2015 was a year of surprises in movies. Not only did a new Star Wars movie arrive for a new generation of fans, but we learned that raptors can be tamed by Chris Pratt (sort of). One of these surprises came in the form of Kingsmen: The Secret Service, a movie about British spies that not only poke fun of the genre but could serve a proper action throw down (and Colin Firth taking out an entire church clan in what seemed like a one shot take). Push by positive word of mouth, Kingsmen became one of 2015’s early successes and brought along newcomers Taron Egerton and Sofia Boutella. A sequel was sure to follow. As an advisory, I will be talking about mild but well known spoilers from the previous movie, so if you would like to catch up and watch the first Kingsmen, do so now. For this breakdown, we’ll be looking at the pros, the okay, the cons, and the WTF???!!!??
PROS: First thing first, Eggsy’s aka Gary is back. Taron Egerton reprises his breakout role and brings new personal development for his character. He seems to be maintaining a well balance between his spy life and his more personal life, but, story wise, that doesn’t last forever. He’s well into a relationship with the Swedish Princess he rescued in the last film, correcting one of my biggest gripes from the previous entry. And they are committed. Also back are the well-executed action sequences; the movie doesn’t waste any time getting started with the first round. Harry, played by Colin Firth, also makes a return and while how he’s brought back is a little sloppy, the writers do a better job with the aftereffect and difficulties Harry has with losing an eye and having to readjust. New to Kingsmen, is Poppy played by Julianne Moore. Villains aren’t exactly Moore’s strong suit but what she brings with the world’s number one drug cartel, Poppy is a delight to watch. The whit and humor are also back and with a good solid audience, the jokes seemed to hit better than watching the movie solo. There’s also Elton John, as himself, but unlike the rest of the remaining newcomers, (to be discussed later) he actually has something to do and it is freaking hilarious. Merlin, played by Mark Strong, is also a delight. And there are puppies. Not too many puppies, but if you like dogs, you suddenly want one. But more on that later.
OKAY: Along with the slew of newcomers is Ginger Ale, played Halle Berry. Why is she in the OKAY section? Because she was okay. She didn’t annoy me but I wanted her character to be more. And why shouldn’t it? She was having so much fun at Comic Con! But it’s nice to see her not fighting kidnappers for a change. Same thing goes for Pedro Pascal’s character, Whiskey. I mean the Bull Whip was cool, I guess. The song “Country Roads” by John Denver is played a lot, not too much to be overbearing but an unusual amount. It’s a little surreal as the last movie I saw was Logan Lucky.
CONS: And here we go. Kingsmen suffers from what some might say “sequelitis”. It tries to do a little bit too much. The movie is long (a whopping two hours and twenty-two minutes) and some of the action is loud, a little too loud. There were a lot of unnecessary deaths, enough that it makes someone who loved the first movie uneasy. (It should be noted that there was one ‘necessary death’ that started out weak but finished strong, and if they wanted to bring one of those other characters back as a villain that would be perfectly fine) The way Harry is brought back is a bit too convenient. In retrospect, the market team could’ve kept Harry’s revival a secret and shown flashbacks in promotional material but perhaps the fear of a leak on social media pushed them to come out and cut to the chase. But one could only imagine the buzz generated if no one knew he was coming back… Some of the other characters, like Statesmen agents played by Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum show up for ‘eye candy’; they really don’t contribute much to the overall story (but they may appear in a sequel). There’s a push for political commentary going into the third act that was somewhat unnecessary and doesn’t set up a clear message. And finally, there’s an urge to kill puppies. An immediate turn off that I thought we were well past in the first one.
WTF???!!!???: Seriously guys, what is it with killing puppies? That is never a good thing! I want to go hug my mom’s dogs and tell them I love them…
Should I Watch This: Go to the matinee or $6 dollar Tuesday. Get some popcorn and escape for a few hours.
Sequel-bility: As of writing, Kingsmen: The Golden Circle has made $39 million for it’s opening weekend, slightly better than it predecessor and is doing very well overseas. On a budget of $104 million, it has almost recoup that and should at least make it all back including marketing by the end of its run. The next few weeks should provide an answer from the studios on if they wish to green light another movie or not. This article will be updated as needed.