The Bridge is broadcast as a one-hour radio show every Wednesday night at 7 ET on Sports Radio America. After the live broadcast, the show is released as a podcast on iTunes and at lundinbridge.com on Thursday. You can listen to the live show every Wednesday on Sports Radio America here or through the TuneIn app.
What’s up everybody? I’m Joe Baress and this IS “Five Minutes in the Film Room.”
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the much anticipated sequel to the smash hit Kingsman: The Secret Service. The first Kingsman shocked me with its quality and originality, especially because all signs pointed to a misfire in front of its 2015 release. The trailer didn’t sell the movie well, I didn’t believe Colin Firth could serve as a viable action star and the movie’s release date was pushed back from Christmas Day of 2014 to February of 2015, the usual dumping ground for studios’ poor films.
But Kingsman: The Secret Service proved us all wrong as it added itself to the recent uptick in the quality of films in that month, which include Deadpool and John Wick: Chapter 2. I was wrong about everything. Firth was excellent, Samuel L. Jackson was a fun villain and Taron Egerton proved a rising star. The action was shot in a very original and fun manner with the church scene leading the way, cementing itself as a classic sequence. It was over the top and fun, proving the best spy film of the year during a movie season where Daniel Craig’s fourth go at James Bond, Spectre, was released.
For Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the expectations were the exact opposite of its predecessor. We know what the great director Matthew Vaughn can do with this property. What a tall task to have to try to outshine a movie that gave us something fresh and new that made $414 million worldwide. A movie that thrived on its over-the-top sequences. How do you get more over the top than over the top? If anybody can do it, Vaughn can. But did he? … Let’s go to the tape.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle opens with a solid action sequence to jump the audience right into the movie, and in a way following the formula of the Bond franchise. After that, the movie struggles to move forward. As we all saw in the trailers, Kingsman is destroyed, but what I didn’t expect was the death toll. I won’t spoil who but I think it’s important to shift your expectations. This movie struggles with tone. I went into the movie expecting it to not be as good but still deliver a fun time. I didn’t anticipate so many characters dying and feeling bad about it. Unfortunately, that was just one of the areas Kingsman: The Golden Circle was bogged down.
The 2 hour, 21 minute run time is just 12 minutes longer than its predecessor, but Kingsman: The Golden Circle feels too long. There was just too much going on. Colin Firth’s character, as we saw in the trailers as well, is still alive. The expectation is that we can pick up right where we left off with his character, but we don’t for reasons I will not spoil. And it takes forever to get him back on the right track. And there are a lot of those scenes and subplots that drag. Scenes that could have worked out better with a tighter run time. Instead, there’s a lull in the middle of the movie that leaves you kind of bored and looking at your phone to see how much time is left in the film. Not a problem I expected to encounter in the Kingsman franchise.
Also, this movie includes what I originally thought was a cameo from a famous singer that turns into a role. Again, he would have been better utilized as a cameo, because the humor wears off after a while.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle finally picks up during the final 45 minutes, when they finally get Firth back into the field and the action gets moving. Although there are no sequences that live up to the church slaughter in the first installment, Kingsman: The Golden Circle gives us some very crisp and well-shot action scenes. That is where this movie shines. When it gets back to what worked in the first one, the movie delivers. Everything they tried to add in just didn’t really work.
Firth, Egerton and Mark Strong once again give solid performances, and I really enjoyed Julianne Moore as the villain, although her robot dogs were a little too cartoony. The main plot is strong, too. If the film had just focused on Kingsman being destroyed and the main plot that followed, knocking out some of the death and subplots and cutting into the run time by about a half hour, I think we’d have a solid sequel.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Kingsman: The Golden Circle left me disappointed. The film starts with a solid action sequence, but got bogged down in trying to do too much with the plot and adding too many emotional moments, which led to some rough tonal shifts. As a result, unnecessary scenes stretch, and it takes too long to get to the fun. When the movie finally focuses on the main plot, it gets back to what we loved about the first one. I had fun at times, but it just took too long to develop. Living up to the first installment is admittedly an impossible task, but John Wick: Chapter 2 proved that it’s possible to follow up with another solid film. This suffers from sequelitis by adding too many subplots instead of focusing on the simplicities that made the first one great.
The to revisit, but as of now I’ll rank Kingsman: The Golden Circle as a field goal. Because sometimes a drive has so much potential, but a few dropped passes in the red zone lead to three points instead of the much preferred seven.