It’s been a pretty tough year for cinema this year. As some of you might have been able to tell from my last review; there has been little in the way of quality films around recently and it has taken time for me to get back to writing film reviews because of it. The Dark Tower was exhausting to watch so I was pleasantly surprised to go back to the cinema today and actually enjoy what I was seeing. I will admit; I was deeply worried that after reading several scathing reviews of today’s topic of discussion, Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle, another negative review was on its way. But I can honestly say that that is not the case. I loved this film! I will however be including spoilers so if you don’t want to know what happens stop reading now!
It had to be said that right from the very start all the way until the very end Kingsman: The Golden Circle is absolute mayhem. The opening scene is a hectic battle through the streets of London involving a Kingsman taxi and a fleet of Jaguars. It is a little bit random; Charlie, the Kingsman reject from the first film reappears here with a shaved head, a robotic arm and completely able to resist a massive electric shock to the face. No explanation is offered; the film just jumps straight in there with these details for you to process before, within about half a minute of the film starting the madness gets going. The fight scene that fills the opening moments is complete chaos. There are gun shots, explosions and Taron Eggerton goes flying through the air. It really sets the tone for the entire film; madness, and mayhem with an awesome soundtrack! As opening scenes go; this one is a winner but I would also be interested to know which part of London this car chase is supposed to take place in given there being so little traffic and roads with such huge speed capabilities.
A lot of this film is a total surprise. Much of the characters we loved in the first film reappear in The Golden Circle but what you don’t expect is just how many of them are killed off. Even then, you are sat there thinking ‘no, no, surely not’ because the Kingsman franchise has been that sort of film. We knew from the trailers that Colin Firth would be making an unexpected come back, saved by a solution that is frankly stupid (something I am willing to overlook given that it sort of works in the context of all the other madness) so it wasn’t unreasonable to assume that some of the characters would be granted an improbable survival as well. Sadly, this was not the case which is what made a lot of this film shocking; the deaths shift the tone from comedy to serious in a heartbeat before they almost instantly jump back. One of the most heart-breaking moments in the whole film is laced with a twisted humour as Merlin, Mark Strong's best character to date, sings his way to his death in an oddly moving but also slightly hilarious final scene for his character and I was expecting a miraculous escape but sadly no such luck. Vaughn has this knack for this sort of thing, however, and it is refreshing to be kept on your toes by an unpredictable plot.
The basis for this film is bizarre. Julianne Moore wants to conquer the world via the drugs trade and has wiped out Kingsman in the process leaving Taron Eggerton, Mark Strong and a permanently confused Colin Firth to sort out the mess. It’s a film about Eggsy saving the world. What more do you want, really? There is a lot of carnage ensued in the process and some really grizzly deaths; including one involving a meat mincer which, however grim, is highly entertaining. Moore as a villain is an interesting choice; we’ve seen her smash the role of Margate White in Carrie but that was horror, I wasn’t sure she would pull it off in an action film. Safe to say; she does. She does it brilliantly! Like the rest of this film; it’s completely random but in the context of the chaos of Kingsman it really works. She is creepy and amusing at the same time. She features for just the right amount of scenes to keep her character from becoming annoying which, if the same formula had been followed with her as it was with Samuel L. Jackson’s character in the first film, she most certainly would have done.
The key to this film being great is that it is not trying to be anything other than an insane action film. No, it probably won’t go down in history for holding any cultural significance; all it will ever be is escapism. But I’ve said it before and I will say it again; we need films like this. If you want to sit down and watch a film that requires no thinking, no real effort to process and will give you a bit of a laugh then this is one to watch. Yes, there are plot flaws (the brain solution being a huge one), yes certain actors are not used to their full potential (Jeff Bridges, I am looking at you), yes, it is completely ridiculous but sometimes that is what you need. On that basis I am saying Kingsman: The Golden Circle is brilliant. And I seriously recommend it to all!