Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Starring Taron Egerton, Julianne Moore and Colin Firth
There are so many belly laughs in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, it’s hard to know where to begin. Many of them involve the incredible returning cast, including Taron Egerton, Mark Strong and Colin Firth, and many involve a kidnapped rock legend.
After having been shot in the first Kingsman: The Secret Service, one of my favourite films of recent years, Firth is back as Harry, the gentleman spy who is a shadow of his former self.
Egerton’s Eggsy is still juggling dual lives as a chavvy John Steed-style character, while trying to keep his girlfriend, Princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom), sweet from film one. Yes, the damsel in distress who came out with the most left field line of any heroine in a spy caper over the past decade.
While James Bond is all mature innuendo, Kingsman is his often foul mouthed, yet charming little brother, who cuts to the chase; a 007 for the channel-hopping generation.
It’s clear from the outset that director/co-writer Matthew Vaughn is ramping everything up with a bigger budget and more outlandish set pieces.
(I get the feeling co-writer Jane Goldman probably had a lot of input from husband Jonathan Ross).
Julianne Moore is terrific as Poppy, the insane antagonist who holds the world to ransom via a virus which leaves victims looking like they’ve been drawn on with a blue Biro. (Pity poor Keith Allen who bows out early in one of several gross out scenes).
Poppy has set up base in the jungle, residing in a strange arena of an archetypal US diner and shops inspired by Grease and American Graffiti.
As her plan becomes apparent and the Kingsmen are wiped out in sudden attacks, Eggsy and Merlin (Strong) discover a US branch of their organisation called Statesmen. It sets the scene for much stateside fun as our heroes gather enough intelligence and resources to go and beat Poppy.
While Channing Tatum, Halle Berry and Jeff Bridges have a ball, the secret ingredient in Vaughn’s special sauciness is Elton John. Yes, really.
When I heard he was making an appearance, I thought it was going to be one of those embarrassing cameos. The fact Elton provides several of the biggest laughs of the movie is astonishing.
Action scenes involving robot dogs could have been tiresome, but the choreography is superb. All slow mo, balletic gun fire and weird cutting like film one. The whole thing is so fast and frenetic, you don’t stop for a minute to realise how ridiculous it all is. Well, maybe I did at the film stopped half way through due to a technical hitch, which gave the five year old kids present a chance to scream and shout even more than they did throughout the rest of the movie. (I watched it in an Orlando theatre, which seems a lot more relaxed about letting little kids into 15 certificate movies).
With a terrific score by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson, and some brilliantly inventive scenes, Kingsman: The Golden Circle isn’t the best film of the year, but it is one of the funniest, and occasionally most touching, mainly during a scene with Firth, Strong and Egerton in a padded cell.
I’ll happily go and see it again, hopefully without the tech problems or chorus of toddlers, and hope we don’t have to wait too long for a third movie.
Mr Bond. You have a lot to live up to.