Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Actors: Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Colin Firth, Channing Tatum, Hale Berry, Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal
When the first Kingsman film came out I was very dismissive of watching it at the time. I thought it would just be another one of those Hollywood cash grabs. But I remember when I watched it, I still thought it was just some fun on a screen, but I felt like it had something else, something felt natural about everything. Obviously it wasn't something that elevated cinema or the art form of film but it was just a film where you can switch off your brain and have a bit of fun. So when I heard they were making a Kingsman sequel I was scared. I was afraid that the level of success the first film got would get to their heads and they would end up ruining the franchise. Well, those fears were a reality. The film was just..... Awful in every sense of the word. Let me break it down for you.
This review will just be more of a rant rather than a cohesive review with set ideas throughout because holy crap is this film garbage. Everything good about the first Kingsman film was just thrown out of the window. This film literally feels like a cheap knockoff of the first film, that is how strongly I feel about it. The thing is, the both films follow a very similar pattern. Witty spies who try to take down an eccentric villain who is about to kill a small portion of the world using eccentric and wacky gadgets. However, everything in The Golden Circle felt forced and fake. The first Kingsman felt so natural. They weren't forcing the comedy onto the viewer, the film was just funny at times. But here we have these awful one line jokes that just keep on missing. Mind you, I was watching this film in South Korea which is a big deal. South Korea is significant because if you didn't know, the first Kingsman film did shockingly well in South Korea and it was the highest grossing market for the film outside of the US. I was there when it got released and Koreans loved it. There was advertisements everywhere and the film kept on running for well over a month in theaters. So with that context you can see how bad this movie is when I was sitting in a sold out theater full of Koreans and NO ONE WAS LAUGHING. It was insane. I have lived in this country for 5 years and they will always laugh at even the silliest of jokes. Throughout the 2 hours and 21 minutes of run time, the audience reacted like 2 or 3 times only. Which is really bad for a film that long. All in all, the film just felt forced and they were too conscious of trying to emulate the success of the first film.
Now I just want to talk about the films plot, if you can call it a plot. To me, I literally saw no sense in the entire film. Everything was just wrong and everything was a mess. First of all, the film was unnecessarily long. It just kept on dragging so long at times that I was literally playing with my phone (if you know me then you know I never look at my phone while watching a film). When a film is long it tries to utilize its time wisely, like to develop a very rich character for a character driven story or to try to tell a very complex plot that needs time to explain. Kingsman just, does nothing with its time. It spent like 5 minutes mourning over the death of every Kingsman while you had like 20 minutes of a recurring Elton John bit. There was such a big disconnect. I felt also like there were way to many characters they had to introduce and try to set up many aspects that was unnecessary. Like Channing Tatum's character was so unnecessary in the film. He was just there because he was Channing Tatum and did not add anything to the story. It was all so confusing and made no sense. One of the biggest things that really bugged me was Julianne Moore's character. She was the most non-villain I have ever seen. She did nothing. She fed a human burger to a guy once and that's about it I guess. If she was erased from the film and you just had this vague organization of The Golden Circle doing all of this drug massacre it would have been exactly the same. I just don't understand how they managed to get everything so wrong. I think part of the reason is that they were trying so hard to emulate the success of the first and just failed because it is not genuine, and that is what the first film had. Also, I just want to touch up on this because again, it made no sense. The film tries to push this "message" on people who use drugs. It was one of the most ham-fisted ways to get a message across. They are trying to say through this film that not all people who use drugs are bad and some have legitimate reasons and bla bla. So the way they decide to do this is to have the president of the United States be a very mean person and willingly kill off his own people because fuck people who use drugs right? And we as the audience are supposed to see this exaggerated behavior and see how its wrong to judge people. I just couldn't take it seriously at all. Everything about it was a mess and it was all so clumsy.
The thing about Kingsman is that it tried to do something different with the traditional Hollywood blockbuster formula. The original Kingsman was basically a parody of spy films and it came off as so genuine and that's why it resonated with audiences. Unfortunately, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is just a parody of itself, and it fails to see what made its prequel a success. I hope the producers can either take a step back and see what they did wrong rather than just blindly making another one. Because if this is how the series is going, I might just skip the next installment and use my time for something more useful.