The Impeccable Ridiculousness of KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

A continuation of the most ludicrous parts of the original.

The first Kingsman movie found a nice formula on which to build a very traditional genre pic. The tailored-suit meets East-Ender crassness combined with some cool effects to make a hot movie. The recipe is hard to duplicate.

First and foremost, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a comedy. Sure there’s action and adventure to spare, but it’s all so cartoonish that laughter is the only proper response. Everything than can be made over the top most certainly is.

Being proper is the first layer of the Kingsman onion. There are plenty of riffs on James Bond, or more likely “Jimmy Bruv,” throughout. In fact our hero Eggsy (Taron Egerton) has found a new love, a princess no less. His meet-the-parents moment is silly season.

And then there’s the organization itself. In The Golden Circle, we get introduced to the American cousins, Statesman, another spy agency, this one run out of a whiskey distillery. It’s all Hee Haw and hats, as every Southern trope in the books is on display.

Why are they riding horses around an alcohol manufacturing facility?

Who cares. They’re Americans!

The casting of the squad across the pond looks great on paper but never quite clicks. Channing Tatum is all drawl and muscles as Tequila. (Yes, these are the real agent names.) Halle Berry plays Ginger, the nerdy counterpart to Mark Strong’s Merlin. Jeff Bridges is the head honcho, while Pedro Pascal is the agent with the most action, Whiskey.

The bad guy here is a girl, effervescently portrayed by Julianne Moore. Her Poppy Adams is a drug dealer cum multi-billionaire CEO. She’s hired Charlie (Edward Holcroft), a former Kingsman trainee who’s been given a Bionic Commando super-arm, and has a devious plan to win the war on drugs by having the drugs win.

The most redeeming feature of the film is the inclusion of Elton John, who’s been captured by Poppy and forced to live and entertain at a jungle compound that’s been turned into a nostalgic 1950s main street. John goes through hell, but shines through with humor and wit when the rest of the plot is coming up short.

The search for an antidote to Poppy’s scheme takes Brits and Yanks alike all over the world, from Kentucky to a snowy mountain top to the Glastonbury Music Festival. Along they way there’s shooting, punching, and double-crossing. What’s missing is any real investment in the plot.

The film veers into political comment as the President, played by Bruce Greenwood, is willing to let hundreds of millions of people die just because they use drugs, including his chief of staff (Emily Watson). On face value it’s a disturbing proposition, even from an office that’s currently a little disturbing, but Greenwood’s outlandishness softens the blow and not for the better.

In spite of it all, by the final hyper-energetic, save-the-world scene, Kingsman: The Golden Circle breaks down all defenses and produces just too much fun to be dismissed. This is low-brow farce masquerading as high-class entertainment, but in the end, it’s at least a good time.

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