Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Starring Taron Egerton, Edward Holcroft, Mark Strong, Hanna Alström, Julianne Moore, Colin Firth, Michael Gambon, Sophie Cookson, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Elton John, Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal, Poppy Delevingne, Bruce Greenwood, and Emily Watson
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Written by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn
Runtime: 141 minutes
Rating: 14A for coarse language, genre violence and sexual content
Now playing at Cineplex Odeon North Edmonton and Scotiabank Theatre
Manners still maketh man, and especially in the company of women. That’s something I’ve learned not just in my personal life but it’s a point that has become illustrated quite vividly in the new film release called Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
As much as 2015’s Kingsman was about defending the world while not losing one’s gentlemanly demeanor, this year’s sequel is as much about protecting millions of innocents while still upholding the cherished bonds of a devoted relationship. While the eternally confirmed bachelor superspy James Bond could bed any woman he wanted at any time sans romance, our contemporary hero – the much more relatable, more capable, and certainly more debonair superspy Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton) – is now fully committed to his true love, Crown Princess Tilde of Sweden (Hanna Alström). Kingsmen-1, Bond-0.
First of all, one of the things that makes me love this series so much is that Eggsy is a guy who moved on up from the wrong side of the tracks, not some dapper dan in a three-piece suit who never orders a stirred martini. How gauche. But Eggsy (a bloke who never utters more than two sentences before he calls someone ‘bruv’) makes a very distinct impression as a man of the people, especially working class Londoners with a bit of a cockney twang to them. These movies are the gender switched version of My Fair Lady, but with Eliza Doolittle as a male martial artist master of gunplay and spy gadgetry.
As this movie begins, it’s been a year since Eggsy first saved the world and won Tilde’s love. As good as things might be going, he gets ambushed by a bad guy. This leads to a thrilling fight and car chase, which leads to a renegade agency infiltrating Kingsman, which leads to all of its agents and bases, including HQ and the tailor shop on Saville Row, being completely destroyed by a co-ordinated large-scale missile attack, which leads to him and fellow survivor Merlin (Mark Strong) having to join up with the American counterpart organization called Statesman.
James Bond is boring and antiquated by comparison.
The second thing that I love about these movies is that the action is very modern, very fast-paced, and very fun. The fight scenes are ridiculously choreographed with robot arms and electrified whips and ballet-like kicks that make even Colin Firth or Elton John look like pros. That said, they are visually a bit jarring. Everything is like an adrenalized combination of The Italian Job, Desperado and John Wick with the snarky humour that’s just as cheeky as anything you’d get from 007 but with a bit more graphic novel content to keep it fresh enough for younger audiences.
It’s the pacing and the style that keep audience members on the edges of their seats; the story and the humour are what keep them rocking back and forth. It’s this kind of great storytelling that make you hardly notice the clock running precipitously near the 2-hour-30 mark.
And speaking of rocking around the clock, the soundtrack is filled with raucous party tunes that might be a bit loud but they do add tremendously to the cinematic value of the show. If you weren’t struggling to stay in your seat already, putting Prince or Sir Elton or even a countrified line-dancing version of Cameo’s funky 1986 track Word Up (by German group BossHoss no less) will certainly make you want to jump up to bust a dance move.
Try comparing that to the much-ballyhooed but utterly dreary theme songs that James Bond movies drone out. They’ll make you go to sleep.
Count me in as a Kings-fan. These flicks might be completely ridiculous, but they’re also ridiculously awesome, fresh and fun.