Kingsman: The Golden Circle Review

The first Kingsman film told the tale of how someone from a council estate became a tuxedo-wearing super spy and was written in response to Casino Royale in which someone who’s a bit rough around the edges turns into a tuxedo wearing super spy but it didn’t go into enough detail for Mark Miller who created the franchise to detail James Bond’s true origins.

It was a love letter/parody to old school James Bond, particularly the Roger Moore and Sean Connery and I seriously enjoyed it, even if it did spend too long on its training regime and not enough on actually developing it’s world, character’s, style or tone.

But hey, that’s what first instalments are meant to do, right?

First film sets up the world, and from then on the training wheels are off and we get to see what The Kingsman can really do.

And speaking as a James Bond super fan, I haven’t seen a decent Bond parody since…. Hell, the first Austin Powers movie back in 1997. So, I had a beer, grabbed my popcorn sat back and….

Seriously missed the training wheels.

Because, well, I get that if you’re going to make an over the top cartoon version of James Bond, I realise that there’s going to be loads of over the top violence but maybe you could have told the CGI department that not to make their work really obvious or given them more than £20 to work with?

Seriously, if you don’t have the money for CGI then don’t do it CGI. Look into doing it with practical effects or models or stop motion or hell, even puppets because very few things spoil a film like bad CGI.

But on to the plot and it’s actually pretty simple. The world is being held hostage by a drugs kingpin who want all drugs legalised and a complete pardon for everything they’ve done. Yeah, the plots a carbon copy of On Her Majesties Secret Service except this time there’s no scene or stunt or moment where our main characters are in danger of so much as getting their suits wrinkled. Not only can none of the bad guys shoot straight but the hero’s have gadgets that shred the laws of physics and logic and serve only to paper over some of the many, many plot holes in this film.

And speaking of the plot, I should probably mention that as a gruff old traditionalist I like it when dead characters stay dead unless I’m watching a zombie film. And especially when that characters death was a fairly pivotal moment in the first film ad one of its most striking and long lasting moments.

And if you are going to bring back Colin Firth, maybe don’t spoil it so heavily in the trailers? And thanks again for taking what little tension there is out of the overlong, over-edited, slow-motion fight scenes because even if a character does get more than their suit wrinkled they can be back on their feet in three scenes teleporting around the world like nothing had ever happened.

Yes, teleporting, either that or this film takes place over about three weeks. Look, if I keep going on about all the things that annoyed me I’ll be here all day, so here are just a few.

Magic Mike barely gets a cameo, some halfwit told Jeff Bridges to shave so that he looks really badly de-aged via CGI. The film has no idea how to treat it’s female character’s so it sticks them behind a desk or a cooking counter, the villain was miscast and exudes as much menace as my friends three year old niece when she’s in a huff, there’s a high speed chase in London when the roads would be clogged to hell and the films tone shifts from over the top action cartoon to moments of serious romance about as smoothly as when my better half and I fight over the remote.

Even more annoyingly, given the hugely talented cast that’s been assembled here, no-body seems to have anything to do. Bridges is basically M and didn’t need to be in the film as much as he was, Firth is given a somewhat interesting character arc but the film doesn’t do anything with it. Eggsy goes back to square one in terms of his character, but at least Mark Strong gets a musical number?

Even more annoyingly, there’s a moment at Glastonbury that seemingly exists only to generate headlines and think pieces which I won’t discuss any more than to say it shocks and exists for shocks fate and could have been done about 15 different ways that would have been funny and inventive rather than the method that was used in the film.

And, worst off all is that taken as a whole, this doesn’t feel like a James Bond send up, rather than a film version of James Bond Jr. where Jr. has to prove himself to his Uncle James that he’s worthy of the name.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is an overlong, tension free series of over-edited fight scenes followed by sometimes amusing dialogue when it’s not trying to suddenly try and give depth to it’s one dimensional cartoon character’s. The villain and her henchman are less interesting, menacing and memorable than those in the original film. I laughed, liked it slightly at the time but am finding it really hard to justify why I did so now.

Maybe this franchise should have just been a single film as the law of diminishing returns is a very harsh and uncompromising one. On the other hand, it did have a pulse, a pretty interesting if incredibly obvious message (and a distractingly optimistic message about US politics) but at the very least it easily provided the best use of Elton John in a film since The Lion King.

Deal with the tonal shifts, being in some more practical stunts, a bit of tension, give your insanely talented cast something to actually work with and this could have been as good as the first one.

But as is?

My Score- Skip It

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