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The Antelope

A golden sequel indeed

A golden sequel indeed

“Manners maketh man. Do you know what that means? Then let me teach you a lesson.” – Harry Hart

Kaitlin Schneider

Antelope staff

ALERT: Spoilers for “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” follow.

Like Colin Firth’s magnificent character, Harry Hart said in “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Give me a far-fetched theatrical plot any day.”

Of course, he was referring to the James Bond films that have altered the course of spy and espionage cinema, but it is safe to say that particular sentiment applies to the Kingsman series as well.

If you can handle the ridiculous plot, this movie is spectacular.

Based on a graphic novel, these movies do not just parody the titular works of espionage, but they simultaneously act as a tribute too. “The Golden Circle” did not disappoint. Although it does not surpass the original, it was on the same level: an engaged, over-the-top production that had me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire 141 minutes.

The sequel does not shy away from trying new things, but the movie constantly hearkens back to the predecessor, one aspect I adored about the new release. But there is such a thing as too many callbacks.

Taking place a year after the events in the first film, the protagonist, pleb-turned-gentleman spy, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) has taken up the mantle of Galahad after Hart’s harrowing demise. The movie opens with a brilliant title sequence that is subtle, yet fitting, and sets the bar for other spectacular transitions throughout the movie. The creators of “The Golden Circle” did not hesitate to dive right into the action.

The movie showed Eggsy leaving the tailor shop after another hard day’s work, only to bring a past antagonist and rejected Kingsman candidate, Charlie Hesketh (Edward Holcroft) back on-screen in a brilliant, yet ridiculous taxi chase that grabbed audience attention in a split second.

In fact, the car chase was so intense that one had to look carefully to spot the poor CGI, but with that much action going on in the first few minutes of taking my seat, it is almost not even worth mentioning.

The pacing takes a bit of a breather to focus on what Unwin was been up to since the loss of Harry.  In addition to taking up Galahad’s position, some new challenges have been presented: forming a relationship with Princess Tilde (seen very briefly in the first film, mostly toward the end) and meeting her parents, the King and Queen of Sweden.

The slow pace did not last long and the next global issue after Valentine’s intended genocide appears in the form of Poppy, a psychopathic genius who has monopolized the drug trade. Julianne Moore appeared to have channeled her inner Dolores Umbridge, creating the right kind of monstrous villain recipe with a perfect amount of sugar. With a lot more spice and maybe some human flesh added to the mix, Poppy manages to take the entire world hostage by poisoning her merchandise. Kingsman, then has the duty to save the world, because the president certainly isn’t going to do it.

Poppy wants to legalize all drugs to place narcotics onto an equal playing field with liquor. Unfortunately, there are two Kingsman agents left after the attack: Unwin and Merlin (Mark Strong). They find the solution to their current Doomsday Protocol at the bottom of a “Statesman” bottle of bourbon, which leads them to Louisville.  Seeing Strong’s drunk Merlin was worth the price of admission!

From there, the shenanigans do not stop, as they have discovered an American equivalent to Kingsman, whose handles are based on beverages: their leader Champagne (Jeff Bridges), Agent Tequila (Channing Tatum), Agent Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and their own techy Ginger Ale (Halle Berry). The lasso-throwing, pistol-twirling agents of the south also hold a deep secret: they saved Harry Hart’s life after Richmond Valentine allegedly murdered him, and they have been keeping him safe in their headquarters for the last year.

However, Hart suffers from retrograde amnesia, not remembering a clue about his training or his time as a Kingsman. The initial shock of Harry, my favorite character from the first film, being reduced to this nearly had me in tears. Luckily I held back my tears, because more tragic events occurred that were worth the waterworks.

After a jump-start involving Eggsy and a puppy, Harry somewhat regains normality, but he still has episodes. 

Harry lacks adequate depth perception. Although these scenes are depressing, they still offer the peculiar dark brand of humor this film series so aptly employs. Like the overall tone of the film itself, there are several strict binaries that play into the fabric of the story, acting simultaneously. 

The two agencies join forces to save the world but at a heavy price.  Audiences are forced to say goodbye to the beloved Merlin, who finally donned one of those gorgeous, bespoke, Kingsman suits before his swan song, leading up to the final confrontation with Poppy. This John Denver-loving, sweater-wearing techy will forever be in viewer’s hearts, especially since Strong’s portrayal and final blaze of glory finally freed the waterworks.

Overall, this was a great movie, and fits right in with the first of the series. On top of the intriguing heroes, add in the daunting megalomaniac with her own ‘50s-themed Cambodian island, even more epic spy gadgets and toys, a winding plot, some drastically misunderstood physics, robotic dogs, cybernetic cronies, a dope orange smoking jacket and Elton John, and you’re in for a wild ride, just like the one Whiskey and Eggsy suffered through in the mountains of Italy. (Hopefully the whole movie does not make you as nauseous as this scene does!)

Sure to keep you hooked throughout, laughing one second, then crying the next, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is a sequel done right.

Of course, I must take away points because of the rushed killing-off of everyone in the beginning. No doubt other audience members would agree that killing J.B. just was not acceptable in the slightest. Of course, most people would say that the physics and the CGI make no sense, but that’s not new to this series.

Remember what Harry Hart said at the end of “The Golden Circle:” “It’s not the end. It’s not the beginning. But it may just be the end of the beginning.” Will we see Prince Eggsy, Galahad and the rest of the cast back on the silver screen in the future? Only time will tell.

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is now playing in theaters. 

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