I’ve found, over decades of watching movies, that films boasting non-stop action are often not so exciting once you’ve shelled out your $12. If you promise me explosions, cars somersaulting through the air, or monsters grappling on the streets of a major city, I’m anticipating having my face blown clear off of my head.
Sometimes, trailers like to turn my internet browser into a house of lies. Examples that come to mind: Pacific Rim, Battle L.A., Transformers II and IV, Sucker Punch, and Fifty Shades of Grey.
Then, there are trailers that deliver what they promise. Movies like Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, and Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Oops! Did I name all Matthew Vaughn movies? Do you know why I did that? Because he and his go-to stunt coordinator, Bradley James Allen, are like the Steven Spielberg and John Williams of the genre. They know how to blow your hair back, and Kingsman: The Golden Circle is no different.
Golden Circle picks up a year after Galahad (Colin Firth) involuntarily and violently retired, with Eggsy (Taron Egerton) taking over his role. When he’s attacked in front of the titular storefront by former Kingsman intern, Charlie (Edward Holcroft), Eggsy narrowly escapes and, in classic Kingsman style, shakes off the ambush in order to make dinner with his girlfriend, Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström), and her parents.
Meanwhile, the world’s most powerful drug lord, Poppy (Julianne Moore) — living on her own 50s movie-style compound complete with its own diner, salon, and theater — has some pretty dreadful plans. Masquerading as a pharmaceuticals company by the name of The Golden Circle, Poppy has the junkies of the world wrapped around her warped, sadistic little finger. After wiping out Kingsman HQ, she’ll have the leverage she needs to make some demands.
The only surviving members, Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) follow Doomsday Protocol, jetting them stateside to a bourbon whiskey distillery called Statesman. After getting rocked by a southern charmer with a big gun who goes by Tequila (Channing Tatum), they learn that Statesman is an American organization much like their own.
Statesman head, Champagne (Jeff Bridges), briefs the team on the Golden Circle business and pairs them up with agent Whiskey (Pedro Pascal). Tequila was supposed to join them, but comes down with something and is left under Ginger Ale’s (Halle Berry) careful watch. While showcasing her prowess in tech support, she remains oppressively behind-the-scenes. The guys will need to reach Poppy’s undisclosed whereabouts to basically save the world. Obviously.
Golden Circle was the most fun I’ve had at the theater since Baby Driver and Free Fire before that. It’s rife with savagery both in combat and dialogue in the best way possible. This installment of Kingsman is impressively witty and comes chockablock with white-knuckle fighting, out-of-nowhere absurdity, and a script that would make any screenwriter swoon.
Based on the characters from The Secret Service comics written by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, Golden Circle gives new life to the Kingsman franchise. I, unlike some other Chicago based critics, understand and appreciate that the movie thrives on outlandish bloodshed and whimsical satire.
If Golden Circle is any indication of things to come, writers Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman should just never part. The screenplay — coupled with brilliant cinematography, of course — makes a 2 hour and 21 minute runtime feel like half of that and leaves you wanting more.
And, not that it needs to be said, but the cast is an absolute treat. Nobody plays a sociopath quite like Julianne Moore.
Best of all, as your resident score junkie, I was over the moon that Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson came back to compose for this installment. Though they aren’t niche composers, but they do have one helluva a knack.
I’m thrilled that this movie is hitting theaters and everyone can go see it. It’s one of my favorite movies of the year and meant to be seen in Dolby. If you’re heading to the theater to see it this weekend, you might just see me there since I’ll be seeing it at least twice more before it leaves the big screen. I’ll be the girl in the “TARON EGERTON IS A BABE” t-shirt. See you at the movies!