Kingsman: The Golden Circle

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

A year has passed since Eggsy Unwin and the spy organisation Kingsman saved the world from Richmond Valentine’s neurological wave broadcast, and he has since taken his late mentor Harry Hart’s title of “Galahad” and is living with Crown Princess Tilde of Sweden. One day, on his way home, he is ambushed by Charlie Hesketh, a former Kingsman trainee who lost his arm and vocal cords to the explosive microchip that was triggered during the Valentine incident. Eggsy loses Charlie and his henchmen in a car chase across London, but Charlie’s severed cybernetic arm hacks into the Kingsman servers through the car’s computer system. While Eggsy dines with Princess Tilde and her parents in Sweden, a volley of missiles destroy the Kingsman headquarters and wipe out Roxy and all of the Kingsman agents in Britain.

Being the only surviving agents, Eggsy and Merlin follow the Doomsday protocol, which leads them to “Statesman”, a secret American organisation posing as a Bourbon whiskey distillery in Kentucky. There, they discover that Harry survived the gunshot by Valentine a year earlier, but is suffering from amnesia. Eggsy and Merlin are briefed by Statesman head, Champagne, about a secret terrorist organisation called “The Golden Circle” and start their mission by following Charlie’s ex-girlfriend Clara Von Gluckfberg. When Statesman agent Tequila develops blue rashes, he is replaced by agent Whiskey as Eggsy’s partner. Eggsy manages to plant a tracking device inside Clara, but his revelation of his mission to Princess Tilde strains their relationship. After several failed attempts to cure Harry’s amnesia, Eggsy brings in a Yorkshire Terrier puppy that resembles Harry’s late dog Mr. Pickle and threatens to shoot it, triggering the return of Harry’s memories.

Poppy Adams, head of world’s largest drug cartel posing as a pharmaceutical company, broadcasts a message telling the world about a toxin she laced within every recreational drug available, which causes users to, at the first stage, develop blue rashes before progressing through mania, and then paralysis and ultimately, death. She also demonstrates the antidote on a captive Elton John and offers it to the world if the President of the United States ends his country’s War on Drugs and makes her organisation immune to all convictions. The President decides to take advantage of the situation to kill every junkie in the world and has every affected user quarantined, including his Chief of Staff, Fox. Eggsy, Harry, and Whiskey head to the antidote factory in Italy after intercepting a phone call to Charlie by Clara. Eggsy manages to steal an antidote sample, but it is broken by Whiskey during an ambush by The Golden Circle’s henchmen. During the gunfight, Harry shoots Whiskey in the head, as he suspects that Whiskey is playing both sides, but Eggsy saves him with the same alpha-gel used to save Harry. Princess Tilde calls Eggsy in a state of mania, revealing that she has the blue rashes before falling into paralysis. Eggsy, Harry, and Merlin discover the location of Poppy’s hideout, “Poppy Land”, in Cambodia and fly there to steal the remote control for the antidote drones.

Upon their arrival at Poppy Land, Eggsy steps on a land mine but is saved by Merlin, who sacrifices himself while taking the lair’s guards with him. Eggsy and Harry storm through the lair and Eggsy kills Charlie while Harry destroys Poppy’s robotic guard dogs with the help of Elton. They secure the briefcase with the access code to the drones and inject Poppy with a more potent dose of her toxin, and she gives them the password before succumbing to a heroin overdose. Before they can activate the drones, they are stopped by Whiskey, who, having previously lost his wife to crossfire from two drug users, is revealed to be working alone to ensure that all drug users are eliminated. Eggsy and Harry engage Whiskey in a grueling fight at Poppy’s diner before forcing him through Poppy’s meat grinder. They release the antidote drones, saving millions of lives around the world.

In the aftermath of the incident, Chief of Staff Fox has the President impeached for conspiring to commit mass genocide on the drug victims. Champagne announces that Statesman has acquired a distillery in Scotland to help rebuild Kingsman. As a means to avoid the confusion of two Kingsman agents using the codename “Galahad”, Champagne offers either Eggsy or Harry the agent title of Whiskey, but they decline and Statesman tech support Ginger Ale steps in to take the role. Eggsy marries Princess Tilde, and Tequila moves to London to work for Kingsman.

REVIEW:

In 2015, Kingsman: The Secret Service hit the big screens and  took the world by storm. Almost immediately, a sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, was announced and greenlit. Now that this the latter has hit theaters, it is time to decide if the wait was worth it.

What is this about?

When the Kingsman headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that tests their agents’ strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that’s becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy.

What did I like?

Hit the ground running. One thing I can’t stand about action film is when they take forever to get going. Let’s be honest, no one goes to an action flick excited to hear dialogue. We go for the stunts and explosions, am I right? The filmmakers happen to feel the same way as I do, because the opening scenes of this flick are a car chase through London with Eggsy fighting off his would be attackers while not trying to destroy half the city or kill innocent bystanders. What a way to start!

Ham and Eggs(y). In the last film, we were introduced to Eggsy and watched him go from street thug to debonair gentleman. By the time this flick rolls around, he has become much more comfortable in his skin, as it were, and seems to be relishing in the role of being a Kingsman. Of course, having a hot, Swedish royal as your girlfriend doesn’t hurt, now does it? The thing that really gets me, though, is how even through his transformation, Eggsy can still go back and ham it up with his bros.

Everything’s retro. I am a big fan of things retro. WWII era stuff is my preferred era, but when it comes to overall aesthetic pleasure, that honor is bestowed upon the 50s. Julianne Moore’s villainous CEO character, Poppy Adams and I are kindred spirits in this regard. She used her vast resources to create a 50s utopia among the Ethiopian mountains, or wherever it is that she was, exactly. What’s not to love about a place like that?

What didn’t I like?

The sweeter the Berry. Hard to believe Halle Berry won an Academy Award not that long ago, huh? The recent string of flops she’s had makes one wonder if she was given that statue just because she got naked in Monster’s Ball. I have had a crush on her, since Boomerang. Her role as Ginger Ale (wasn’t she called Ginger in her Bond movie?) reminded me of her character from that flick with her shy confidence and all. The glasses just made her more attractive, btw. All that said about her looks and resume, Berry was wasted in this role, unless they do something with her in the future. I heard a couple of rumblings about a spin-off for the Statesmen. Should that come to fruition, than I will change my opinion that she’s wasted, and replace it with they were just building her up, but until that happens…IF it happens, I can’t be happy with what I saw from her.

Foreshadowing? A president who would rather ignore the needs of the people for the good of a few. Hmmm…who does this sound like? As evil as Poppy is, the woman went all Sweeney Todd and was grinding humans for food, the argument can be made that the president is the real villain of this film. I can’t say exactly why without spoiling part of the film, but let’s just say, if you made a mistake and it were up to him to help you fix it, well, you’d be s.o.l….just like the current waste of space up there in the White House.

Give it away. In the last film, Colin Firth’s character was shot, at point-blank range, in the eye and killed. Even though he was a big reason that film was successful, the filmmaker’s killed him off. When the sequel was announced, there was speculation about how/if to bring him back. Twin brother, flashback, decoy, etc. were all ideas thrown around and I think they made the right decision with how to bring him back, though I think they messed with his character a bit. All that aside, my gripe is with the fact that he appears in the trailer. His return should have been as big a surprise to us in the audience as it is to Eggsy and Merlin when they see him but, because he appears in the trailer, that element of surprise is no longer there. Good job, marketing team, you screwed us out of a major surprise!

Kingsmen: The Golden Circle doesn’t seem to have the same magic as its predecessor, but that may be just because of raised expectations. Remember, we had none for the first film. As you see, I have a few gripes with this flick, including its use of Elton John, but there is plenty of praise to go around, as well. One thing that I think hurt this film that didn’t hurt the first is the rise of ‘R’ rated movies. When the first film came out, the violence and language was highly praised, but now it just seems like an everyday thing to see in films. So, with all that said, what is my final verdict? This is definitely a must-see, but if you want to wait a week or two until the hype dies down, that’s fine, just make sure you check it out!

4 1/3 out of 5 stars

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