Kingsman: The Golden Circle is, in most respects, a faithful successor to 2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service. The sequel reunites Taron Egerton and Colin Firth’s stiff-upper-lip secret agents to combat the nefarious schemes of an eccentric megalomaniac, this time played by Julianne Moore. There’s artificially-augmented henchmen, bespoke suits and outrageous action sequences scored to improbably poppy tunes. The Golden Circle has as much unapologetic stupidity and unabashed absurdity as its predecessor … but, sadly, it’s an order of magnitude less fun.
The sequel’s sins are manifold. It’s too long; breezy spy movie satires shouldn’t run well over two hours. It’s too dark; we’re here for colourful entertainment, not the mass murder of familiar characters to facilitate an ill-advised jaunt to Kentucky. The screenplay – from director Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman – spends too much time on uninspired plot intricacies and an uncomfortably ‘political’ take on the War on Drugs.
Politics was a problem in The Secret Service, but at least that film had the good grace to be quick-paced and silly enough to forgive the moments its satire failed. The Golden Circle is no more ‘problematic’, but it does give you the time to think about its politics: a serious mistake.