“That movie seemed very pleased with itself.” That was a non-critic friend’s assessment of “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” immediately after the screening, and it’s such an apt description that I have stolen it without attribution.
Whatever you thought of “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (I liked it), the sequel is longer, more bloated, and less entertaining, yet it constantly acts like it’s doing us a favor. Director Matthew Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman, both returning from the 2014 surprise hit based on the 007-skewing graphic novel, let the story sprawl out over 141 minutes even though much of it is just a retread of last time. (A villain whose ultimate goal is a perversion of progressive politics, whose co-conspirators’ bodies are marked with a symbol that gives them away, plans to infect the entire population with a mind-controlling virus. Sound familiar?)
It begins promisingly, with a terrific fight in and around a speeding taxi between our hero, chav-turned-spy Eggsy (Taron Egerton), and Charlie (Edward Holcroft), a former Kingsman applicant who’s now a bad guy with a robotic arm. At no point do the computer-generated stunts look convincing, but the sequence is ludicrous fun.
Unfortunately, it’s downhill from there, as the story continues to reference the James Bond formula without really satirizing it. Charlie is working for Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), a smiling American woman who runs the world’s most powerful drug cartel from her ’50s-themed villain’s lair in the jungles of Cambodia, where she is protected by numerous goons and a pair of robot attack dogs. (She also has Elton John there to perform on command, having used Samuel L. Jackson’s mass abduction of celebrities in the last film as cover to steal one for herself.) Her sinister plan involves tainting her products, which run the gamut from marijuana to meth, with a deadly disease and extorting the world for the antidote. But first she’ll need to eliminate Kingsman.
[Continue reading at Crooked Marquee.]
C (2 hrs., 21 min.; )