DVD Movie Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

By Drew Hurley 26.01.2018

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle (UK Rating: 15)

While most people now equate comic book movies with the superheroes of Marvel and DC, Mark Millar has built up a whole Millarworld to pull stories from. Kick-Ass subverted the costumed vigilante story and the first Kingsman film gave younger fans a Bond they could finally relate to. With Nemesis, Superior and others all poised to be hitting Netflix in the future thanks to a new deal. While fans eagerly away those, Eggsy's taking the lead as a full Kingsman agent in this sequel to 2014's comic adaptation, available on DVD and Blu Ray from 29th January.

The first Kingsman movie worked well as a self-contained story that didn't really need a sequel, but it also managed to build up its own world and mythology that would work as a template for plenty of follow-up films. While the comics were quite different to the big screen adaptation, this is an even bigger break away as there is no sequel comic to adapt; this is an entirely original screenplay from Matthew Vaughn and longtime accomplice, Jane Goldman.

That story takes everything established in the first film and trashes it, literally razing the ground of Kingsman in the first fifteen minutes to instead focus on telling a story of revenge and rebirth. It's a little bit of a spoiler, but, in the first fifteen minutes or so, the Kingman are no more and it's down to Eggsy and the only other survivor, Merlin, to act out the "Doomsday" protocol, to avenge their fallen comrades, and get the organisation back on its feet. Not to mention taking on the psychopathic Poppy (Julianne Moore), who has poisoned the world's recreational drugs and is holding the antidote to ransom.

That Doomsday protocol leaves them with a single hint, pointing them across the Atlantic, to a place where everything is bigger: Texas. There, the American equivalent of the Kingsman, the Statesman, is their only hope. While the first film is a celebration of British culture, this sequel is a celebration of Americana. The Statesman hide out behind a Jack Daniels-style distillery, and in place of round table codenames like Arthur and Galahad, they take the names of different alcohols. While the Bond-style gadgets of the Kingsman are based around the gentleman's apparel with their Oxfords, their umbrellas, and smart eyewear, the Statesman go the cowboy route, with electrified lassos, weaponised chewing tobacco, and old school six-shooters.

The Statesman team has brought in some big guns in the casting department. The first to be introduced is Agent Tequila (Channing Tatum), then there's the support agent who wants fieldwork, Ginger Ale (Halle Berry), agency head, Champagne (Jeff Bridges) and, finally, the agent who gets the most screen time, working alongside the Kingsman, agent Whiskey, played by Game of Thrones' Oberyn Martell - Pedro Pascal. Other than Whiskey, the rest of the yanks get barely any screen time - a sad state of affairs considering the long running time.

Speaking of the running time, it clocks in at a positively bloated two-and-a-half hours. Far too long for this type of film that doesn't have much of a story or emotional backbone to hold it up, instead it's the epitome of the summer blockbuster where it's best not to think too much and instead just go along for the ride. It would have worked much better if it was trimmed down to the standard 90-minute to two hours. Much of this time is dedicated to a twist that was horribly spoiled in trailers and promotional material and, even worse, on the cover of this DVD and Blu-ray release - that being the resurrection of Colin Firth's Harry Hart. It's an aspect of the story that doesn't work particularly well outside of a few gags that land about him having to deal with his new lack of depth perception. Firth does a decent enough job but Hart is better as a proud, enigmatic teacher and father figure than the butt of the joke. Not to mention it ruins the punch from the first movie where he had a fitting send off. Hopefully, the third film won't introduce another spy group with some technology that can bring landmine victims back from the dead.

Where the film does work, though, it works well. A great chase through the heart of London opens the film, and there are some smooth and hyper-stylish fight scenes. There are also some insanely grizzly moments straight out of Ricky-Oh and plenty of throwbacks to the first movie. In particular, a promise that Princess Tilde made about backstage access is once again made here. Villainous Poppy is wonderfully camp and her minions all make for decent foils, especially the giant robot dogs. Not to mention, what other film can offer an elderly Elton in full feathery garb busting out F-bombs and crazy kung-fu with aplomb.

Rated 6 out of 10


Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a fun, crazy ride, but jumps between the extremes of feeling both boring and exhausting at points. There are so many set pieces, yet so many feel out of place, tonally inconsistent, or just fall flat. A 90-minute movie stretched out far too long with some great moments but few memorable ones. The third, and apparently final, film is already in development with Matthew Vaughn once again at the helm; hopefully, it will be closer to the first.

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