“Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle” Review

*minor spoiler alert*

If you’ve ever walked into a movie theatre, sat down, and wondered what the hell was going on but thoroughly enjoyed it, then “Kingsman 2: Golden Circle” is probably the movie for you. A bizarre, almost ludicrously unbelievable plot and a cast filled with household names, “Kingsman” certainly doesn’t disappoint if you suspend all cynicism and disbelief at the popcorn stand. I, however, did not, and had some issues with it.

For instance, the character of Galahad. If you’ve watched the first “Kingsman” movie, you’ll remember that Harry Hart a.k.a Galahad a.k.a Colin Firth is suspected to be dead, and the film ends on a fairly tragic note to suitably mourn his loss.

Fast-forward a year, and now the good old working-class bloke Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton) has assumed his allegedly deceased mentor’s identity. He’s done it all – saved the world and got the girl and now owns a massive house in London replete with state-of-the-art technology – as in weapons that could potentially cause a lot of harm.

Which brings us to my other issue with the movie. Eggsy is good-looking, which makes for good entertainment, but is lacking character depth and development throughout the movie. Perhaps this was intentional on the director’s part, but he comes off as an impostor who accidentally saved the world with his charm and overdone blue-collar wit under the mentorship of the more impressive Harry. Hard to hate, but hard to be impressed by. It’s a good underdog story that’s been milked far too much.

Cue several shenanigans and the startling discovery that Harry is actually alive, and we find ourselves kicked straight out of London and into the middle of Kentucky. Yes, Kentucky. The location, although random, somehow worked. It was different enough from the grey, wet streets of London’s cul-de-sacs which made for a welcome scene change.

Oh, yeah, there’s also a super creepy villain named Poppy Adams, played by Julianne Moore, who’s basically a richer, more preppy Alex Vauss of this movie because she’s a multibillionaire drug lord who runs the global drug trade out of her faux 1950s Americana-styled hideout in the middle of nowhere in Cambodia.

She turns out to have hijacked all drug users’ immune systems with a rapidly spreading fatal virus that gives them a so-called blue rash. What does she do next? You guessed it – she broadcasts her demands for political immunity on live television, thrilling the fictional President of the United States (POTUS) because all the drug addicts are eliminated without a single dollar of taxpayer money spent. He’s beat the War on Drugs in a couple of days. The POTUS could be seen as a social critique of Trump since many Americans view him as someone who doesn’t care about who his policies affect.

Poppy’s whole spiel about being a female drug dealer comes off as very murder-kitsch – she’s giggly but bloodthirsty. She’s pretty but unhinged and perfectly poised. She enunciates every single word properly with grace and flair. She also kidnaps Elton John.

If the goal was to create a realistic villain, then the film definitely fails in this aspect. Moore comes across as a suburban soccer mom playing at being Hannibal Lecter. She dresses up in almost painfully bright pastel, conjuring the impression of innocence, which is a stark contrast to how she ruthlessly murders her henchman. She literally forces his friend to throw him into a meat grinder and then makes him eat the hamburger made of former henchman’s meat.

This could have gone better but it felt like the directors were playing off the cliche of the beautiful evil female villain who’s crazy and deranged unlike her male counterparts in film – terrible, true, but sane.

Meanwhile, the London chap Eggsy is busy trying to seduce a girl to save the world. But he really doesn’t want to. As he promises his girlfriend, it’s just a byproduct of having a job that involves doing heroic things. I don’t want to give away everything, but this felt like a gratuitous scene where Eggsy reluctantly sexually pursues a conventionally attractive blond woman, which could have been much more tastefully done. There is definitely an uncomfortable objectification of the woman. She’s solely there to provide eye candy to the men in the audience, and the upskirt shot of her seems more perverse than cinematic mastery.

Anyway, the hero Eggsy eventually manages to do very well for himself by winning back the girl and saving the world. He also gets rid of Poppy in the process and several other characters (but I’ll leave you to find that out for yourselves.) Very entertaining, fairly good-looking cast, and a smattering of well-timed comic banter altogether makes for a pretty enjoyable evening. Just don’t expect the laws of common sense to apply, and you’ll enjoy the movie much more. 

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