Kingsman: The Golden Circle
A fun, mindless romp with the usual Matthew Vaughn-styled, slow-mo, pseudo-one shot action set in a background of outrageous world-domination/spy espionage intrigue, and interspersed with PG13 humour. However, it dragged on a tad too long with too many blatant product placements and lacked the originality, heart and energetic spark of the original despite an unfortunate aborted attempt at a dark political satire. But at least we had Julianne Moore and Elton John! Moore was deliciously campy and Elton (lol!) was just campily vulgar and outright hilarious throughout.
Vaugh and co-writer (and frequent collaborator) Jane Goldman had scripted a narrative befitting the series, i.e. outrageous enough to be plausible in the real world with a huge dose of suspension of beliefs, but where they went wrong was that the story got bigger than them and whilst negotiating from point A to B to Z they got lost in points U and S.
The idea of an American counterpart, the Statesmen, was definitely interesting and deserved to be explored as a parallel story and then perhaps brought in together à la "The Avengers". But in this film, they over relied on the big-name American stars and yet, paradoxically, under utilised them. Cost constrains? Which is either good or bad for Oberyn Marte...I mean...Pedro Pascal's ego who got the longest screen time.
Vaughn directorial style remained consistent here as in "Kingsmen: The Secret Service" as did his favoured rapid cuts and quick edits action and fight choreography. But at least his use of slow-mo made sense unlike some over-exuberant directors. Unfortunately, no standout scenes this time round unlike the phenomenon church shootout in the last film, but the final big fight came quite close - and only because of Elton.
Taron Egerton got less to do here because of the need to service the larger cast, but this role fits him. And he does bring a sort of roguish yet gentlemanly charm to Eggsy.
Same with Colin Firth. Was he really necessary to be brought back? Even though he was crucial to the success of "Kingsmen: The Secret Service".
Mark Strong remained the MVP.
Moore was an absolute delight. She, like Samuel L Jackson before her, seemed like she was having so much fun being crazily evil. Or just plain crazy. She was, simply put, so much fun to watch and her scenes looked forward to.
Elton. F***ing scene-stealer. Every. Single. F***ing. Time. Kudos to him for daring to make fun of himself.
Channing Tatum, Halle Berry and Jeff Bridges deserved better and hopefully the supposed "Statesmen" spinoff will do them justice.
No end credits this time round, but the epilogue looks like it was setting up Part Three.