Does Kingsman The Golden Circle live up to the hype of the series?

Does Kingsman The Golden Circle live up to the hype of the series?
October 5, 2017 Helene Delaunay

 
 

 

 

After the almost surprise success of Kingsman: The Secret Service, everyone was waiting for the sequel; Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

Let’s state right away that making a sequel is usually complicated. You have to be able to create something new, something different and even more amazing than the first film while keeping the original components that made the first film a success.

 

While watching the trailer 3 things come to mind:

  1.        How were they able to bring Colin Firth’s character back?
  2.        A parade of stars: the Kingsman franchise became super hype! It’s even weirder to see that considering that the first movie did not rely on a super-famous cast. The film revolved around Taron Egerton’s character even though Michael Caine, Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson also starred  in it. Having an unknown actor as the star of the film, enables the audience to identify with the character. It makes the characters and the story more anchored in reality. Indeed, it’s something M. Vaughn almost always do: have an unknown actor, or an unknown actor to the main public actor as the lead of his movies (Aaron Taylor-Johnson in “Kickass”, Fassbender, J.McAvoy & J. Lawrence in “X-Men First Class”). Because he is very good at choosing his cast, they usually become famous soon after.
  3.      The third thing you notice is the fact that the story is set in the USA with the Statesmen. After spending the whole Kingsman movie teaching you that the British are far cooler than the Americans, Kingsman: the Golden Circle makes a U-turn to try to sell you that the Statesmen also live by the “manners maketh man” credo. But it’s quite contradictory to how they behave in the movie.

    So then you wonder:

    Did Kingsman 2 destroy everything Kingsman 1 build? Does Kingsman 2 live up to the hype of the series?

    I think that contrary to what I read online, the movie did pretty good even if I concede that Kingsman: The Golden Circle has a lot of flaws. It also makes me afraid for the following of the franchise. 

    Taron Egerton stars in Twentieth Century Fox’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.”

 

WHAT STILL WORKS

Action!

If M. Vaughn is good at something, it’s filming action scenes: he has already proven it in Kingsman: the Secret Service and Kick-Ass.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a real action movie like Kingsman 1. There are lot of pretty impressive action scenes. Indeed, the opening one is pretty awesome even though some could argue that it’s not as great as the church scene in Kingsman 1. At least, it gets you in the mood of the film right away!  

The pace of the film is quite nice even if some subplots force the story to go a bit slower. For instance, all the scenes with Eggsy about his relationships are not that interesting. But I do understand that the director wanted to develop Eggsy’s personal life so he has one more reason to save the world (like in Kingsman 1 where his mother and sister were in danger).  I read that some people found the scenes with Galahad’s recovery too long but it didn’t bother me. I’d rather they take time to make you believe in his possible-but-not-evident-recovery than just rush it because they have some asses to kick.

Bromance

Taron Egerton, left, and Colin Firth star in Twentieth Century Fox’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.”

One of the elements that make Kingsman 1 great is the relationship between Eggsy & Galahad. Mentor, substitute father, Colin Firth’s character taught Eggsy everything he knows about being a man and a Kingsman. This relationship makes the audience involved and root for them.

In The Golden Circle, you also witness the relationship between Eggsy and Merlin (Marc Strong) since the latter replace Galahad during his « absence ». It seems like it has to be an exclusive relationship to be real “bromance” (you’ll understand when you see the movie).

Still, the friendship between the Kingsmen is still here and make you care about them and thus about the story as well.

The “subversive” humor

“Kingsman: the Secret Service” also got famous thanks to that particular scene at the end of the first movie where Eggsy is rewarded for saving the world by being offered sexual favors by the Swedish princess…! The famous sentence: “we can do it in the ass”.

Even if this sentence is used in the second movie as a reference and makes it less funny, the same irreverent humor is still here in Kingsman 2. Sexual jokes, wtf situations (like all the Elton John scenes) or just turning some characters to ridicule (Like the current POTUS who vaguely remind you of someone even if the movie was shot before he got elected…), the impertinence is still here for our greatest pleasure.  This sequel movie makes reference to the first one, but it is mostly done with subtlety.  

Some pop culture and a great soundtrack.

The music is very important in this franchise, it is basically a character of the movie.

The theme of Kingsman is pretty great and gets stuck in your head (it does reminds you a lot of the X-Men First class one though which was also composed by Matthew Margeson and Henry Jackman). But the highlight of the soundtrack is the song choices that play on the action scenes. Who can forget the Church scene in “Kingsman: The Secret Service” with “Free Bird” of Lynyrd Skynyrd while Colin Firth is slaying everyone? … or “Give it up” from KC and the Sunshine band plays while Valentine activates Doomsday and his disco ball!

In “the Golden Circle”, you have Elton John and a few of his songs in the movie. “Saturday night’s alright for fighting” gives rhythm to a huge action scene.

”Take me home, country roads” from John Denver is quite important to the story and I bet you, you will never listen to it the same way after viewing the movie.

Lastly, “Let’s go crazy” from Prince and the Revolution plays on the impressive opening sequence of the film.

All these music features give you the impression that you’re a watching an unconventional movie that doesn’t take itself seriously, a rock and roll movie indeed.

Moreover, the Kingsman movies make reference to popular films like “Pretty Woman”, “My Fair Lady”, the James Bond franchise or Indiana Jones’. Referring to those through mimicking scenes from the original movies or simply make the characters say their titles make them close to us. Furthermore, it makes you think that the director not only likes those movies but knows you also do. It gives you the impression to watch a movie made by a man who resembles you and who is …cool!^^

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

The villain is not scary

The story of the film came to M. Vaughn in dreams (Directors should maybe stop writing their movie based on their dreams! It was the same thing with Darren Aronofsky: see the article on Mother!).

The director said in the press kit: « I woke up one morning and I had the whole story in my head but the villain was causing problems. It is very hard to find a plot that is plausible, understandable and which would make sense today. ».

So of course, it is great to have inspiration coming to you like that but one should not forget to work on it afterward. From his own confession, the villain part of the story was hard to write. The problem is that a good villain is of paramount in a spy movie as Galahad said to Valentine in “Kingsman: The Secret Service”. It should probably have been the basis of the screenplay and not what came last.  

Indeed, Julianne Moore interprets Poppy, who is supposed to have the monopoly on narco trafficking in the world. For having watched the tv show “Narcos”,  I know those criminals are another kind of scary. And her being one of them is hardly plausible. Even if she kills people as if it is nothing to her, you don’t believe that she is threatening or really psychopathic. She is weird but not really scary. She doesn’t have the charisma Mr. Valentine had, who was a nice counterbalance to Galahad. Not really sure if it is the writing of the character or the interpretation itself that poses problems, probably both. (Fun fact: Julianne Moore got the part through Colin Firth with whom she starred in “A Single Man”).  

Julianne Moore in Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Moreover, Poppy’s motivations are not as clear and “logical” as Valentine’s were. She basically screws up her whole business because she wants to be famous. She is also tired of hiding and being away from her beloved America (not that her actions would help her come back!).

Her right-hand man is Charlie from Kingsman 1 and he is not charismatic either. His only cool feature is his robotic arm. You don’t really understand how he is protected by Poppy while he is still close to his ex. By the way, Poppy Delevingne’s character is just ridiculous. I don’t even know why she became so relevant to the story. She is the entry point to the rest of the bad guys but still as a pretext for that, it is not working.

To sum up, the villain clan is really inconsistent and is not credible.

Thankfully, there are subplots that keep you distracted from only focusing on the villain’s “threat” to the storyline on the coming back of the “original” Galahad. Without that, the story wouldn’t have worked at all in my opinion.

The problem with the Statesmen

Pedro Pascal stars in Twentieth Century Fox’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.”

During the whole first Kingsman movie, British class is demonstrated to be the ultimate cool thing. And you have to agree when you watch the film. British equals awesome and more importantly, it means better than American. Basically, Americans like Valentine have no manners and think a hamburger is a gourmet dish.

The problem with “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is that we are supposed to forget that and adhere to an American Kingsman concept: the Statesmen.

First of all, I won’t discuss the casting of Channing Tatum as one of them but I must admit I wasn’t too pleased with that. He interprets a “bad boy” agent, far from the smartness of a Kingsman (some complained about his short time on screen, I didn’t^^). Halle Berry is the logistic expert but is no Merlin. Pedro Pascal is a bit misogynistic in not wanting that the former becomes a field agent. His fighting style is nonetheless cool even though seeing him saying the emblematic “Manners maketh man” phrase is pretty laughable. And I am not even talking about his backstory… Finally, Jeff Bridges has the charisma of a leader but his role resumes to drinking whiskey while praising his agents.

To sum up, Statesmen are not even close to Kingsmen in terms of “coolness” and make them merge, is kind of unnatural.

Jeff Bridges stars in Twentieth Century Fox’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” Photo Credit: Giles Keyte.

Merch, merch, merch

The placement product doesn’t really bother me per say if it is well integrated to the movie. But in The “Golden Circle”, they really go for it.

In “The Secret Service”, it was still somewhat discreet (the Macdonald’s reference is not a product placement; the movie didn’t receive any money from the company as citing them was more to criticize them rather than promoting them). They partnered with a friend of Vaughn who owns Mr Porter, a cloth brand, and  did costumes during the first movie and they that sold instantly.

In “The Golden Circle”, the merch is part of the main story, they are vital objects for the agents. One must admit that it is pretty brilliant since the extra dollars from them seems to benefit Marv Films, Vaughn’s production company.

Bourbon, costumes, perfume, deodorant, aftershave, everything can be purchased for the audience’s own recreation. Vaughn got this idea after being forced to buy Disney merchandise for his children

Matthew Vaughn on the set of Twentieth Century Fox’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.”

In this second movie, it becomes a bit much even though it is done the “Kingsman’s way” meaning super obviously and in a funny manner…so you forgive them!

 

To conclude, I think saying the movie is a failure like I have read on some blogs, is exaggerated. Once again, making a successful sequel is not easy. I found the movie very entertaining and funny. It also moved me at times almost to tears (I’m a sensitive person! but I am referencing to a particular scene, you will understand after seeing the movie). I didn’t get the impression that I had been betrayed by the director-co screenwriter-producer of the film M. Vaughn. It can be sometime the case with a sequel: just a pretext to make more money easily at fans’ expenses.

I still believe the Kingsmen are the quintessence of cool and I will definitely go and watch them in a third movie. That being said, I’m becoming slightly afraid for the future of the franchise especially after seeing the last scenes of “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”.

M. Vaughn should focus on what the audience loved in the first movie and maybe turn around the Statesman story rather than be pursuing it.  I guess you will have to wait and see, I am not feeling serene though…

 

Did you know?

Claudia Schiffer, M. Vaughn’s wife,  plays the aesthetician robot in Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

Twentieth Century Fox’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.”

The pseudo used by Galahad during his meeting with Valentine in “Kingsman: The Secret Service is the real name of the director: Matthew Allard de Vere Drummond.

The hands in the Poppy Delevingne and Taron Egerton’s sex scenes are Delevingne’s husbands’; Egerton refused to do the scene himself because he was too uncomfortable.

Actors Performance

Directing

Screenplay

Soundtrack

Final Note

Is it #DudeChick certified ?

Still cool AF!

#Dudechick, what’s that ?

Watch the trailer

 
Expert in indie movies. with instagram filters. #Sundance

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