Matthew Vaughn, the dude who used to produce Guy Ritchie's movies, has carved a name for himself as a director (i.e. Stardust, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service).
He now comes back with his not-so-spoof of the James Bond 1950/60s spy era, gadget and crazy plot et al in Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
Does it work? Well, let's dig in...
Kingsman: The Secret Service was a fun movie. When Daniel Craig's Bond was getting all moody and serious, The Secret Service showed what the Roger Moore era James Bond brought: levity and fun.
This was wrapped in the spy story with an underdog/coming-of-age tale of Eggsy A.K.A. the skhothane who has to ditch his machismo habits and become a gentleman whilst saving the world in spite of having the one percenters hating on him for being a "chav".
So Secret Service had a lot going for it and showing how much Bond has changed.
Unfortunately, like Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Kingsman also suffers a bit from sequel fatigue, whereby the jokes are not as fresh, the plot not as clever, the action not as fun or better and the character development gets stunted once more due to the plot.
Vaughn makes some bold choices with character development, bringing back popular characters that don't work that well for me. Then there's the computer generated images that are really bad, and this is consistent for most of the big action sequences that involve cars.
The misogynistic jokes worked a bit better in the first movie as a comment on Bond's misogyny but they fall flat this time and feel very Michael-Bay-Megan-Fox-Transformers1-pervy. That's not
a good thing.
One other cardinal sin the movie commits is the bait and switch it does with Channing Tatum and Pedro Pascal.
I love Pedro from Game of Thrones to Narcos but here I feel he was miscast and I couldn't buy his cowboy act.
The trailer made it seem that we will have more Channing than we did and I felt cheated. Julianne Moore's Poppy is not as iconic as Samuel L. Jackson's Eric Simmon-inspired baddie.
It's sad when the most memorable thing about this movie is the cameo appearances by Elton John. All his scenes are hilarious, his scenes have energy, they elevate an idea first played with in the first movie and their very very meta (which is always good if you get the references).
Elton John is the only saving grace in a movie that does not really outdo its predecessors but feels like a less successful microwaved version of the first movie, with a longer running time and budget.
* Rubbish ** Meh ***Good ****now we cooking *****Classic