I unashamedly loved the first Kingsman movie. I saw it with almost no background, I don’t think I had seen a preview even, my sister and I just sort of stumbled into a free screening before wide release. I don’t know if it was the unexpected gratuitous action, or maybe I just romanticize the idea of spy training camp, but I just enjoyed it way more than I would’ve thought. It is by no means a perfect movie, but it was endearing and entertaining and I find myself watching it when it is on TV occasionally.
With that in mind, I was excited for a sequel. The more news that came out the more interested I was. Pedro Pascal, Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, someone I’d never heard of called “Elton John?”. The trailer had a ridiculous car chase to retro pop remixes and seemed in line with the franchise. Unfortunately, I think with all the hype from the first the sequel lost what little (but essential) subtlety the first had.
Kingsman: The Secret Service was charming in spite of itself, with Colin Firth’s Galahad and Roxy playing the straight men to Eggsy’s renegade. The sequel is all renegades, eliminating Roxy from the story early on and underutilizing Firth’s Bond agent. This lead to overcrowding within the story of the “wild card” Americans, whether that is Pedro Pascal with a lasso, Channing Tatum yelling at Jeff Bridges, or Julianne Moores just honestly inconceivable drug money town. These characters aren’t interesting or nuanced in the same way any of the characters in the original were, and it all culminates in the least subtle (SPOILER) climax of Mark Strong’s Merlin singing “Country Roads Take Me Home” at the top of his voice as he explodes.
It is hardly a performance driven movie, but I am going to give a special shout out to Elton John. He knows who he is and honestly just the concept of him being in this movie as himself was worth the ticket price to me. 5.5/10