Kings­man: the golden cir­cle

Scram­bled Eg­gsy…

Total Film - - Contents - Matt May­tum

Does the spy se­quel glit­ter?

CER­TIFI­CATE 15 DI­REC­TOR Matthew vaughn STAR­RING taron eger­ton, colin Firth, Ju­lianne Moore, chan­ning ta­tum, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges SCREEN­PLAY Jane gold­man, Matthew vaughn DIS­TRIB­U­TOR 20th cen­tury Fox RUN­NING TIME 141 mins

Ase­quel to 2014’s Kings­man: The Se­cret Ser­vice was an in­evitable but wel­come prospect. Af­ter all, that film did for spies what Kick-Ass did for comic-book su­per­heroes, and raked in more than $400m world­wide. Di­rec­tor Matthew Vaughn and writer Jane Gold­man ad­hered only loosely to Mark Mil­lar’s comic source ma­te­rial first time out, and here they have free rein to go in which­ever di­rec­tion they want.

It’s a shame then that it’s played so safe, lack­ing the edge that made the first film me­morable. It starts well enough, with a deliriously OTT scrap in­side a Lon­don cab, as Eg­gsy (Taron Eger­ton) fends off a fa­mil­iar as­sailant. In­ven­tively shot and breath­lessly paced, it’s an en­er­gis­ing opening that’s

brim­ming with Bond-turned-up-to-11 gusto, swag­ger and gad­getry. There are a cou­ple more brash set-pieces to en­joy later, but it’s a while be­fore the pace picks up again, and the main plot­line – our hero is forced to go rogue when a crime syn­di­cate tar­gets his fel­low Kings­men – is the well-trod­den ter­rain of re­cent 007 and Ethan Hunt mis­sions.

Team­ing up with Kings­man’s tech sup­port, Mer­lin (Mark Strong, ev­er­re­li­able), Eg­gsy fol­lows a clue that leads him to a whiskey dis­tillery in the American South, a front for the US-equiv­a­lent of Kings­man. Led by Jeff Bridges’ Champ and Chan­ning Ta­tum’s Tequila, the States­men are a wel­come ad­di­tion to the fold, though it’s hard not to mask the im­pres­sion that Bridges and Ta­tum were only avail­able for a cou­ple of days’ shoot­ing. It’s through the States­men that Eg­gsy dis­cov­ers his pre­sumed-dead former men­tor, Harry Hart (Colin Firth), seem­ingly alive and well. The role fits Firth like a made-to-mea­sure Ox­ford shoe, but the man­ner of his re­turn is a bit of a letdown, given the se­crecy that has sur­rounded it. It’s an­other ‘too safe’ mo­ment in a film that should have taken more risks.

Ju­lianne Moore is great fun as Poppy, a drug king­pin – Vaughn de­scribes her as “Martha Ste­wart on crack” – holed up in an Amer­i­canastyled lair in the Cam­bo­dian jun­gle. But her mas­ter­plan stretches credulity in this comic-book world’s in­ter­nal logic. Nab­bing the big­gest laughs of all is a very well-de­ployed El­ton John. Mer­ci­fully, this is one se­quel that hasn’t gone darker. The cast uni­formly emit full-beam charm, so it’s never a chore to be in their com­pany.

More prob­lem­atic is the lack of any real arc this time around. The lad-tolord tran­si­tion of the first film is sorely missed, as is the con­trast be­tween Eg­gsy’s work­ing-class back­ground and the high­fa­lutin Se­cret Ser­vice. The Transat­lantic team-up just doesn’t of­fer the same zing. As a re­sult,

The Golden Cir­cle of­ten feels pre­cisely tai­lored when it should’ve been cut a lit­tle looser.


Fun, fleet­ing entertainment if you’re af­ter more of the same, but fails to carve out any fresh ground.

The gad­gets im­pressed, but the cam­ou­flage needed work…

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