Quick Hit: Filled with more of the same frantic fights and sharp suits from the first film, this sequel will please fans of the series with more of the same.
Matthew Vaughn is probably one of my favorite directors. He doesn’t exactly put a movie out every six months, but a lot of his films (Kickass, X-Men First Class, the first Kingsman) are worth waiting for. That’s because they are often really different from the surrounding filmscape, and usually filled with some type of ultra-frantic violence (well, when they are rated “R” anyway). So I was pretty interested when I saw he was actually directing the sequel to the fantastic The Secret Service.
What I was met with was a sequel that is solid. It’s a little over reliant on a couple of things, but definitely will be a crowd pleaser for those that enjoyed the first movie. It essentially follows Eggsy after the destruction of the Kingsman, as we jaunt across the pond to find the Statesman, the American counterparts to the sharp dressed Bond stand-ins.
One thing of note – everyone seems to be having just so much fun in this movie. Taron Egerton (Eddie the Eagle) continues to show why he is a growing star. From scenes where he needs to be filled with emotion, to scenes where he has to be a convincing agent, he continues to show why he was the right choice for the series. But the supporting characters really step up here. Julianne Moore is drippingly good and terrific as the villain. Jeff Bridges continues his Southern winning ways here, but I think Mark Strong was the true hero of the film (in more ways than one). Mark Strong’s performance also leads me into the music – it was an absolutely terrific soundtrack. I instantly want to buy the orchestra’s rendition of John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads”.
As I stated, I think the film is a bit overly reliant on some things that worked so well from the past. There may just be one too many frantic fight scenes and maybe just one too many America is full of honky tonk hick jokes, to flesh out the freshness that the original brought to the screen. Along with that, plot conveniences, like a character from the previous film returning, lend to a feeling of surrealness to it all. That’s not to say that Kingsman should ever seem realistic, but it should feel at least grounded in reality. Between the stylized fight scenes and the tons of CGI – some of which is really, really disappointingly bad – a lot of the grounded feel of the first one gets lost in the shuffle.
The overall plot is fun, and extremely topical. I really enjoyed the President here - a friend of mine actually stated that it seemed to be the first representation of Trump as President, which made me laugh. I also thought that some of the plot, though a bit overdone, was really good at making light of bad situations. The humor was really solid throughout, sometimes carried by Poppy and the terrific Elton John. I never would have thought that someone could live up to the Bill Murray cameo in Zombieland, but this way probably surpasses it. Hilarious.
Criticisms aside, I found myself really enjoying the sequel. I’m going to give it a “B” overall.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"