HOLLYWOOD—It was the sleeper hit of 2014, and a movie that totally took the spy genre and turned it on its head. Any guesses as to what film I’m referring to? None other than “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” That film’s success has spawned a sequel, “The Golden Circle,” as Randy Meeks uttered in “Scream 2:” it’s bigger, bolder and more mayhem. We see the return of breakout star Taron Egerton as Eggsy, whose life was turned upside down as a secret agent, thanks to his mentor Harry Hart (Colin Firth).
Spoiler alert: Harry was brutally killed in the first film, but the power of cinema finds a way to bring him back America. To be honest it would have been an epic twist in the film if they didn’t spoil that narrative point in the trailer and TV spots. It is indeed a convoluted twist that is hard to fathom at first, and is a big gotcha for the viewers.
This sequel is all about star-power with big time names like Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, and even the great Elton John makes a cameo appearance. I’m not certain what gives with several of the characters having names related to popular drinks, but if you don’t take the movie too seriously it works. Bridges portrays Champagne aka Champ, the leader of a top secret American intelligence agency, while Berry portrays Ginger Ale, a chemist whose intelligence outweighs her looks (hint, hint).
Tatum portrays Tequlia, and ally to Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) who are the only agents left standing after the notoriously wicked Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) decides to eliminate the Kingsman. Now, it’s rare to see an actress of Moore’s caliber indulge in the dark side, but it works so well America. Poppy’s level of eagerness and debutant persona makes her a fun villain. A character worth giving kudos to is Whiskey portrayed by Pedro Pascal, who uses a whip in ways that makes one proud and left in awe in many instances.
That is what works really real for this sequel: the action is at levels that I didn’t think an action flick could even reach. While audiences have been teased what to expect it does not compare to what is actually seen on the big screen. It’s exciting; it’s explosive, its stuff not seen before in the cinematic universe. “The Golden Circle” gives audiences precisely what they want: action, action and more action. The stunts are fun, and per usual Firth and Egerton are stellar in their respective roles.
The one issue I found with the movie is it tends to run a bit longer than needed. I tell this to people all the time, there is no reason for a flick to clock in over 150 minutes unless it’s absolutely vital to the narrative. Some films extend just a bit long and if you go back and reflect you could probably cut several scenes trimming a good 15-20 minutes from a film. I will acknowledge I would be stunned if the success of “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” doesn’t deliver another sequel with big surprises in the near future.