I have dug out my old favorite James Pringle cardigan and i love that the very first leaves are falling. Children are stomping concurs on the way home from school and soon the British canopy will come alive with Autumn varied color pallet and a crisp and crunchy carpet will cover the streets and country side. The glorious celebration of this years Spring and Summer efforts will soon start in earnest as now Autumn has begun.
Kingsman: the golden circle has been a movie that i wanted to see for a while after the stonking success of Kingsman: The secrete service, though i did approach it with caution. All us true film fans know that a sequel can always spell trouble. I was really hoping that old troupe wouldn’t be true of this one, i really was…. but i found myself disappointed.
The first movie cost £80 million to make and was done so well because i feel it had clear goals. It had a British heart that you could feel the beat of throughout the movie and the “butterfly” story of Eggsy from rags to super spy was fast, loud, apologetically funny and a pleasure to watch. So, this movie had a lot to live up to and that is part of the problem – as this movie in-spite of it’s bigger budget and being unique from the first one, is not as good.
Firstly, the first movie stood out because Samuel L Jackson played an outstanding megalomaniac villain as Valentine In the first movie and set the bar very high for this movies villain Poppy, played by Julianne Moore, to try and meet or beat and she falls so short of the mark. It’s not Moore’s acting but the writing for Poppy that let the movie down because her motives are too simple. A villains job is to make the situation they present feel hopeless unless the hero gives in and Poppy’s plan doesn’t only make the Hero’s feel hopeless at all. In fact, the President relishes in her “evil plan” as a brilliant way to make his office extremely successful.
Another problem with the villain here is the technology she uses. It is extremely advanced, even by sci-fi spy standards but it isn’t at all explained. We don’t know where it comes from, how it works, how she acquired it and got it to her hideout – a hideout that would be seen by literally ANY drone or surveillance satellite that had even basic thermal and enhanced optic visual sights attached – we are told nothing and see no more than that it works. That annoys me.
Secondly this movie falls flat in the other area that the first movie excelled in which is the action. The first movie has some slightly unbelievable moments on reflection but you don’t think that at the time of viewing. The action in KSS is incredible shot with great camera angles and amazing CGI effects and touch ups, where as this movie turned the action up to 11 and then ripped the dial off; and they shouldn’t have. They made the action sequences rather unbelievable and that spoiled my viewing. It was typical sequel squander of larger isn’t always better.
Specifically with this movie, i was all so disappointed with the story. They recycled the double agent caper from the first movie, where someone within the service agrees with the aims of the villain and by introducing the Statesmen as the American cousins of the Kingsman, i was hoping for a more significant difference in outfits than the Americans being bigger and more kitted out because they are all so a business that actually sell alcohol very successfully. I wanted more of a difference than just a more capitalist cover and admin and the fact that this was half of the turn coats motive for betrayal felt very… watered down.
I was annoyed about how they began the movie with a good solid link to the last one and that would remain a positive if only that link had remained in the movie! As the story progresses past the first act all the old ties bar finding Henry Heart are cut for the action and spy stuff to take the lead. Princess Tildy, Eggsy’s love interest is only kept relevant by making her a victim of Poppy’s plot and there is none of that strong British heart beat from the first movie and nothing to replace it either so the whole way through i had the inescapable notion that the film was missing something.
Now the President in the movie was seen in his oval office with a military adviser and his personal assistant. He was included as far as i could tell to only add urgency to the grand dilemma of the movie, stating strongly that he was going to do nothing to prevent the “bad” outcome. I appreciate that if i were American i would probably have found the idea of a President willing to sacrifice innocent American lives more shocking… but as a true Brit, i just found the scenes with these three actors underwhelming and ineffective.
Director Matthew Vaughn has produced some incredible movies including X-men first class and Kick-Ass but he said himself “I was very hesitant about making a sequel purely because so many sequels don’t really enhance the experience. They’re normally bigger but not necessarily better.”. In this case i fear he’s made the same mistakes that he did with Kick-Ass 2. This movie was bigger, state size bigger, but certainly not better.
That Other Guy