Kingsman: The Golden Circle, directed by Matthew Vaughn, is a loud, crass, childish, empty film that by the end had me completely bored by everything it had to offer. This is the type of film where it tries to fill the screen with seemingly interesting or exciting content, but if you look at it closely (to be honest you don’t have to look that close) you realise just how little this film actually gives itself to work with. I was utterly bored by the end of this film and couldn’t wait for it to be over. But why was that the case? Where did it go wrong to make this the case? Let’s explore those questions and more in my review.
When the Kingsman headquarters are destroyed, Eggsy – played by Taron Egerton – and Merlin – played by Mark Strong – turn to their American counterparts, The Statesman, for assistance. They uncover a world threatening plot lead by, Poppy – played by Juliane Moore – too see all drugs legalised and if they are not, anyone who has used them will suffer the side effects of her globally distributed drugs and will die. Long lost allies will return; new allies will be gained and who can truly be trusted will be questioned, but the safety of the world is at stake and heroic action must be enacted.
I feel I need to be upfront and point out that I did not like the first Kingsman film. I found it to be a loud, overblown mess. So as you can imagine, I didn’t have high expectations for The Golden Circle. Well, I was not expecting the film to come in even lower than my initial expectations for it but it did. At 2 hours and 20 minutes, this film can best be described as a big, dull, empty mess; one that failed to grab my attention in the beginning and then throughout.
In fact, the film turned me off almost immediately. Its headache inducing action and its soundtrack that blasted through the speakers and somehow made me recoil at the brilliance that is Prince. I knew from the opening and how unnecessary it was in almost every respect, that it was going to be a long two plus hours.
This film felt like it was handled by 12-year olds. I mean that in terms of multiple facets of the film. The most obvious way in which it comes off feeling like that is in its approach to much of its content. Having to finger a girl so as to get a tracker in her bloodstream (which is not a sentence I thought I’d ever be writing) is a plot point that the films spends a gross amount of time on; actually, there are many plot points the film needlessly focuses on and all it did was add to the runtime of the film – there seemed to be an inability to edit. Apparently the first cut of the film came in at 3 hours and 40 minutes and I can’t even begin to imagine just how much more unnecessary and poorly handled stuff there must have been.
It really feels like a group of people sat around throwing out crazy ideas for set-pieces or plot points etc. and then they didn’t realise that they didn’t need to put them all in. A villain obsessed with the 50’s and so her bad guy layer is made to look like the time period, oh but she also has robot dogs and she kidnapped Elton John and is forcing him to play music for her and she’s also the most prolific drug lord in the world. That’s just one aspect of the film that is just overloaded with silly bling that has no actual real point to it other than its wacky and cool to look at (or it thinks that it’s cool and wacky).
The whole film is like that: lots of shiny, wacky things that look cool on the surface but have no actual substance or meaning to them. I cannot stress it enough: This is an empty film that fills the screen with loud, unsightly nonsense.
The lack of direction; the lack of coherence in anything, caused me to be completely detached from this film, pretty early on. I couldn’t keep up with all the noise and frankly and I didn’t want to after a certain point. I was never given a reason to care or invest in anyone or anything. The film would move carelessly from moment to moment; not seeming to care about what it had just done or what it was setting up to do next. It seemed instead I was supposed to shut my brain off and let the film assault it, but for me, that’s the sign of a film that has failed, and so I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.
Really good actors like: Julianne Moore, Colin Firth, Channing Tatum, even Michael Gambon are totally wasted. Each of them is wasted in their own personal way and I don’t think I ever found myself gravitating to one in particular, as they were the only one who stood out and had something enjoyable to offer. They, like everything else, are lost in the stupidity and the noise. Even Taron Egerton who I found to be a charming, enjoyable leading star in the first one was swallowed up and felt to be lacking anything that made him noticeable in the first.
It’s frustrating because Matthew Vaughn is a talented director. But for me, he seems like a director who is afraid of letting a moment breathe or letting genuine sincerity make its way into a scene. Everything has to lead to a punchline; everything has to be in your face, screaming for you to notice how clever and quirky it is. It simply becomes tiring, and it’s able to cause that reaction worryingly fast. I have enjoyed some of his earlier films; X-Men: First Class, because it felt like a film with some actual heart and purpose and, Layer Cake because it’s a film that blends its style with a compelling central character. But, The Golden Circle has none of those qualities (actually, it has no qualities at all). It just seemed to throw any and every idea it had at the wall and hoped some would stick.
When I look at the film’s plot, for example, I can see under all the distractions, a story that is simple and easy to make interesting. But because of all the other things the film forces itself to juggle, it gets lost in the madness. As do all of the characters. I mean, pretty much everything gets lost in the madness of everything else. They all crash down upon one another and end up causing everything to sink into underdeveloped obscurity. Everything ends up feeling wasted or annoying and nothing is ever able to poke its head out from the rabble and let itself be heard.
I continue to enjoy the world building of the Kingsman films but that isn’t enough to sustain my interest. And I also think Vaughn is great at constructing and shooting fun, inventive action set-pieces. But of course, he diminishes them by filling them with too much. They either go on for too long or there’s a distracting soundtrack playing over them or he insists on harsh camera movements that make the scenes nauseating after a while. There’s simply nothing in these film that ever gets the chance to exist and shine in a way that makes it worth it.
By the end of this film, I was sat there in my chair completely desensitised to whatever was happening on-screen and simply wanting the film to be over (but it seemingly just kept going). Apart from a few very minor things in this film, I did not like or enjoy anything that I sat through. Boredom and frustration were the dominating states of mind for me when watching it and that’s never the head-space you want to be in.
I am NOT recommending Kingsman: The Golden Circle. At this point, I feel I’ve bashed this film enough, so I’ll simply finish up with by stressing how much you should not see this film. It’s not worth it.
I’d be interested to know what you thought of the film and my review, so please leave any opinions, feedback etc. in the comments section down below. I’d love it if you would give both my blog and my Twitter – @GavinsRamblings – a follow. But I’ll finish up now by saying thank you for reading my review and I hope you return.