Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) was one of the most surprisingly enjoyable movies I had seen in years. Went in with no expectations, and came out pumped up and quoting all the quick-witted lines. Now in the year 2017, director Matthew Vaughn returns as director for the highly-anticipated sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

It comes with a heavy heart that I report that once again a Kick-Ass (2010)…yes that is clever word-work…sequel opportunity has been bitten by disappointment and over-reaching once again. Kingsman: The Golden Circle follows the same paths that Kick-Ass 2 (2013) and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013) tripped upon; all three movies act like an SNL show, they are a series of skits that are appealing on their own…but fail to come together in a coherent fashion.

The action sequences in Kingsman: The Golden Circle…Awesome. The plot in Kingsman: The Golden Circle…Not so much.

It starts out like all the commercials and trailers dictate: The Kingsman organization is seemingly destroyed by an insane villain. All hope appears lost when Eggsy, played by Taron Egerton, and Merlin, played by Mark Strong, travel to the states looking for the aid of The Statesman.

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This is where the fault lines begin to show. The plot begins to jump like a like a rocking skipping over a lake; there are ripples of lack-of-character development and plot holes that made me yearn for the silky smooth story-telling of the Kingsman: The Secret Service.

There are too many convenient plot threads to connect seemingly far-fetched clues. Oh, this clue leads us to this sweet inaction which leads to this bad guy that leads to a meant-to-be meaningful death.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle draws back its predecessor in many ways. Most notably, Colin Firth returns as Harry Hart, Hanna Alström as Princess Tilde, and Edward Holcroft as Charlie. There are references to the actions of Valentine and his disease inducing technology throughout, as well as some clever writing subtleties clewing to the humor of the 2014 original. But for me personally, the nostalgia that Vaughn intertwines only makes me long to watch the original Eggsy coming of maturity tale.

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The inventiveness that made Kingsman: The Secret Service so matchless is absent from the sequel. It’s like Vaughn took all the GIF-able moments from the first of his soon-to-be trilogy and extended them like a sheet of bubble wrap. You poke all the bubbles and get some exciting jumps, but at the end you have a flat surface that’s not worth reusing, or in this case, re-watching.

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This is Vaughn’s least-appealing directorial enterprise. Anyone who has seen Layer Cake (2004) knows it’s a peak young Daniel Craig, and even the most literal personal can’t help be swept away with the fantasy of Stardust (2007). X-Men: First Class (2011) is the best X-Men movie besides Logan (2017), and you are now aware of my thoughts on Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Perhaps I went in with too high expectations. Perhaps I entered the theater too fond of the way the first Kingsman made me feel. But with an objective mindset, I can honestly say that Kingsman: The Golden Circle is nothing more than a throw away sequel that’s worth seeing only once.

Stanko Rating: C


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