Incomprehensible from the first frame and devoid of most of the charm that made the first one such a success, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is just a slog of a film that even the brilliant Pedro Pascal and Taron Egerton can’t make totally enjoyable.
The Kingsman franchise is very much all about style from the clothes to the action. The first film managed to be both crazy and stylistically in tune but this sequel is neigh unwatchable at times with it’s desire to recreate the camera movement from the church scene in every fight, no matter how big or small. Rather than making things seem more exciting, it moves the action to a place of comedy and ridiculousness that they can never recover from (save anything involving Agent Whisky, are you sensing a theme yet?)
Plot wise, this movie tries to cram in so many things in a two and a half hour run time, that some of the most interesting stuff gets dropped. The Kingsman get blown up, they have to go to America to be with the Statesman, there they find Harry is alive and doesn’t remember them, and now there’s a villain, and oh people are dying and on and on. So many moments. One of the few that works is the relationship with Eggsy and the Princess. It’s a wonder more spy films don’t try and have their spies navigate what being in a relationship would actually mean for their job. It was great, if only to not make the end of the first one seem as raggedy (although they certainly topped that mess in the raggedy department this time around). But it did feel like they tried to give everyone some sort of defining character moment/trait/backstory that just kind of held us back moving forward. It was particularly disappointing to have an actress of the caliber of Julianne Moore as a villain and never really get to turn her loose and keep her out of the fray until the very end. Having our main villain be located in a remote part of the world served nothing for the story other than to make our characters have to travel great distances. There’s also a matter of the movie trying to take specific stances on drugs and politics that really don’t land.
All of this negativity doesn’t seem to hinder the wonderful Pedro Pascal who is the MVP of this film as the lasso wielding agent whisky. He’s a breath of fresh air for the franchise and his lasso fights added a new wrinkle to help stabilize the action that was going off the rails at times. The other actors are fine, if a bit unbalanced in screen time and effect.