Editor’s Note: The grading system used here is similar to the 10-point scale used in SDSU courses.
In 2014, a sleek, action-packed spy film arrived at the February box office.
Like a well-tailored Englishman, the film was smart and packed a punch, offering an original story and enticing fight scenes. It was unusual to see such a film with its budget that was based off of mostly unknown material — a small comic series from 2012.
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” went on to gross more than $400 million worldwide, even when it opened opposite of the first “Fifty Shades” film.
The sequel, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” makes it clear that it’s not easy to produce the same magic twice. The film is no doubt stylish and fun, but it misses the mark at being an intellectual, emotional experience.
The first flick had a stellar cast of actors in its leading roles: Colin Firth, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson and newcomer Taron Egerton. This sequel adds an overwhelming amount of talent: Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and Halle Berry join the original cast.
The entire cast does a brilliant job with their characters. However, the film’s focus gets whiplash trying to cover all the new characters as well as reunite audiences with the original cast.
“The Golden Circle” also comes up short with its narrative, seeming to copy the exact same story of the first film: stopping an evil organization, The Golden Circle, from killing innocent people across the globe.
Led by trigger-happy drug lord Poppy (Julianne Moore), the organization acts as the world’s largest drug cartel. Poppy threatens to kill millions with her product unless they are all legalized in the U.S. and the war on drugs ends. Naturally, the Kingsman Secret Service rises to stop her.
This narrative does offer an interesting conversation about the war on drugs and the responsibility government leaders have to protect their citizens. But, overall, the narrative is silly and plays more like a Saturday morning cartoon.
The film also opts to bring agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) back from the dead, but with amnesia — I guess to prove there are actually consequences in these films. But the challenge to regain his memory only hinders his character and I became quickly bored with this narrative.
I came to this film to follow the original characters from the first film, and it does deliver in this respect. Taron Egerton does another great job as the leading role and I had the most fun watching his performance.
While they definitely aren’t as impressive or inventive as those in the first film, the action scenes in “The Golden Circle” are engaging and will hold your attention, even when the story doesn’t.
Is it worth a trip to the theater?
Sadly, no. This sequel is more of a rental. But, if you’re looking for a fun, mindless time at the theater or if you were a fan of the first film, this one might be for you. Just don’t expect the same magic that made the first movie so memorable.
Ian Lack is a reporter at The Collegian and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.