Poppy (Julianne Moore) has become a monopoly when it comes to the world’s illicit drug supply. She is ruthless, demanding absolute loyalty and compliance from those who work for her. She has contaminated her entire supply with a virus that will kill anyone who has used it. She has promised an antidote as long as her demands are met.
Before the Kingsman can start working towards a way to stop Poppy, their headquarters are blown up. Eggsy (Taron Egerton) teams up with a group known as Statesman. Statesman is the American equivalent of the Kingsman, a small group made up of Champ (Jeff Bridges), Tequila (Channing Tatum), Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), and Ginger (Halle Barry).
As the number of victims of Poppy’s drugs grows, and the deadline nears, the stakes get higher. The Kingsman and Statesman team is joined by Harry (Colin Firth), Eggsy’s mentor who was thought to be dead, to stop Poppy before millions die from her drugs.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle picks up shortly after where Kingsman: The Secret Service ended. Fortunately, when the Kingsman team needs help, Statesman is there to step up and help.
Taron Egerton is back as Eggsy. He is no longer just a recruit learning his way. This time, he is leading the charge. He adds a touch of class to the spy game. Colin Firth, whose character Harry was thought to have been executed at the end of the last film, is back beside Eggsy. After being left for dead, he isn’t quite the man he used to be. Firth walks the line between elite super spy and a man not quite ready for the field the way only he can. Julianne Moore plays the right level of unhinged to make for an entertaining villain, even if she is a bit over the top.
New to the fray are the members of Statesman. Pedro Pascal has a roughness to him that translates well to his character. I would have liked to see more of Channing Tatum. He has shown he can fit into this kind of film, but he is sadly underused. Halle Barry and Jeff Bridges, along for the ride, don’t add much to the film, but they serve their purpose.
The story is a bit beyond believability, to be honest. The deranged head of a drug cartel has taken over the world market and is threatening to kill countless innocent people for her own gain. Considering the first film centered around Samuel L. Jackson trying to kill of most of humanity with the promise of free cell phones, this plot fits right in with the kind of film these are. It really is just an excuse to showcase the action. It runs at break neck speed at times, but never seems out of control. What is missing in most spy movies these days are all the “gadgets” I grew up with. From machine gun briefcases, to combination shield/rifle umbrellas, to electrified whips, Kingsman isn’t shy about using them. Sure, some of the technology is a little far-fetched, but it’s all in fun.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is one of those few sequels that lives up to its predecessor. With the same tone, humor, and good old-fashioned, over the top spy feel as the first, the almost 2 1/2 hour run time flies by. If you enjoyed the first Kingsman, you will definitely like The Golden Circle.