Key scenes in Kingsman: The Golden Circle filmed in Birmingham

Friday, 22 Sep, 2017

As special treat is Elton John playing a film version of himself. But the quiet can't last, not with the scheme for global drug-trade domination being hatched by kitschy, chirpy cartel boss Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore, gamely goofing on retro wifey-poo archetypes she's tackled). When the entire Kingsman network is almost wiped out within the first few minutes of the film, Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) set out on a quest to avenge the attacks. So, what do you do after creating a world in a successful franchise debut?

Looking at all of Vaughn's previous work, you can tell that he's a director who likes to use a lot of color, and color is exactly what Superman needs to come back to life. What with power players like Julianne Moore, Channing Tatum, and Michael Gambon joining in on the fun, there's sure to be some healthy competition for that superlative. Luckily, a Doomsday Protocol guides them to a similar organization in the United States called the Statesmen, which also happens to have taken in Eggsy's mentor Harry (Colin Firth) after his supposedly fatal encounter in the previous film. Now that the first movie worked, expectations were sky high with the sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

That's certainly true of the opening sequence, a positively insane chase sequence, complete with a fight in, on and around a fast-moving taxi. With the exception of Agent Whiskey, played excellently by Pedro Pascal, we see very little development of the film's key players, particularly those newly introduced. But a rehash of video-game action sequences, headshots, and dirty-jokes. that's more fitting for a pubescent lad with anger issues than a serious director like Matthew Vaughan.

If the first film drew its magic from a "My Fair Lady"-like attempt by Firth to prove breeding doesn't determine gallantness, the sequel lacks a central idea". And I'd be really intrigued to see his take on Superman.

In this sequel, characters make choices they would never have made in the first movie in order to quickly establish the new villain and team. As a matter of fact, I didn't keep track while watching, but I do believe Elton John has more screen time (or about the same) as Channing Tatum.

And therein lies the truth behind the film: in spite of its flaws, it's still a very entertaining, and often hilarious ride.

In truth, parts of Kingsman: The Golden Circle feel like a go-around and do over of the first, so if you enjoyed the puerile hyper-violent edges of the first one, it's more than likely there's plenty to enjoy here. It turned out that swearing, sex and raunchy comedy worked well in a comic book film. Right from the get go we see Eggsy having to figure his way out of a deliciously stylized auto chase/high octane fight for his life.