Vaughn and his co-writer Jane Goldman pile on big action set pieces not so much because they're necessary but simply because they can, yielding diminishing returns after the initial adrenaline rush.
Needless to say, it's all over the place when it comes to plot, tone and general goofiness.
This time around, Eggsy (a charming yet still ruffian-round-the-edges Taron Egerton) is back and facing more peril after the secret Kingsman organisation he works for is blown off the face of the earth by a Martha Stewartesque, 50s-loving drug lord Poppy (a strong turn from Julianne Moore, who pitches the film more on welcome eccentric villainy than ham).
The Golden Circle picks up exactly a year from the events of the first film. Villainous drug cartel queenpin Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore, having plenty of fun) takes out almost every other Kingsman agent in a series of targeted attacks, leaving only Eggsy and tech guru Merlin (Mark Strong) to pick up the pieces.
The Golden Circle is revealed once its worldwide drug lord leader Poppy (Julianne Moore) launches a diabolical plan to kill millions of recreational drug users with a lethal product strain, unless world leaders like the US president (Bruce Greenwood) are willing to legalize all hard drugs.
"Because Elton's in the movie, I came up with the gag of 'Wednesday night's alright for fighting", Vaughn said, referencing the parody poster that accompanied Elton John's casting acknowledgement in May, "and I was thinking, a lot of people aren't gonna understand when he does that". You get the same overused cliché slow motion, the cartoonish villain and the overlong run time of nearly two hours and fifteen minutes. Put it down to a chronic case of amnesia, which Harry contracted when he was shot in the head (and presumed dead) at the end of the last movie. Huge surprise for me! Unfortunately, this is as good as The Golden Circle is ever going to get.
The movie released this Friday to mixed reviews, with many claiming that though the sequel amps up the zaniness of the first movie, it lacks the energy and the fun of its predecessor. The action is easy to follow, highly entertaining and equally satisfying, but nothing to replace that of the church scene from the first.
A new clip from "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" offers a cool introduction to Channing Tatum's character Agent Tequila. It felt like he got back to his roots in both the director's chair and also in the writing of the script. It would have largely benefitted the film if scenes like this had given way for more time to develop the film's key characters. He's really turned into one of my favorite actors because of the off-the-wall roles he chooses.
Amusing thing. I was thinking just the other day I was overdue to hear Elton John's Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting on a movie soundtrack again.
As far as I've deciphered, the point of Bond movies - and all of the spy franchises they begat, including Kingsman - is that they're supposed to be fun, supposed to revel in how being an global man of mystery is just so cool.