So the first Kingsman movie was a very nice surprise, a fast and fun take on the spy genre with slick action scenes and likeable characters, especially it’s everyman hero, Eggsy. Well, Eggsy and the gang return in this sequel, does it hold up? Well, let’s see…
A year after the conclusion of the first film, the Kingsman are attacked and all but destroyed by the Mysterious Golden Circle organisation, led by the sociopathic drug lord Poppy Adams (Julianne More).
Following the destruction of Kingsman property, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) head stateside and discover their American cousins The Statesmen, and the feared dead agent Galahad (Colin Firth). Together they work together to stop Poppy and the virus she has released in contaminated drugs, threatening millions Worldwide.
When the first Kingsman film came out, it was a breath of chaotic, fresh air. From the same team that brought us the Kick-Ass films, this was a new take on the old spy formula, however, Austin Powers this was not, feature strong language and over-the-top action sequences it was a creative barrel of fun.
Fast forward two years and here we have the sequel, not as creative yet still lots of fun. The action scenes seem to have been refined this time out with the film starting almost immediately with a physics defying car chase involving a souped-up London cab. It’s fast, it’s visceral and it jumps straight off the screen, grabbing your attention like an angry, drunk man at a bus station.
Unlike an angry, drunk man however, the film has likeability in spades, in particular main character Eggsy, is just as likeable as he was last time out, in fact, more so, as the edges have been smoothed out from last time out, he’s actually given a love story with the princess from the end of the first film, which is a nice side development which occasionally intertwines with the main plot. The returning players from last time out all bring their usual gifts to the film, Colin Firth (who I take no shame in spoiling as he’s openly featured in the trailer) shows his charisma and charm and even some vulnerable moments and Mark Strong is well… strong in the part of Merlin, reliable as ever as an actor, he’s even given a few moments to shine, which is nice.
Elsewhere, the newcomers are a mixed bag, Channing Tatum is unremarkable in the film, bringing little to proceedings besides a preposterous Southern accent and a scene in his underwear, which I think must be added to all Channing Tatum films by law. Then there’s Jeff Bridges as ‘Champ’ the leader of the Statesmen and like Mark Strong, Bridges is a reliable hand to carry a character, Halle Berry provides a highlight on the American side of things, bringing life to the ‘brainy support character’ archetype. Rounding out the Statesmen is Pedro Pascal, an actor I have no knowledge of, but did impress in his action scenes and character moments, hope to see more of him in the future.
There’s one more stand-out, and while it isn’t a spoiler (he’s listed on the film’s wiki and imdb page, and also on the credits in trailers) it may come as a surprise to many that he’s in it so feel free to skip the following paragraph.
Cameo’s are almost a staple in films now, and this person’s appearance here stretches the boundaries of the word ‘cameo’ as he has a substantial part and more than a few scenes. This person is pop royalty Elton John. Elton doesn’t have many acting credits to his name, so it was a surprise to see him pop up in a film with this amount of exposure, it was an even bigger surprise when he provided me with one of the movie’s biggest laughs. He can’t be said to be doing anything more than ‘hamming it up’ but good lord, it was funny. Playing a foul-mouthed fictional version of himself, Elton not only gets some funny dialogue moments, he also get’s involved with some action scenes, one in particular including platform shoes, a flowery outfit straight from his 80’s collection and several goons. Nothing that will make the Academy take note, but nevertheless entertaining and bizarre turn.
In conclusion, this film isn’t as original or creative as the original, nor does it bring anything particularly new to the table, but while it lasts it’s an unapologetic barrel of fun, which can only really be summed up with the logical idea of; if you liked the first one you’ll like this too, so if you did like the first one, go see it, if you didn’t don’t. See? Proper consumer advice, don’t say I don’t help…