Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Well, the long summer movie slump is finally over. The sequel to 2015’s “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is just the antidote to whatever was ailing this year’s dismal movie schedule. Not that it comes as much of a surprise, mind you. The first “Kingsman” movie, directed by Matthew Vaughn (“Kick-Ass,” “X-Men: First Class”), was irresistibly entertaining, one of my favorite movies of the year. This time, with the help of a high-profile cast which adds names like Tatum, Berry, Bridges, Moore, and Elton John, they ramp up the action and make “The Golden Circle” one of the best times you’ll have at the movies this year.
When the Kingsman headquarters are wiped out, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) will find a clue that leads them to their Kingsman-like counterpart in Kentucky, the Statesmen (with Bridges, Berry, and Tatum in their employ), who they’ll have to team up with to stop a deranged drug lord (Julianne Moore) from executing her deadly extortion scheme.
In the now-grand tradition of good-humored villains in “Kingsman” movies, Julianne Moore is tasked with spouting all sorts of jokes as she threatens and ends the lives of disloyal employees and unknown numbers of strangers across the globe. The mocking way in which these terribly corny lines are delivered saves the movie from being laughed at, instead of with. But we know it’s all in good fun. At a time when Daniel Craig is ditching any semblance of humor from the James Bond movies, we can be thankful there’s a spy franchise not afraid to be cheeky. Of course, it’s Taron Egerton who embodies this personality best. After breaking out in “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” the very capable British actor showed his singing chops in “Sing” and made the most of the biopic “Eddie the Eagle” (which was not given the credit it was due, to be honest) before returning to the role that made American audiences fall in love with his charming sassiness. He’s having a great time here, and we can’t help but feel the same.
Critics have complained that “The Golden Circle” felt a little too fun, that it was not as grounded as its predecessor. And it’s true that it doesn’t care about your expectations for realism—it’s happy being absurd. But that’s the fun of it! Loud Elton John songs used to underscore an all-out brawl, using weaponry I doubt we’ll ever see in our lifetime or our children’s, with men getting chopped clean in half…how can you not have fun? I could go on, but I didn’t write very many notes this time—I was too preoccupied; it was just so entertaining. “The Golden Circle” is what it should feel like to go to the movie theater. Hollywood has neglected that feeling for months, but now, we’re finally given a treat. You’ve been patient. Go enjoy it.