The first Kingsman film erupted onto our screens with unabashed bravado, taking the classic Bond film genre and injecting it with a good dose of modern pop culture and a refusal to take itself too seriously. Sharp suits, fancy gadgets and no holds barred action scenes (that church scene). It had all the spy film traits we know and love but with a plot line straight out of My Fair Lady and a bonkers but oddly likeable villain, all set to a vibrant pop soundtrack.
To all intents and purposes, it was a great film. It was ridiculous and it was fun, but it did have some smutty undertones that simmered away in the background. Like that completely unnecessary ‘in the bum’ reference towards the end of the film. Nope, not trying to be a prude; it just felt try-hard and crass… and oh wait, didn’t realise it was still the seventies. But hey, it wasn’t a big deal and we can all handle a bit of smut here and there.
The problem with Kingsman: The Golden Circle is that the smuttiness gets ramped up just that little bit too much. It’s not a deal breaker but the film would have been a whole lot better and whole less squirm-worthy without the smut (more on that in a bit). Director Matthew Vaughn’s second Kingsman film takes us over to America where the organisation’s US cousins do much the same thing but with all the American cliches thrown in for good measure.
A James Bond film on drugs
It’s the same exuberant James Bond pastiche that revels in its own derision and zealously pokes fun at itself. As ridiculous as the first film, we’ve gone from brains blowing up like fireworks to drug users dancing themselves to death whilst turning blue. There are a lot of laughs to be had, stylish action scenes to be enjoyed and all the crass humour you could ever need to make you roll your eyes and squirm in your seat.
If you’ve seen any of the marketing for the film, it won’t be a spoiler to say that Colin Firth’s Harry is back and not dead. Turns out, Kingsman’s American cousins found the deceased Harry, plonked a brain preserving mask on his face et voila, now it’s possible to survive a gunshot to the head at point blank range. The trouble is, now that death is reversible with the simple application of a fancy eye mask, it kinda takes the edge off those tense action scenes. Shot in the head? No problemo, just pass me the eye mask…
Characters and cameos
The film features a lot of stars but they weirdly have very little screen time. Michael Gambon lasts for all of 30 seconds, Jeff Bridges’ character never leaves the headquarters, Halle Berry’s character functions only as a slightly more boring version of Merlin and Channing Tatum’s character remains cryogenically frozen for the vast majority of the film. It’s almost like they plonked them in the film just so they could show them in the trailer. It doesn’t really matter as such, but it does seem a terrible waste of some excellent acting talent.
There is, however, one cameo appearance that is not mentioned in the trailer. If you want to keep the cameo as a brilliant and slightly bizarre surprise for when you watch the film then kindly skip to the next paragraph. If not, then all comedic credit for this film has to be given to Sir Elton John. In fact he probably has more screen time than the majority of the aforementioned characters and boy does he steal the scenes. With all the ostentatious camp he could muster, Elton John had me cackling with laughter. It was a pleasant surprise.
The tracking device scene
Now I’m afraid we are going to have to address the elephant in the room: the tracking device scene. The smuttiness that I mentioned earlier reaches its climax (pardon the pun) in one of the most uncomfortable sex scenes I’ve seen on film. Actually sex scene is a strong way of putting it, quick fumble more appropriate. In short, Eggsy is required to put a tracking device on a lady called Clara (Poppy Delevingne) and the only way of doing it is by sticking a condom on his finger and sticking said finger in Poppy. Obviously that’s the only way a tracking device will work. Of course. Sure.
The way in which this highly uncomfortable moment is filmed is voyeuristic, uncomfortable and honestly just gross. I literally have no idea how this made it into the film. Did no one think, ‘hang on, this is weird’… no one? Part of me feels like they included it to prompt a disgusted, prude British reaction. Therefore I’m going to stop talking about it now because I feel like they’re listening. But seriously, it’s so gross and so weird.
Smutty, ridiculous and fun
Tracking device scene aside, the film is a bit of a mess but it’s an entertaining mess. It’s pretty trashy and it’s unfathomably smutty but it’s also a lot of fun. There are downfalls aplenty but it’s still a highly enjoyable watch and if you like the first film then you will like this one too.
If you’re a high brow, classy kinda film watcher then you definitely won’t like Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Not one bit. But we all need a bit of light entertainment here and there, so I’d say it’s worth a watch. Just make sure you go pee when the tracking device scene begins (hint: when Delevingne takes her clothes off). Save yourself the cringe.