Manners Maketh Man. The Kingsman films may be a parody of 007, but this sequel somehow misses the plot entirely.
The first film came by as quite a surprise for many of us. It rocked charismatic leads (who would’ve foreseen an action star in Colin Firth), a cute plot that didn’t take itself too seriously, good music and stunning action sequences.
Naturally, we can expect a sequel, one which turns the dial up to eleven to deliver even more of what came before. Unfortunately, some sequels often trip over and shift into the realm of the ridiculous and excessive. That’s sadly where the Golden Circle finds itself.
Suspend your disbelief
The plot sounds over the top. Then again, we don’t go into parodies expecting the rebirth of a genre; they play on conventions to reign in the laughs.
The entire Kingsman organisation is wiped out by the Golden Circle, a drug cartel that conveniently has missiles that fly across the world and can destroy just about anything. More amazingly, they've managed to monopolise the drug scene on a global scale and deal just about any puff you find on the streets. These drugs are then weaponised to hold all abusers hostage by literally paralysing then killing them. The ransom: legalisation of all drugs in the USA.
Remaining survivors include Eggsy and Merlin. Left with no friends, they find an emergency bottle which leads them to their transatlantic cousins, aptly called Statesmen, for refuge and help.
English meeting Americans; we love a good cultural clash. Mr Bean did it. 007 did it. Every genre’s pretty much done it. It ought to pave way for some pretty witty comedy, or banter at least. Strangely, there’s none of that here. Introducing us to the Statesmen serves little purpose other than to appeal to a wider audience. In fact, the Statesmen in the film are literally taken out of the film as casually as they arrived, with prominent characters put into cryostasis, relegated to the sidelines or killed off not long after being introduced. You wonder what the whole point is.
As anticipated, we are reunited with Harry (Colin Firth) in a similar vein to Kay’s restoration in Men in Black 2. Well, of course we do, Harry’s a big part of the reason why the first film was adored in the first place.
A few things hinder his success in the Golden Circle - Harry gets few, if any, interesting lines throughout the whole film. He seems completely out of place as events unfold, and lacks any of the enthusiasm and charisma that was present in the first outing.
*Spoiler alert* One scene clearly demonstrates Harry’s lack of direction in the film: Eggsy revealing he has a girlfriend. Despite it being forbidden under Kingsman protocol, Harry showed no struggle, simply assuring him that having someone to love was what life was all about (or something cheesy like that). Sure, it's the kind of thing you say after some thought, but here, protocol seems more than easy to waiver, which is extremely uncharacteristic of Harry.