just a lot of minor problems that built up to be a distraction for me from my overall pleasure in the film.

And then at the end (minor spoilers), I have to assume some time has passed? Impeachment doesn't happen that quickly (as we all know), and I don't think a wedding can be slapped together so fast either. So I can only assume there's a leap in time there somewhere.

That said, the action sequences are well done as ever. Halle Berry does a fine job with a limited role. Too bad there wasn't more Jeff Bridges, but I'd say that even about movies in which Jeff Bridges is the star, so . . .

tl;dr: I had fun. But not as much fun as I expected to have.

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