I love origin comics. You get to learn who your main characters are, you should get a feel for the style of the comic right from that first issue. In a good origin, you instantly grok the interactions and position of power of the characters. And by the end of it, if you crave more… it has done it’s job.
However, as a comic geek. Do you just stop with the origin? Or do you keep reading. The fun thing about that next issue - you discover new villains, perhaps new heroes or twists on characters you loved. There’s always new sucky times, always coming back together. Radical changes in locations, but in great second issues… it can show you… this world is infinite.
For me… That’s what KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE does for me.
You don’t want to go into this film knowing the steps the story is going to take. There’s an immense amount of laughs and claps coming through the film. I wouldn’t say anything is quite as crazy cool as heads blowing up in a psychedelic Busby Berkeley number… But the Kentucky Bourbon Decanter headquarters and the campus headed by the Dude himself… The Champ, played by Jeff Bridges. The last time I was in Kentucky, I was at Fort Knox watching GOLDFINGER - and I always loved Auric Goldfinger’s headquarters… but THE STATESMAN’s headquarters - it is an absolutely delightful toy set. What I love is… I haven’t read THE SECRET SERVICE comics by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. I’ve let this comic come at me in Matthew Vaughn’s films from his and Jane Goldman’s scripts.
It is a raunchy universe that accepts the adult world that involves sex, drugs and rock & roll. It also has a conscience and cares for team members. In Fleming’s Bond universe - I loved Felix Leiter, CIA agent - But he always seemed more normal than Bond. More sedate. And I liked that, but wanted to see the more flamboyant American agents. The fantasy American agents - like Nick Fury and SHIELD - But the TV version of that just doesn’t embrace the fantasy spy aspect of the comics verse at all. But here in KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE - It is utterly delightful.
I love their gadgets, distinctly American in form. Bridges is a hoot. He doesn’t see much action at all, it’s more like… “We’ll see more of him later!” Instead we get Channing Tatum as Tequila, Halle Berry as Ginger and Pedro Pascal as Whiskey. Of them all, we’ll spend the most time with Pascal’s WHISKEY with an E. Pedro Pascal is just fucking great. When he fought the Mountain - I was - well unhappy with the results. He was a magnificent character and charismatic strutter upon that show - and he brings that kind of gravitas to this. I absolutely love his character design, the Reynolds stache and voice… the Errol Flynn sense of moxie - and the Lasso and Electric Whip - just float my boat. SO COOL. SO SO SO SO COOL! And every second he was on screen, my imagination was playing wild wanting to see what Tatum’s Tequila would do at full strength and out in the field. I mean really, because Pascal’s Whiskey is just awesome!
Now.. There’s the bad guys. The big foil for Eggsy in this film is Edward Holcroft’s Charlie - that total infected cock from the first film. The one that loses his arm but not his head in the first film. Well he’s back with a vengeance and a badass Terminator arm at the beginning, but then it gets modified later in the film to being something a bit 70’s toy awesome-y!!! A firing fist with a wire behind it. So cool to see on film. But that this character has been the fly in Eggsy’s ointment from Kingsman school - and now through his second attempt to save the world. Well, it’s grand. Just perfect call back and modification. The “Car fight” is extraordinary - and when Eggsy must plant a STATESMAN bug on Charlie’s Music Festival loving girlfriend… well, massive giggles. Movies just aren’t usually this freely raunchy and it is fun.
The overall plot of Julianne Moore’s Poppy, who controls “The Golden Circle” - which is essentially the entire world’s drug trade. She’s angry because she’s the most successful person in the world, but nobody can know about her, because her trade is illegal so she intends to blackmail the world. I’m not saying how she does it, but it is hysterical - and sweetly reminds me of BLUE SUNSHINE in a way. I love Julianne Moore. I love that she has an alternative meat burger joint in the jungle. I love that she has captured Elton John for her private satisfaction. FUCKING A! Kidnap Elton John and make him perform whatever the fuck you want! Now that’s EVIL GENIUS!. Her specific fetishes as a bad gal - well I love her taste in plans, initiation rites, commitment to the team.
I also love the evil President of the United States - and I love that it’s a totally different evil President, than the existing one. That this is a complete fantasy universe. It’s great!
That’s key to all of this… The joy of the KINGSMAN universe. As soon as the film was over, I was thinking about what next. What are the KINGSMAN and STATESMAN organizations in RUSSIA or CHINA or INDIA or GERMANY or CHILE or MEXICO or JAPAN or AUSTRALIA - you know, around the world. What would ALIENS in this universe be like? What do Space Stations look like? Are there undersea bases? There’s got to be a Volcano base somewhere.
KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE - just opens this universe up. Tells us there are partner organizations in the world. That there was another evil cabal beyond Samuel L Jackson’s! I enjoy the complications of dating Princess Tilde, having to impress the King and Queen of Sweden. The hit that the KINGSMAN group takes. Just all of it! It’s just a heap load of awesome!
Even at the end of the film - with you’ll see, dressed as he was… I just can’t wait to see if that goes somewhere in the next film.
Taron Egerton’s Eggsy absolutely can carry any movie. He’s great. Mark Strong’s Merlin is a constant delight. Colin Firth is an excellent Harry, if I do say so myself! I love that the last time I saw Björn Granath was in the original foreign GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO - and now he is the King of Sweden for Matthew Vaughn! And of course his queen was Lena Endre, who was great in all three of the original Lisbeth Salander films! It’s just a great touch of film genre memory casting!
Elton John. Folks - we have been cheated. After his performance in this - you’ll realize that Elton John has made 3 theatrical films. TOMMY, SPICE WORLD and KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE - and we have been robbed. That man would make most every film better on a metaphysically happy level. In this… I saw Elton John doing shit that I was just BEYOND DELIGHTED with. It’s great.
If you go into this film wanting to have a good time - I doubt there’s a way in hell you won’t. My favorite Matthew Vaughn film is still STARDUST - but I think that’s Neil Gaiman’s fault. And DeNiro. Definitely DeNiro and Pfeiffer. Definitely.
With the talk coming of Matthew Vaughn entertaining the notion of doing the next SUPERMAN stand alone movie, that I hope to all that is holy isn’t titled MAN OF STEEL 2… I love that Vaughn sees it as more upbeat and fun. That’s really what I desire from my Superman movies. Vaughn has a comic sensibility that just works. His KICKASS and KINGSMAN movies - are sheer blasts. You can almost turn it back into comics in your mind as you watch, they and colorful. They give two-shits about the Comic Code Authority, but are light in spirit - even if cannibalism may occur!
However, if Vaughn makes a FLASH GORDON movie - I might just say he could do that forever and I’d be delighted for always.
KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE is a sheer delightful second installment. I’m seeing it again this weekend!
Keep it cool,