By Leah Devorak | Editor-in-Chief
God save the queen. Kingsman is brilliant.
After keeping fans waiting for three years, the second film in the beloved series, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, picks up with a bang as Eggsy, played by Taron Egerton; Roxy, played by Sophie Cook; Merlin, played by Mark Strong and the whole rest of the first film’s agents head off into the same world-saving antics that captured audiences everywhere the last time around.
Well, sort of.
While the action of this film is full-on classic Kingsman from the get go, the character list very quickly and very drastically changes as the agency’s headquarters is destroyed, calling for a new protocol and a trip to America in order to figure out just what the heck is going on.
But while that initial twist in the plot is a fantastic move, one that’s even even grander is something revealed long before the film’s release by its various posters: Harry — played by the legendary Colin Firth and thought to be killed in the first movie — is actually alive. Yes, freaking Harry is freaking alive, and given the problems the Kingsman agency faces in this film, it’s one of the most brilliant choices the writers could have made.
But they didn’t just bring Harry back and have everything be la di da. Nope, as a parody to the spy genre, Kingsman knows much better than to be as stereotypical as that. So while Harry is alive, he isn’t necessarily fully there, and getting him to be 100 percent again turns out to be one of the funniest, saddest and most touching parts of the whole film, adding much needed emotion into an otherwise sterile series.
The great emotion doesn’t just stop there, though. The whole two hours are sprinkled with gut wrenching scenes that force the audience to become invested in both the characters and the movie in a way they never had to before. And that’s probably what sets The Golden Circle so far apart from its predecessor; because of the various emotional touches, viewers are finally able to care about their favorite characters on a deeper level, a very satisfying and refreshing addition to what could have otherwise been a film too crude and gory for most folks to watch.
But while this is all great, the icing on the cake is the movie’s fantastically executed humor. Every joke made from start to finish is classic Kingsman, mixing quick wit with dramatic irony in order to create beautiful, natural and far from cheesy dialogue. This type of banter is the perfect way to keep audiences interested in the plot even during its more dry parts — something not too many films do successfully.
The fact that most of the humor utilized is of the stereotypical, classic British sort only further amplifies the film due to its juxtaposition with the snark of the Americans the Kingsman agents come in contact with, especially when they first meet. Drawing a lot on well-known history for these moments, the writers make sure that audiences everywhere are able to understand the groups’ funny conflicts, taking this film up a level as compared to others in the same genre right now.
The only bit that seemed a little odd was the fact that the rendezvous between Eggsy and Princess Tilde of Sweden at the end of the last movie — his reward for saving the world — was turned into a full-fledged, very serious relationship. It definitely did not seem right at first, but with a lot of appeals to the true love the two somehow managed to find, after about 10 minutes, the weirdness starts to fade.
Speaking of weirdness, one can’t forget to mention the stellar performance by Julianne Moore as the film’s villain, Poppy. From her secret world in the jungle to the gruesome way she executes her foes (hamburger, anyone?), Moore adds a sense of fear and suspense that very unconventionally keeps the viewer on edge the whole entire time.
All in all, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a fantastically executed film that blows the first one out of the water — if that is even possible. If not opposed to a bit of blood, gore and slightly inappropriate jokes, then definitely be sure to check this movie out.