The subtitle for a film can usually reveal a lot about the experience an audience can expect.
Die Hard 2: Die Harder is a perfect example; people do in fact die much harder than in the first film.
This rule applies to more than just my favourite Christmas movie though; it also applied to 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service. Prior to the Matthew Vaughn directed action comedy debut, very few people were aware of the graphic novel that the film would be based on.
Truly a secret prior to the film premiere, the shocking success of the resulting James Bond parody brought a great deal of spotlight to the newly birthed franchise.
Taron Egerton, now increasingly active within Hollywood, became famous for starring as the protagonist, Eggsy, in The Secret Service alongside Harry Hart, played by Colin Firth.
Both Egerton and Firth return for Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle, this time accompanied by Hollywood heavy-hitters Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, and Julianne Moore. Again written and directed by the uber-stylish Vaughn, The Golden Circle was released on Sept. 22 to rave reviews.
Designed to be a comical-yet-suave take on the James Bond-style spy movie, The Golden Circle fulfills this function much like its predecessor.
While notably lacking in some areas related to plot and character development, the over-the-top action style and lightning-quick humour remains intact.
Vaughn’s direction, oft-criticized after The Secret Service because of several illicit jokes, seems to rebel further against the chastisement his detractors levelled in his direction.
Like a middle-schooler given detention for colouring outside the line, Vaughn has chosen instead to one-up himself and paint the walls.
His method of choice seems to be unnecessarily ludicrous action scenes that are among the best in Hollywood, (involving not one, but two gratuitous death scenes involving a hamburger grinder) and a penchant for shamelessly exploiting the charisma of his leads.
The Golden Circle, for all the golden qualities that fans of Secret Service will love, will receive equal scorn from haters of the original film. In fairness, it would be well-earned. In the same way that fans will praise Vaughn for doubling down on the controversial elements of his franchise to make it better, there will also be those who are not wrong in questioning the necessity of some of the more gratuitous elements. Two meat grinder kills, for the love of all that is holy.
In interviews prior to the film’s release, Firth described it as “needing to have its tongue in its cheek.” As an Oscar winner and well respected actor, it makes sense that Firth would remark upon the lunacy of Kingsman in such a playful and somewhat dismissive way.
Within the span of an hour, his character chases butterflies unironically, conks an Italian Ski Resort guard on the head with a fire extinguisher, and uses an umbrella as a machine gun that is also bullet-proof.
Tongue-in-cheek is one way to describe the film; another would be exuberantly fun.
Although it would have benefitted from an extra month of storyboard work, and will overtly put off a number of viewers with its extravagance, Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle is enjoyable just as much, if not more so than the original.
The only secret worth keeping about The Golden Circle is that you haven’t seen it yet.