When the Kingsman organisation is targeted by an unseen enemy, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) look to the Statesman - their cousins from across the pond - for help. Much like Kingsman, Statesman is an independent intelligence agency operating under the guise of a whiskey distillery in Kentucky. Together they must figure out who is targetting them and why. At the same time Eggsy tries to maintain some form of normal life with his girlfriend Princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom).
Director Matthew Vaughn returns to the world he created with Kingsman: The Secret Service. A parody of the classic James Bond movies, Kingsman was fun and cheesy with a modern twist. "Give me a far-fetched theatrical plot any day" as Harry Hart (Colin Firth) put it. Although the movie does raise an interesting moral question about the legality and taxation of alcohol and cigarettes while other drugs remain illegal, it seems Vaughn may have gone too far with the cheese this time round.
Thanks to the success of the first movie, this one is definitely on a grander scale whereas the stakes are actually lower. The villain, Poppy - played by Julianne Moore in a brilliantly psychotic performance well befitting this universe - is only aware of Kingsman because of the return of a certain character (not Harry), a return we did not need or want. I think it's fair to say that although Eggsy and the gang are once again very busy, they aren't really saving the world.
Bringing Harry back from the dead was a wise decision - even if the way in which he survived is absolutely ridiculous - and it is great to finally see him work with Eggsy. Whereas the Statesman - despite a lot of interest in their entrance into this world - are given next to nothing to do. This includes Channing Tatum's Agent Tequila and Jeff Bridges' Agent Champagne, both of whom have very little screen time and most of what they do can be seen in the trailers.
Despite some exciting action scenes an interesting story and a hilarious cameo from Elton John, Kingsman: The Golden Circle fails to live up to the original. It feels like the writers fell into the usual sequel trap of rehashing certain elements from the first movie. And instead of upping the ante they upped the cheese which resulted in The Golden Circle feeling more like a ridiculous B movie than the exciting follow up it should have been.
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