While not as clever as its predecessor, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is so full of over-the-top action, goofy characters, and crazy contraptions that it’s hard not to have a blast watching it.

After the events in the first film, Kingsman: The Golden Circle follows British super-spies Eggsy and Merlin as they must forces with their American counterparts, The Stateman, following the almost complete destruction of their spy network. The two agencies must overcome robotic dogs, double-agents, and silly codenames as they attempt to save the world from Poppy, a homicidal drug baron intent on securing her financial place by holding the world’s drug-users hostage with a viral time bomb.

There’s a lot to love in the new Kingsman film: great action sequences, fun call-backs to the first film, relationship struggles, and a profanity-spewing Sir Elton John round-house kicking evil henchmen – just to name a few. It’s when the film doesn’t take itself too seriously that it really shines; meshing ultra-violence and dry wit (think James Bond in the style of Monty Python).

On the other hand, the film doesn’t handle its characters with as much care as it does the scenes it places them in. The all-star cast is incredibly underused. Channing Tatum for example, holds a large spot in the film’s marketing but is only in the film for about ten minutes – Elton John has more lines and screen-time than he does. Even aside from the uneven use of the cast, the characters themselves lack much of the character development given to them in the first film. Very little growth happens, as the film takes a more situation-driven narrative rather than a character-driven story. This, in and of itself, isn’t detrimental to the story – it just feels like something is missing.

Julianne Moore’s villainess Poppy is certainly quirky, but she never feels as personally dangerous as Sam Jackson’s Valentine. Again, not a bad thing, it just lacks some of the “oomph” of the previous films antagonist.

All-in-all, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a fun action-comedy with lots of things going for it, even if it doesn’t live up to the promise of the first film.

4 out of 5 stars

Rated: R for sequences of strong violence, drug content, language throughout and some sexual material
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Written by: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Pedro Pascal, Julianne Moore, Edward Holcroft, Mark Strong, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Elton John
Release Date: September 22, 2017 (USA)
Runtime: 2h 21m

Official Trailer:

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