“Manners maketh man.” This second outing in the world of Kingsman hits all the same notes as its predecessor, minus some of the exciting charm from the first’s sparkling originality. The action sequences are frenetic and fun, the humor lands regardless of it being related to emptying bowels, anal sex, or John Denver, and there are some surprisingly emotional beats sprinkled throughout. The film does feel about 20 or 30 minutes too long, and it’s easy to see a simple re-write could have shaved a few unnecessary asides or conundrums to make a more brisk running time, but it’s an entertaining ride from beginning to end that comes across as pure popcorn flick fun.
“If you save the world, you know what that means.” The film starts as any good Bond-like spy movie does, with an epic fight scene that throws the audience straight back into the world. As the story gets its start it comes clear that little time has passed between the events of the last film and this one. Characters and events are carried through with ease so that this doesn’t feel like a sequel but simply a continuation of the story. The stakes are high throughout which is necessary, and as difficult as it can be to come up with another world-saving scenario things are handled cleverly enough here. The problem is the menace behind the madness isn’t all that interesting of an antagonist. The threat is good enough to propel our heroes into action but there’s not so much “bringing down the villain” as there is “stopping the bad thing from happening” and the villain just being there because…well, there has to be a bad guy obviously.
“Take me home, now country roads.” Emotional beats throughout really are done well, and situations here and there will have you clenching your fist in suspense and smiling with relief upon success. The cartoony style of the action is maintained from the first film but never goes too over the top, and fans of the original’s church scene have something to look forward to in the final act with another chaotically composed fight pieced together like a seamless single take. The action is fun, the characters are likable, and while the story has some things worth niggling at it’s easy enough to push any faults aside and simply enjoy the show.
Faster, funnier, and more frenetic than its predecessor; Kingsman: The Golden Circle is pure popcorn entertainment that stays around just a little too long.