Movie Review – Kingsman: The Golden Circle

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Kingsman: The Secret Service” set the bar thrillingly high.  Dynamically directed, sensationally choreographed and exemplarily executed, it’ s absurdly over-the-top, sleekly stylized, expansive and inventive, and most importantly, outrageously fun.  Expectations are running high on the hills of the Comic Con-hyped panel earlier this summer.

No longer the fresh-faced recruit, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is a full-fledged spy, carrying the baton of his dearly departed mentor, Harry (Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech“).  He’s also in a committed relationship with royalty, Swedish Princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom).

The movie opens with an adrenaline rush of a faceoff between Eggsy and a failed recruit, now equipped with a mechanical arm, Charlie (Edward Holcroft).  They go head-to-head inside of a speeding car on a trafficked road, with Eggsy hanging out of a car on the door, flying onto the roof and lying on the dragged door on the street, maneuvering himself into the trunk, and finally peeking out into the backseat to finish the fight.  Dodging pursuers under the  hails of bullets, Eggsy dives the car into a lake, entering an underwater lair into safety.  Such recklessly incredible sequence.  This is followed by a spinning sky lift crashing and tumbling down snowy Italian mountain tops down the road.

The Kingsman headquarter and sites end up getting blown up to bits, leaving the two survivors, Eggsy and gizmo guy, Merlin (Mark Strong, “The Imitation Game“) searching for clues.  A clue takes them into the good ol’ USA, Kentucky.  As it turns out, on the other side of the world, there’s another secret spy agency, Statesman.

Whilst Kingsman has a tailored suit shop as a front, Statesman’s is a liquor distillery.   The sharply dressed Kingsmen have a fisticuff  with a skeptical Statesman, decked in a cowboy outfit, Agent Tequila (Channing Tatum, “Hail, Caesar!“).  Once their identity is verified, they are met with key personnel; leader Champagne (Jeff Bridges, “The Giver“), Agent Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and tech guru Ginger Ale (Halle Berry, “Cloud Atlas“).  Miraculously, Statesman has back-from-the-dead Harry under their care, although he has no memory of who he is, having been shot in the head in the first installment.

Tracing their common enemy to a drug master, Poppy (Julianne Moore, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 & 2“), Kingsman and Statesman work together to prevent millions of people from death.  Don’t mistake Poppy’s Stepford wife appearance as meek.  She’s evil and brutal, first shown releasing robotic dogs and forcing a new recruit to prove his loyalty by decimating another agent down a meat grinder.  And oh, by the way, she also serves a mean hamburger…

Psychotic Poppy runs the largest drug cartel in the world deep in a Colombian jungle, an isolated neighborhood with an American 1950s style, complete with a retro salon, theater and diner.  Poppy is not your run-of-the-mill villain.  Craving for worldwide fame and freedom, she wants drugs to be legalized, just like alcohol and cigarettes.  She unleashes virus into the drugs, causing those who take them to go through dying stages.  She offers antidotes; for a price, of course.  If the first movie lightly touches on class divisions, ‘Golden Circle’ threads on war on drugs, with a political agenda and personal vendetta associated with it.

The movie continues to be visually impressive and a showcase of gadgets.  While not quite as eye popping as the blade-legged lady and colorful head explosion, it’s got the original bullet-proof umbrella and even more stuff, like the seriously cool mechanical arm, brain-healing gel, electric lasso, baseball grenade and briefcase shield, used in an army of shootouts and stylized slice-and-dice fights.  But the tongue-in-cheek humor and comic style remain, so it’s not anywhere as grave or gory as it sounds.  It’s not without its share of controversy, however.  A specific crude scene that got its director, Matthew Vaughn (“X-Men: First Class“) and lead actor addressing the media.

‘The Golden Circle’ may not top the original or feels as refreshing as two years ago, but the cheeky spy adventure runs circles around most sequels. And from the ending, there’s more story to be told, with Statesman coming into prominence in the world-saving business.

As fast, ferocious and uproarious as the first, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is a wild blast of entertainment.

Copyright (c) 2017.  Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at [email protected].

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