Kingsman review: Laugh? I nearly clawed my eyes out

Was the first one not bad enough? This sequel seems to think not

Taron Egerton, Colin Firth and Pedro Pascal, in Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Film Title: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Elton John, Channing Tatum

Genre: Action

Running Time: 141 min

Wed, Sep 20, 2017, 09:39

   

The folk behind the largely awful Kingsman: The Secret Service have reacted to the unexpected success of their film on an odd way. That entertainment was already vulgar enough, but the sequel establishes new standards for cinematic overindulgence.

Just look at all these famous people doing nothing. Halle Berry taps a keyboard here and there. Jeff Bridges wears a bad wig and shouts once or twice. The insignificance of Emily Watson’s role would embarrass somebody with a 10th her talent. Channing Tatum and Michael Gambon are also barely here.

Meanwhile, Julianne Moore, whose career in mainstream cinema stands as bizarro negative to her exemplary work in off-centre material, has, if anything, a little too much to do. She plays a villain who wants to take over the world by poisoning the recreational drug supply. Is that it? I think that’s right. The picture features such a dazzle of sickening distractions that it’s hard to retain more than a sliver of attention.

As you may recall, the adaptation of some comic or other concerned an espionage undertaking that operated from a bespoke West End tailor. The main joke was that the latest recruit, a young man called Eggsy (Taron Egerton), was more working class than the rest of the agents. In the sequel, we can’t tell if he’s fully absorbed the Kingsman aesthetic. He’s in a suit. Now he’s round at the old manor. It’s almost as if the idea has run out of steam.

The Golden Circle finds the archetypal English operation joining forces with an archetypal American body called Statesman. Imagine the characters from a 1970s US commercial for English crumpets meeting the characters from a 1970s Irish commercial for “real American burgers”. Bridges and Tatum wear cowboy hats and say “Yeehaw!” Egerton and a revivified Colin Firth (oh come on, he’s on the poster) wear pinstripes and carry umbrellas. Laugh? I nearly clawed my own eyes out.

Let’s give them some credit. Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn’s script is a little less misogynistic than the first effort. But the lasting impression is of sugared-up children having far more fun than the poor adults sent to mind them. Stretched out to an interminable 141 minutes, The Golden Circle bonks, smirks and biffs itself towards a state of low pastiche that James Bond had already reached halfway through his first outing.

And darling, the things Elton John is forced to do? I dread to think what they have on him.

Just awful.