Vaughn to Make Movies
I’ve been a fan of director Matthew Vaughn ever since I saw the fantasy-comedy Stardust in 2007. He followed that up with the superhero-comedy Kick-Ass and (still) the best X-Men film ever, X-Men: First Class. In 2015 he released the first Kingsman movie, and I was blown away by its originality, its humour and its insane action sequences. Of course, I had to see the sequel, and thankfully it was not a disappointment.
I feel that The Golden Circle maintains the tone of the first film without simply copying it. This second film takes the viewer on a different sort of rollercoaster ride to the first, but it is still one heck of an enjoyable ride. The movie opens with Eggsy (Taron Egerton) being attacked by someone from his past – a mental car chase ensues through the streets of London, and this should get your blood pumping, or else you are, frankly, dead.
Not long after this we are introduced to the villain of the piece – the person who sent someone to attack Eggsy. Enter Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), who looks like nothing more than a middle-aged American housewife. This film franchise really delivers some truly memorable villains: first we had Samuel L. Jackson with a lisp, now we have a woman who likes to punish people by literally turning them into mincemeat.
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…
When Poppy launches a full-out assault against the Kingsman, Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) head to the United States to enlist the help of “the Statesman”. Half the fun of this movie is discovering that the Kingsman are not the only secret spy organization out there, and watching the universe expand with lots of fun new characters. It is a testament to Vaughn’s pull-power that he was able to get such great actors on board.
Among the main cast, there are no less than 5 Oscar winners. We have Colin Firth (Harry Hart, yes he’s back), Jeff Bridges (Agent Champagne), Halle Berry (Ginger Ale) and Julianne Moore. The fifth person once won an Oscar for Best Song, and you’ll never believe how much screen time he is given – it’s Elton John! Far from being a gratuitous cameo, his presence (as himself) in the movie is totally in keeping with the film’s style.
Anyway, back to the plot: Poppy Adams is the head of a massive drug cartel and is planning on securing her spot in the international market by poisoning drug users worldwide, and then blackmailing world leaders for immunity in exchange for the antidote. There is an excellent turn by actor Bruce Greenwood playing the President of the US – it’s a subtle parody of Trump, complete with the red tie and an unusual approach to terrorists.
A Strong Acting Performance
As all the posters advertise, Channing Tatum also joins the cast – but this seems like “clickbait” because he is really not seen much in the film. An actor who gets more screen-time is the brilliant Pedro Pascal. I was super thrilled about this as I have been missing him ever since his breakthrough performance on Game of Thrones. When he wears a Stetson, wields a lasso and speaks with a drawl, he evokes Matthew McConaughey a bit.
Finally, I must take a moment to mention how great Mark Strong is as Merlin. This is a man who has acted in so many films over the last 20 years, but you’ve probably never noticed him, because he is a chameleon who becomes his character and doesn’t get in the way of the story. You will probably notice him in this movie, though, because he steals the show, and his performance succeeded in bringing a few tears to my eyes.
Honestly, I think that my enjoyment of this movie was enhanced by the fact that I watched none of the trailers that came out for it. I didn’t even read a synopsis. Too often nowadays I have seen trailers show too much of a movie (Spider-Man: Homecoming is my latest example of this trend). I have described The Golden Circle as a rollercoaster, and I recommend you treat it like one. Just give yourself over to it and enjoy the ride.
2017, directed by: Matthew Vaughn
- It has the same fun, ballsy feel of the first movie. Everything is great, from the visuals and the fights to the humour and the music.
- Perhaps the film could’ve been a little bit shorter, but I enjoyed spending time in this wacky universe and didn’t really want to leave it.