Kingsman: The Golden Circle (R)

Co-written and directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Taron Egerton and Mark Strong, the much anticipated Kingsman: The Golden Circle hits theaters today. With their headquarters destroyed, the British spies discover an allied spy organization in the US. These two organizations band together to defeat a common enemy.

Full disclosure: My expectations for this installment were lowered upon seeing the cast on a huge board at a movie theater a couple of weeks ago.  I wasn’t feeling the move across the pond to America and a couple of the costars raised red flags about the level of “cheesiness” I was in for.

I saw Kingsman: The Secret Service for the first time about two weeks ago and enjoyed it. I wasn’t reviewing movies in 2014, but I would have said it earned a solid 8 out of 10 bloops. The Golden Circle didn’t “wow” me as much as The Secret Service.  It wasn’t as “fresh,” naturally.  It also had a lot to accomplish – like reaching back into the first story to meld the two together so that certain events make sense and setting up future installments – all while telling a cohesive, interesting, focused, action-packed story. Because of this, the story was inconsistently successful.

The writing is fine (as in okay).  There were a few lines that descended into crudeness, but such is America.  Some of the bits got stale after a while, but I still laughed out loud at times, along with most everyone else. The political theme gets a bit heavy handed and takes away from the movie’s sense of fun. There was a good balance to the action/adventure/comedy, and The Secret Service was weaved into the story well.  There are some surprises that fans will enjoy (or hate).  As far as the action goes, there’s plenty of it with great stunts, choreography and camera work, and it never gets too gory.  The music is entertaining.  I started to see it in IMAX and I’m glad I didn’t.  As much as I love high quality sound, my ears cannot take the volume at times.  (And not that I don’t love it, but if I hear that John Denver song in a movie one more time this year… This is the sixth movie this year. Let’s not wear it out, shall we?)

The Golden Circle feels over-directed at times in an attempt to make an already “edgy” movie even more so. Some characters are meant to be exaggerated, but too many become cartoonish caricatures of themselves – and not in a particularly good way. Also, when a movie starts out with such amazing, fast paced action and the audience is immediately pulled in, it is difficult to maintain that level of interest throughout 2 hours and 21 minutes. For me it ran a little long, but to be fair, I went to the first show after a night of terrible insomnia – so that very well could have been the cause of my restlessness.

The acting was good. I understand it’s not “the theatre” or anything, but some cast members didn’t fit their role and it just felt forced and unconvincing at times.  Taron Eigerton did a great job of giving us glimpses of the younger, less confident, more vulnerable Eggsy who won us over in the first installment.  Even with some silly and overdrawn plot points, Eggsy manages to keep this ship afloat.

Kingsman: Golden Circle earned 7.5 out of 10 bloops.  It’s a good movie worth seeing on the big screen for the action/choreography/camerawork. It’s a good, mindless, mostly fun, popcorn and/or nachos movie.  The Golden Circle has served its purpose; it has bridged the old and the new, and will make fans look forward to Kingsman 3.  I cannot speak for anyone else, but I’m in.  Hopefully we can all move forward now and the third movie will have a stand-alone story.  If you’re a fan, I believe you will enjoy it.

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1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

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 What I’m seeing next…

The Glass Castle – I already saw it.  It is terrific, but I just didn’t finish the review yet.  It will be up shortly.  If you have a chance to catch it before it leaves theaters please do. Woody Harrelson is ah-may-zing.

Battle of the Sexes

Victoria and Abdul

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Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

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