Kingsman 2 The Golden Circle review

"Even approached with the watered-down expectations that one brings to a late-September Hollywood sequel, Matthew Vaughn's bespoke secret-agent follow-up is massively disappointing", wrote Entertainment Weekly's Chris Nashawaty. Thanks to the miracle of cutting edge technology - and the bottomless Deco travel budget - Chris has this report from across the pond.

THE SKINNY: After the Kingsman HQ is mysteriously destroyed, surviving agents Eggsy (Egerton) and Merlin's (Strong) search for answers lead them to the Statesman, the brash American cousins to the Kingsman's Arthurian society.

I know what you're thinking. It's been a few years but they're back with a sequel: Kingsman: the Golden Circle. Still, this fleet-footed, glibly imaginative global romp stays on its toes and keeps its wits about it most of the time, with entertaining and pointedly USA -friendly cast additions that should provide an uptick from the $414 million raked in worldwide by 'Kingsman: "The Secret Service'".

Firth has been a life-long fan of Elton, 70, and has revealed he had begged him to appear in the first movie so was delighted when he accepted a part in the second installment. "I didn't have anything to compare it to, so I don't want to sound above my station, but I felt when we were making it that there was something quite exciting about it".

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Continuing to track the adventures of young British spy Eggsy (Taron Egerton), the sequel to the 2015 hit Kingsman: the Secret Service adds plenty of high-profile newcomers in Channing Tatum, Julianne Moore, and Halle Berry, but is being deemed "bloated", "lazy", and "not strong on brains or heart". They're out to foil a dastardly plot by drug baroness Poppy (Julianne Moore), the leader of the Golden Circle cartel. Normally when I edit, stuff that's not good enough just gets cut out and it's pretty quick to get down to a manageable length. The first Kingsman ended with a tease, we just didn't realise it.

Chris Van Vliet: "Is it fun being bad?" More than that, it's dispiriting - a too campy, tonally schizophrenic barrage of idiotic plot twists, wasted star cameos, and over-the-top gags that aren't almost as entertaining as their creators think they are.

EMPIREAs ultraviolent as the first film, and as ultrasmutty, The Golden Circle will leave the Kingsfans grinning, even if its characters have less growing to do this time around. He is still grappling with the death of his mentor, Colin Firth's Agent Galahad, but he honors him by using Galahad as his handle. "He wanted that to be real and that to be the fate of that character".

Like the record-breaking Stephen King adaption, Kingsman: The Golden Circle seems perfectly suited for a summer release.

  • Michelle Webb