The first movie was so good! Sadly, this overstuffed sequel is a waste of its massive cast
Overstuffed, over-busy and overlong, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is an exhausting, patience-trying assault that doesn’t know when to say when. And judging by the results of this sequel, “when” would have been the closing credits of the first film.
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” was a pleasant surprise in 2014, an unexpectedly rude and randy riff on spy movie cliches that had the stones to push boundaries with its hard R-rating. “The Golden Circle” flushes almost all of that goodwill down the loo with a cluttered story, a massive cast and choppy action scenes so computer-driven they look like test footage at a tech conference.
Eggsy (Taron Egerton) returns as a young agent for the British intelligence firm, but now there’s an American arm, too, with Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry and Channing Tatum in what amounts to extended cameos. Colin Firth is back, despite dying in the first film, which shows the film’s dedication to commerce over story continuity. Julianne Moore plays a ’50s-obsessed drug lord who poisons the world’s recreational drug users; Bruce Greenwood is the Fox News-devouring president who basically says let them all die. (Make of that what you will.)
Elton John is on board, playing himself (he gets more screen time than Tatum, who’s on the movie’s poster), and way down the cast, behind Mark Strong, Pedro Pascal and Poppy Delevingne, there’s poor Emily Watson — a two-time Oscar nominee for crying out loud! — who is stuck playing the president’s chief of staff.
“Kingsman” is draaaaaawn out to a painful two hours and 20 minutes, at which point the spy riffs have turned into self-parody and “The Golden Circle” feels like one of the circles of Hell. It’s pure overkill.
The Golden Circle’
Rated R for sequences of strong violence, drug content, language throughout and some sexual material
Running time: 141 minutes