Following on from the success of the first film, its no surprise we get a sequel. Thankfully Matthew Vaughn returns to direct, ensuring the sequel doesn’t lose the charm that the original had. Kingsman 2 capitalizes on the original’s style of satire, camp, visuals and character; however, its all taken up a notch; pumped up to largesse proportions. If you were a fan of the original, this will not fail to entertain but sadly it brings nothing new to the table.
Taron Edgerton returns as Eggsy, the lad turned brilliant spy/gentleman in the newly reformed Kingsman franchise. Picking up right after where the last film ends, we learn he has kept up his relationship with Swedish Princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom) who is now demanding him to prioritize his personal life over work. A difficult choice if one where to question whether James Bond would jeopardize his spy career for any of his numerous flings?
Kingsman is now under attack, forcing Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) to seek the help from their ‘American cousins’; add Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal and Jeff Bridges to the mix, as the ‘Statesmen’. The high caliber of these actors representing such characters, elevates them from the stereotype of country folk, the Stetsons’ and lassos’ variety, and instead they come across as quirky rather than patronizing. Highlights of these performance include Pascal’s Agent Jack Daniels as a boisterous lead, as well as Tatum’s Agent Tequila who is suitably obnoxious juxtaposed against the more collected Eggsy.
Together they uncover a sinister plot hatched by Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), who uses her gang ‘The Golden Circle’ to hold all drug users to ransom, when she poisons the drugs she has supplied to the market; signaling the movies’ overt message on the war on drugs, which automatically feels rather dated. An honorable and thought-provoking concept that unfortunately goes nowhere, remaining unexplored as the focus is shifted entirely on the eclectic momentum of the spies chasing her around the globe.
Overall, the plot is generic as spy films go, excelling at the points where it relates to the building of relationships, however the predictable humor and over-familiar punch lines leaves audience rolling their eyes. Edgerton puts in a great performance, embodying Eggsy with an effortless ease; balancing romance with car chases to fighting off robotic canines. At just under 2 hours long the film successfully never bores, proving to be just as entertaining as its first instalment. There is a bizarre Elton John cameo which does go on for far too long especially for an unfamiliar younger generation.
Vaughn's vision is cool and suave, but his way of filming where action scenes take place over one long take with numerous close-ups and panning, leaves viewers simultaneously impressed and disorientated as it never relents for a breather until the scene is over. Nevertheless, it’s a great ride that manages to aim and reach higher than its predecessor, which in this age of failed sequels is something to be thankful for.
Words by Sunny Ramgolam