Friday, 13 October 2017

Review: Kingsman - The Golden Circle (second-pass)

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (second-pass / SPOILERS)
Cert: 15 / 141 mins / Dir. Matthew Vaughn / Trailer

Having left Matthew Vaughn's follow-up spy caper to breathe for a couple of weeks, I found that my enthusiasm for the sequel wasn't diminished exactly, but I didn't really get anything 'more' out of re-watching (in much the same way as the film doesn't really add anything more to the first movie), especially with the more critical eye that a second-pass always brings.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is far too long; not necessarily in run-time, but in the sheer number of 'boss battles' in the third-act. Taron Egerton and Colin Firth only really succeed here by building on the character foundations of The Secret Service, whereas Julianne Moore is doing her damnedest to pour two pints into a role which can only hold one. And Mark Strong can barely speak in that Scottish accent, let alone sing in it*1. The film is frequently derivative not only of itself*2, but also of other works in the superhero genre*3 from which it borrows, stylistically*4. The gender politics are still broadly worrying given the female input at the screenwriting stage*5, and the script's approach to arbitrarily killing off characters becomes an emotional anaesthetic in the first act*6.

But I still enjoyed the hell out of it. The Golden Circle does a lot of things it really doesn't need to, but I don't believe it does anything it shouldn't...

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
The film-makers are banking on you having watched and enjoyed the first Kingsman movie.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
If you can, do.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
The film doesn't aim particularly high, so pretty much yeah.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
It's not.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
I won't.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There is, it's buried in shootout outside the diner.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: This film's got a Stormtrooper and a Resistance Trooper from out of The Force Awakens in it.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Alongside Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Merlin's exit here ranks as the year's most needless third-act sacrifice.
[ BACK ]

*2 Using drugs as tampered-with conusumer-products is effectively a criminalised equivalent of the SIM cards from the first movie, especially when the film then starts pleading the moral innocence of casual users. [ BACK ]

*3 This is a superhero movie, but with spies in it. Nothing wrong with that, but that's what it is. [ BACK ]

*4 In addition to point one, the 'mass hostage' angle is a fairly direct play on Tim Burton's 1989 Batman with the Joker holding Gotham's citizens to ransom using compromised toiletries and cleaning products. And it's not as if an ally from a first installment has never come back in the sequel, brainwashed by an enemy organisation and with a cybernetic arm. Surprised they didn't call him The Summer Soldier... [ BACK ]

*5 While it's become the elephant in the room elsewhere, I think 'the tent scene' with Eggsy and Clara is just unnecessary, rather than outright malicious. It's certainly no worse than many of Bond's bedroom moments, even if it's more direct in its approach. But since the sequence only serves to demonstrate that Eggsy is genuinely committed to Tilde, it's a long and arbitrary way of doing so. All Clara herself there for is to provide a tracking-link to the secret lab in the Italian Alps (where she's later killed on a whim anyway). That could have been sourced a hundred other ways; no-one had to get fingered for Poppy's base in Cambodia to be finally located... [ BACK ]

*6 We don't really see people actually dying in Poppy's multiple missile-strikes of course, but since Harry previously took an on-screen shot to the eye and still came back, the dramatic weight of the bloodless UK assault is reduced to more or less nothing. If Harry can be resurrected, so can Roxy who we only saw legging it off the bed as the missile approached. Lead-lined fridge for the threequel, anyone? [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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