Is Kingsman: The Golden Circle as good as the original?

KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE back in 2014 was a gift from the cinematic gods, or more Matthew Vaughn. Humourous, over the top, offensive, and a spy move that takes the piss of all the spy movies before it but also betters them on action. It also introduced me to one of my biggest crushes, Taron Egerton, and turned Colin Firth into the spy hero we needed. Vaughn departed the X-Men franchise to make THE SECRET SERVICE, so strong was his belief in it. A belief that paid off, a franchise exploded into the world and the sequels were planned. KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE released this week from 20th Century Fox, it is rated MA15+ and runs for 141 hilarious minutes.


Kingsman: Golden Circle Taron Egerton image
Future Mrs Salty, Taron Egerton




Lots more offensiveness, lots more unbelievable spy awesomeness and more Egerton looking damn fine. The opening scene of this movie is epic in true Bond meets Kingsman style. They kick it off with a bang and then the evil Poppy (Julianne Moore) blows up the Kingsman headquarters and destroys every Kingsman but misses Eggsy (Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong). There is a single Armageddon-like help card for Kingsman survivors in this situation, a bottle of Statesman Bourbon. Heading to the U.S. they discover the American version of the Kingsman, The Statesman. As opposed to tailoring they went into the liquor business.

The Statesman and The Kingsman join forces, not before re-introducing them to an old hero of the franchise, Harry Hart (Firth). They must head to a few world destinations to battle Poppy and the biggest drug cartel the world has ever seen. Poppy has infected nearly every illegal drug on the planet that is killing people and threatens not to release a cure unless the U.S President makes every illegal drug legal.


Kingsman: Golden Circle Channing Tatum, Halle Berry image
Channing Tatum and Halle Berry



Is it as good as the first instalment? Simply no – but only in as much as Star Wars wasn’t as good as Empire Strikes Back. Star Wars (and The Golden Circle) are still superb instalments in a franchise. They got a lot of things right and a few things wrong.

Firstly the positives!

  1. The action was superb, as you would expect – I actually wanted more of Egerton and the Kingsman fighting people because the acrobatic fighting style is brilliant
  2. Poppy – Julianne Moore is superb – more on her below but big ticks and a much more refined villain than Samuel L Jackson
  3. Bringing Firth back – loved how they did it
  4. The addition of a U.S. department and Channing Tatum
  5. Elton John – he nearly stole the entire movie
  6. Bruce Greenwood as the President of the United States. While you really don’t imagine it – both Kingsman movies have a lot to say politically. The Golden Circle looks at the war on drugs and offers a view then it clearly has a dig at the right wing presidency. Greenwood and Vaughn don’t characterise the President to be Trump but they may as well have
  7. Shock value – the over the top offensiveness of the Kingsman movies is required, loved and almost a Vaughn signature. Of course I was shocked when they had to put the tracking device into a ladies vjay-jay, but I shook my head, laughed and added it to everything else in Kingsman. I was only surprised that Elton John didn’t Princess Tilde Colin Firth with an offer for ass fucking if he saved the world. When idiots like the Roger Ebert critic Glenny Kenny give the movie one star for being offensive and sexist they are not only showing their lack of understanding of the movie but they are making a mockery of the good name of Roger Ebert. Kenny is a total douchebag who fails to critique but instead projectiles his hatred on the movie


Kingsman: The Golden Circle Colin Firth image
Colin Firth


Now sadly, the negatives.

  1. Channing Tatum – grossly under-utilised, he is introduced and then stored on ice (literally) for most of the movie. No one is complaining of the Statesman opening the ice and the Tatum package being shown on more than one occasion but why they introduced Tatum, Bridges, Berry and then brought in Pedro Pascal’s character (Whiskey) to have most of the Statesman scenes was just odd
  2. Announcing in trailers that Firth was back in the franchise borders on criminal. Firth and even the freaking director, Matthew Vaughn, wanted it kept a secret until release but for some stupid reason the studio decided to just let it out there – huge error that totally lessened the impact
  3. The demise of Roxy and J.B. – I just didn’t get the necessity. Roxy and Eggsy’s chemistry was marvellous in the first movie, why this wasn’t carried on is ridiculous. And J.B. – there are no words!
  4. The length – at 2hrs 21mins it was too much. They really could have shaved it down to 2hrs for a more fluid movie
  5. Taking the story away from Eggsy and spreading it around. The first movie worked focusing on Eggsy and his rise from rags to riches but he was way more of an ensemble in The Golden Circle – I wanted more. I did love his progression with Princess Tilde however


Kingsman: Golden Circle Taron Egerton, Colin Firth and Pedro Pascal image
Taron Egerton, Colin Firth and Pedro Pascal


You probably have gathered my thoughts on Taron Egerton already – love him and need more of him. Firth is impressive as always but his entire character was recovering in THE GOLDEN CIRCLE and it came off as flat a few times. I guess that’s what happens when you take a bullet point-blank to the head. Mark Strong’s Merlin is marvellous and Pedro Pascal was brilliant as Whiskey – I want one of those whips!

Channing Tatum, Halle Berry and Jeff Bridges were all wonderful additions to the franchise but all three of them were under-utilised. I can understand Bridges not being required much but Berry’s character, Ginger, kept banging on about wanting to be an agent – less talk more do. And using Pascal over Tatum for the majority of the scenes with Statesman I truly cannot fathom. The Tatum dance scene was hilarious.

Elton nearly stills the show…..

The final two actors I need to mention are Elton John and Julianne Moore – I really cannot choose who I liked the most. Elton’s not much of an actor but his scenes will hurt your belly from laughing so much. There are a lot of people pissed at his language in the movie, he is a Sir after all, but I truly believe that was the real Elton. The movie is worth it alone for his fighting in full costume – he just pops up every now and then to make you cry with laughter.

And Julianne Moore plays a nuanced serial monster Stepford wife villain. Vaughn pictured a Martha Stewart, Margaret Thatcher, Mrs Cunningham character with a sprinkle of Hannibal Lecter – Moore nails it with her usual brilliance. The entire time she appears on the verge of losing it and going full postal but remains composed as all hell while delivering murderous threats. And her lair – awesome.


Kingsman: Golden Circle Elton John image
The Glorious Elton John



If you hated KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE you will hate this one just as much but if you loved the first instalment this will be one of your favourite movies of 2017. True Kingsman fans will appreciate that KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE slathers on the violence, sex and politics much thicker. It may not be as perfect as the first instalment but it is a well crafted and applause worthy sequel.





 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.