Spy movies have never really been my thing, I watched the odd James Bond movie but never really got into them, something about them just made me switch off, I think it’s because they try so hard to be taken seriously, when their subject matter is so ridiculous. Not Kingsman though, it knows it’s premise is insane and it will happily revel in that fact.
The plot of Kingsman 2 is set roughly a year after the events of the first film, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is the top agent in the now reformed Kingsman and is dating the princess of Norway, so if you thought the revival of Colin Firth as Harry Hart would be the most ridiculous thing to happen, then think again. The open scene is Eggsy fighting a former Kingsman applicant turned cyborg in hand to robotic hand combat all while evading pursuit in a black mini cab and it’s still not the weirdest part.(Still not close to the weirdest)
After escaping his pursuers, Eggsy is informed by Merlin (Mark Strong) that he was attacked by “The Golden Circle” a drug cartel headed by the delightfully sinister Poppy (Julian Moore) and that they will investigate further. Queue massive missile attacks at the headquarters and home of every Kingsman, that strangely doesn’t get intercepted by the government or even reported on the news. As the only remaining agents, Merlin and Eggsy must head to the United States to seek help from The Statesman, The Kingsman’s American counterpart (and how American they are).
The thing I loved most about the first Kingsman movie was that it wasn’t afraid to look ridiculous, I mean it was about a mind hacking SIM card for fuck sake, and I need only say the words Kentucky church fight and I’m picturing Colin Firth punching right wing pensioners. So, it’s great to see the sequel keeping up that preposterous level of fun, weird robotic dogs? Check! Gun fu shoot outs? Check! Electro whip wielding cowboys? Mother-fucking Check! It has this amazing Saturday morning cartoon feel to it, in that they want to tell a fun story with kickass action, cars that turn in to submarines, god damn resurrection and they’re not going to let little things like science and plausibility get in the way.
And it’s not just the premise that is fun, the characters are fun too, I was concerned that now that Eggsy was a full agent, the writers might make his character a bit more serious, but one shit infested sewer swim later and all my fears were alleviated. But it’s not just “cheeky chappie” humour that Egerton does well, he was also great in the more heartfelt scenes, one scene in particular that stood out for me was when Eggsy saw Harry for the first time, only for Harry not to remember him. The shift in tone from joy to sadness is evident from the expressions on Egerton’s face and it really made me empathise with the character.
The Kingsman franchise is now 2 for 2 with awesome bad guys, Julian Moore as the main villain Poppy is a joy to watch. She is the perfect measure of hateable and loveable, while she is clearly a megalomaniacal, drug dealing lunatic, who delights in the pain of others, she makes her whole drug cartel thing, seem like nothing more than a mom and pops business that wants to compete with the big wigs. Whether she is doting on her killer robot dogs or cooing orders and death threats in a motherly voice, she never loses her composure, making her all the more threatening.(If looks could kill, I’d still stab you!)
The new characters that are introduced, in particular the “Statesman” are all great too, I was concerned that by adding so many new characters that the movie would feel stretched out and they would all be fighting for screen time. Luckily that’s not the case at all, they are each touched on just enough to intrigue but not at the expense of another, it honestly feels like the writers have built a world and are now populating it.
With all that being said, Kingsman 2 is not without its issues, it honestly doesn’t need to be 2 hours and 21 minutes long, especially considering there are several scenes that pretty much go nowhere and don’t serve the plot in any tangible way. Luckily Kingsman 2 keeps a fast-enough pace that the audience don’t have enough time to question the dumber scenes.
And I do wish certain characters were given more screen time, although this is probably because a sequel is planned, and the writers have to hold some things back, which again can be forgiven because I’d love to see more of this world.
Fun. That should be the main takeaway from this review, yes Kingsman 2 does have kick ass, action packed fight scenes, some great tongue in cheek humour, as well as a few genuinely heart-warming moments, but above all else it is fun. It has somehow married together the absurdity of a Saturday morning cartoon, the over the top action and characters of a comic book and the stylishness of a James Bond movie. Any movie with Deus Ex Elton John is worth your time!