IT CAN'T GET OUT OF ITS OWN WAY
There's a lot to like in this movie. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is Matthew Vaughn's sequel to 2014's wildly successful Kingsman: The Secret Service. I wrote a review on that film, which you can check out here, and in it I said that while there was a lot to like in this film, there were some significant problems with it as well. Unfortunately, this sequel is more of the same. There's a lot to like about it, but there are some significant problems with it as well. More so than on the last go around. All of this is going to make Kingsman: The Golden Circle a below average film for me. Now before you say I don't know how to have fun at the movies, I implore you to listen to what I have to say about this film, because it's reaaaaally not that good.
But first, let's focus on the positives. There were two big things here that I looooooved. First off, there's the fantastic villain. Julianne freaking Moore had an absolute blast with this character, and was by FAR the strongest part of the movie. She stole every scene she was in by a long shot with her eccentric and fiendishly upbeat portrayal of the film's villain. Personally, I liked her far more than Samuel L. Jackson's villain in the first film. I also really enjoyed Pedro Pascal's performance as Agent Whiskey. If his portrayal of Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones wasn't enough to convince you this dude has a bright future ahead of him, then this movie certainly will. Additionally the regulars of this franchise are good, with Taron Egerton leading the way. This dude needs more work, please! Finally, there was also a cameo in this movie that was amazing. I won't spoil it, but just know said cameo plays a big role in the movie, and it was hilarious and awesome. Unfortunately, this is all the film had going for it in my opinion.
NOW, let's talk about the bad, no, the downright AWFUL bits of Kingsman: The Golden Circle. First off, the cinematography. The action scenes of the initial film were extremely erratic, but I was still able to kind of appreciate/understand what was going on. However this time around, it's as if Matthew Vaughn watched the original film, liked how the church scene was shot from that movie, and made every scene of this movie look like that. That scene was meant to be chaotic because of all the bodies being thrown around in the sequence, but when you have three dudes going at it and the camera is moving all over the place up, down, sideways, this and that.....it's incomprehensible! To me it was even worse than shaky cam (which I despise) because whereas shaky cam is meant to ratchet up tension even though it's not needed.....here, Matthew Vaughn is just in love with himself too much! It is too over-the-top. You had no idea where anyone was at any given moment in correlation to anything else, and eventually I just gave up trying to comprehend these scenes. When the weakest part of your action movie are your action sequences.....that's not good. Additionally, what the heck is this plot trying to accomplish? Julianne Moore's character's incentives made no freaking sense, and the motivations of the president made even less sense. GEEZ DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE PRESIDENT'S PLOT. It was so stupid! And its resolution had me literally laughing out loud at the film. Poor Bruce Greenwood and Emily Watson for getting sucked into that TERRIBLE storyline.
Let's see is there anything else? I think I hit on my biggest issues with this film. But those are some big problems! Ultimately, the biggest issue with Kingsman is that it tried to be too over-the-top. It can't get out of its own way and became too ridiculous for me to enjoy. I'm all for having fun with films, (heck look at my reviews of It and Baby Driver to find evidence of that) but it still has to maintain some level of credibility and sanity. Here, Matthew Vaughn just said f*** it and just went for the biggest, baddest thing he could think of. Oh! I almost forgot! Channing Tatum. Now let's talk about Channing Tatum. Can we talk about Channing Tatum, please? I've been dying to talk about Channing Tatum all day. I don't care if you think this is a spoiler, but you know how you've seen Channing Tatum in all the trailers for the movie? Ya. If so, you've seen all of the scenes that Tatum is in this movie for. He's just in this for the inevitable threequel, guys. Doesn't that bother you? Because it bothers me! He spends most of this movie on ice (literally) so that he can be good to go for the next film. I mean, c'mon guys! Whatever. I'm done talking about this movie. Hate me all you want, but Kingsman may very be the single most overrated franchise in Hollywood today. Hey. Maybe Matthew Vaughn will figure out how to get out of his own way in the threequel. But after this film, I'm not counting on it.
The Critique: Despite a great villain and an even better cameo, Kingsman: The Golden Circle fails to reach mediocrity thanks to horrific cinematography and a ridiculous, over-the-top plot.
The Recommendation: I know you're going to go see this regardless of what I say, but there are far better films to spend your money on in the theater right now. It, Mother!, Logan Lucky, and Wind River, to name a few.
The Verdict: 4/10 Below Average