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The Highland Echo

Review: “Kingsman” delivers in theaters

Kalleen Rose Ozanic, Editor-in-Chief

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As a feature of the fall film dump season, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” was better than I expected. The film was released in the post-summer frenzy of movie releases, but still before the winter film season where movies vie for the Academy’s attention. In spite of this, I found “Kingsman” to be enthralling. The movie is the second installment of the film series started by “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” Audiences raved over the first film, seeing it as a welcome change in the spy/thriller genre, as it tested the boundaries of a serious action film while incorporated humorous elements. As a feature of the fall film dump season, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” was better than I expected. The film was released in the post-summer frenzy of movie releases, but still before the winter film season where movies vie for the Academy’s attention. In spite of this, I found “Kingsman” to be enthralling. The movie is the second installment of the film series started by “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” Audiences raved over the first film, seeing it as a welcome change in the spy/thriller genre, as it tested the boundaries of a serious action film while incorporated humorous elements.

“The Golden Circle,” was directed by Matthew Vaughn, who has defied action film expectations in his other works, including “Kickass” and “Kickass 2,” which also engaged audiences with comical and fiery antics. While “The Golden Circle” was no masterpiece, is was thoroughly enjoyable to watch for the sake of watching; not all movies need to be analyzed with a scrupulous eye.

“The Golden Circle” broke box office records in South Korea and amassed $553 million in global revenue, so this movie wasn’t a disappointment to moviegoers. It was a raucous amount of fun, with a killer soundtrack. Elton John was a significantly foul-mouthed and humorous character who was key to the progression of events in the movie. I don’t believe there was a single one of John’s scenes that did not produce massive amounts of laughter from the audience. On the other hand, this ain’t no puff piece. I will proceed to be a serious writer.

While some may argue that the visual effects of the film were campy and exaggerated, it is important to note that such effects are key to Matthew Vaughn’s style.  In his previous films, many of which are based off of comic books, Vaughn pays homage to the style of this graphic media with the visual effects of his films. The visual effects are rather cartoonish and have a shaky-cam sort of appearance to them, which is sometimes hard to follow, but, on the whole, enjoyable. I appreciate the director’s nods to his base, despite the movies being loosely based on the comic books, as best.

Aside from not being faithful to its origins in comic books, “Kingsman:The Golden Circle” isn’t even faithful to its own film franchise. **SPOILER ALERT!

In the first film major character Harry Hart, portrayed by Colin Firth, is killed off in the latter half of the movie. This is an instance of “fridging,” where a character is killed to shuttle the main character into emotional development and, in line with the stereotype, become a true hero. This is the crux of the film, as it allows Taron Egerton’s Eggsy Unwin to assume responsibility and become a hero. While audiences were disappointed with Hart’s death, it was reasonable and audience’s were able to see past it.

Yet in the new film, Harry Hart was unexpectedly revived only for the plot’s sake. Eggsy’s rival from the first installment was also revived in order to present a character for Eggsy to directly fight with. On  the flip side, a handful of significant characters were killed off in an explosion in the first fifteen minutes of the movie to provide and emotional baseline and propel the movie forward. While it is understandable that certain events are necessary to plot, it became clear that the film was sullied by such indiscriminate resurrections and deaths.

With acknowledgement to these details, it is also appropriate to mention that “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is not meant to be taken seriously; not by a long shot. The first film makes this clearer still. “The Secret Service” was a direct and blatant satire of the spy/thriller genre, right down to the complicated cocktails. One could see the inherent silliness in certain aspects of mainstream action films that they would usually be swept away in, because the film made such obvious jokes at the expense of the genre. While “The Golden Circle: is an action comedy, it is far less of a satire than its predecessor. It is understandable though, how difficult it is to make a satire of the same genre twice, in the same film franchise. This is not too egregious of a complaint.

In all, one should not let the downfalls of “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” distract from the fun experience of watching the movie. It is thoroughly enjoyable and is quite hilarious, though inappropriate at times. This is certainly not a movie for young children. But if you like spy movies, action, and a bunch of laughs, definitely hit the theater to see “Kingsman” while you still can!

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The student news site of West Milford Township High School
Review: “Kingsman” delivers in theaters