“Kingsman:  The Golden Circle”

 

            We enjoyed the first “Kingsman” movie three years ago because it brought the charm back to the British spy drama.  And the tongue-in-cheek.  And the dapper demeanor.  Not nearly as innocuous as the old James Bond, but not nearly as grim as the new James Bond.  Suave and sophisticated were back in the vocabulary of secret operatives.  As well as creative gadgetry.  But this overly-long sequel seems to have invested the charm in the wrong place: in the person of the villain.

            Poppy (Julianne Moore) plays the world's richest drug dealer, who acts like the gracious hostess of a cooking show, even donning the classic apron in her private diner.  But she regrets that the exigencies of her chosen profession conspire to confine her to her jungle compound in Central America, where she is safe enough, but somewhat under-stimulated.  So she kidnaps Elton John, who provides unexpected comic relief?

            Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is the secret agent who's no longer an apprentice; he's been around long enough to earn the wrath of a rejected agent, and also to develop an outside romance, which is supposedly against the rules, but since she's really a princess (her father's the King of Sweden), he can hardly resist.  Nor can he resist receiving assistance from headquarters through his hidden earpiece, when the King begins to question him about his political knowledge.

            But Eggsy's absence from Headquarters actually spared him, because Poppy launched a systematic attack against all the Kingsman outposts, and then threatens the President of the United States.  She's put a killer virus in all her drugs, and if he doesn't appoint her the only and only official supplier, she's going to withold the antidote.

            Ah, but the President, while seeming to cave in with the negotiations, actually wants Poppy to go ahead and kill all the druggies.  Instant victory for him in the drug war, right?  Wrong, marijuana-breath.  There are far too many “respectable” recreational users to risk their immediate elimination.  Or at least that's how the Kingsman group sees it, or at least what's left of it.  They have to ask help from their American counterparts, and they have to save the world while wondering if one of their own is actually working against them.

            There's a Keystone Kops aspect to some of the battle scenes, which lends enough suspension of disbelief to allow most of the good guys virtual invincibility.  When the smoke finally clears, we're still enamored with the idea that there are some great undercover operatives out there who are looking to keep the world safe from both dastardly deadly viruses and dreadful fashion sense.  Cheers.

 

Questions for Discussion:

1)                  Would you like to see all recreational drug users punished immediately?

2)                  When have you encountered a smiling, charming, lovely person who's selfish and blackhearted?

3)                  What would impress the father of the fiancee?  What would not impress him?

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association