director: Matthew Vaughn
writers: Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn
starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Julianne Moore
genre: Action | Adventure | Comedy
released: 21 September 2017 (Australia, Germany & Greece), 22 September 2017 (USA)
When "Kingsman: The Secret Service" came out about two years ago, it was a breath of fresh air to the Hollywood blockbuster scene. It was the quintessential stupid, action film that didn't give a damn of what you thought of its lewd humor and swanky looks and at the same time didn't sulk at the gravity of events in it. As it never took itself that seriously when other films series couldn't help themselves ('Fast and Furious', Transformers'). This was the hole that 'Kingsman' managed to plug perfectly and thought it was worth coming back for more. A nice thought, if they had thought through fully their capability of plugging that hole in the same exact way and the potential for the magic to still be there.
Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is no longer the rookie in the field and is now filling Galahad's (Colin Firth) shoes not only in name, but also in action. Being the prime example of what good the Kingsman can do for the world with their secret spy agency and fashion sensibility.
This though will not last for long as the Kingsman will be once again be under attack by a new villain and world dominating organization. Pushing Eggsy and his tech Kingsman in arms Merlin (Mark Strong) to unite with their brothers from across the sea, to avenge their fallen comrades and put an end to the Golden Circles' evil ways.
The first sequel of 'Kingsman' gets caught up in the usual downfalls that sequels tend to get plagued with, such as the predictability, progression and setup of the plot and character arcs (Kingsman again under attack to the point of collapse, with a similar plot a and b setup of Kingsman fighting main threat, while personal character is in danger), while also the retread of prior fan favorite elements/moments (bar fight scene). Naturally, some of the elements can be accepted more than once, but others do go too far into the realm of been there done that, with not enough genuine surprises to keep us invested in what could have been another roller coaster ride as it was with the first.
In a little bit more detail and because this film isn't such a high prized commodity such as 'X-Men' or 'Deadpool'. The studio 20th Century Fox were afraid this film wouldn't bring in the crowd needed to cover its budget and now after the fact, having scene its box office business, they weren't that wrong. They must have put the pressure on the production to include Colin Firth's character in the press material from not only the poster, but the trailer itself. This led to what could have been possibly one of the great movie reveals in history, if kept under wraps and because of it, many moments lose their emotional punch. As we had gotten used to the fact that he would be welcomed back in such an easy manner in the film. Great examples of this is the 'Manners Maketh Man' retread scene and also the 'big move' by Galahad Senior that while an important moment in the film (won't spoil), for some reason didn't surprise me as much as I would have wanted.
Furthermore, knowing this series is Bond on steroids, I wasn't surprised by the ludicrous scenes of action on the screen anymore and thought that the first action scene in the beginning of the film, with that level of intensity wasn't needed. The gradual scaling up the action and craziness of the first film worked so well and was such a poignant way of introducing us to this crazy world. That now the magic is slightly gone and maybe because of it, it was in this situation warranted to take it a bit slow again. With many of action scenes being entertaining per say, but with no real sense of suspense, fear or awe. You know the lead characters will make it at the very end and that the day will be saved. It seems like the film eased itself way too much into its bizarre heightened reality that when real dramatic moments occur on screen, we are just not invested in those moments to take them seriously.
Nonetheless, and despite this overdose effect of eye candy. The film is still the over the top action film that many wanted to see and that doesn't disappoint as that is what it was being sold as. And even without the existence of a scene equivalent to the church scene of the first film, which in terms of action and directing was groundbreaking. The new action scenes here feel overtly over planned instead of natural and unanticipated. Yet, this action style of free-flowing camera movement, kinetic combat and high tech gadgetry is still unlike anything else you will see today on screen and beats two talking cars beating up each other any day of the week.
Nice touch though is the new actors added and the subplot of Eggsy and Princess Tilde. Which replaces the mother subplot of the last film. It was also nice to see Eggsy be himself and his friends get caught up in the spy game slightly in the beginning of the film. More of that would have been nice as it would have led to more natural comedic moments. Instead, of us being dropped straight into the doomsday plot and not surprised by it all, as the trailer pretty much told us this would have happened anyway.
The next chapter in the 'Kingsman' series continues its glorious take on what the 'James Bond' films would be like if it went full on into the land of absurdity. Where secret agents are not only unbeatable, but fly in the air with fancy acrobatics and go up against villains that are all charm and glitz and enough social commentary and inside jokes about the political policies that lead these villains on their weird evil paths. With that said, the promise that was made for another high stakes extravaganza was kept, but it naturally was a dip in originality rather than quality from the first.