The first reviews for “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” began rolling out Monday, but if fans are hoping the second film’s double-down on the original’s crazy wackiness would resonate with critics, they’ll come away disappointed.
With a Rotten Tomato score of 74% (as of this writing), some critics are calling it “excruciating,” “massively disappointing,” and “crazily overlong,” while those who liked it praise it for making spy film conventions “feel fresh,” though it is also “minor entertainment” apparently.
TheWrap’s Robert Abele calls it “pop idiocy,” a film that “struggles to justify its existence from scene to scene,” and “choppy, unapologetically dumb.”
Says the Guardian: “This crazily overlong and tiresome follow-up, however, doesn’t seem to have the first idea what to do with itself – not least when it comes to its much-vaunted all-star cast, the majority of whom are barely even in it.”
EW was similarly cold. “First things first. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is not a good movie. Even approached with the watered-down expectations that one brings to a late-September Hollywood sequel, Matthew Vaughn’s bespoke secret-agent follow-up is massively disappointing… It’s rare to see so much thrown at the screen and so little of it sticking.”
On the other hand, IndieWire is kinder, saying that “Vaughn’s action has never been better, but this is one story that doesn’t know when to quit, even when it’s ahead.” And according to The Verge, “the Golden Circle isn’t strong on brains or heart, but it has no shortage of guts.”
Overall, the consensus so far seems to be that the film tries hard, but doesn’t quite measure up to the original surprise hit. Directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Julianne Moore, Mark Strong, Channing Tatum, Pedro Pascal, Jeff Bridges and Halle Berry, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” hits theaters September 22.
See more reviews below.
Kate Erbland, IndieWire:
“The Golden Circle” is all about dilution, spinning off exciting ideas and storylines into further complications that take it further and further from its best bits. Moore’s having the time of her life, and so’s everyone else. Vaughn’s action has never been better, but this is one story that doesn’t know when to quit, even when it’s ahead.
Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice:
“So, it’s got more stars, more set pieces, more … stuff. The garish violence is still there, as is the profanity. Gone, however, is much of the creativity, the unpredictable, see-what-sticks depravity. The movie has its moments, but the bloat and the blandness take their toll.”
Chris Bumbray JoBlo:
“As minor entertainment, it’ll do, but it’s not a slam-bang sensation like the first. If KINGSMAN comes back for another romp, hopefully it’ll be with the same sense of energy and danger the first had.”
Kyle Anderson, Nerdist:
“Despite a whole lot of bet-hedging, there’s still a lot to enjoy about Kingsman: The Golden Circle, including a very hilarious extended cameo and some suitably bombastic set pieces. I’d certainly be happy with more Kingsman movies, because Egerton is a winning leading man and Vaughn’s action direction remains fantastic, but this movie feels like a victim of its unanticipated success. If the first Kingsman left you going “Wow!” this one leaves you saying “Hmm…cool.” And while it doesn’t reach the same hyperbolic heights as the first film, there are certainly worse things than being entertained for two hours.”
Todd McCarthy, THR:
“What seemed, at the outset, to be too, too much finally feels quite all right by the end. Still, there are lessons to be kept in mind: Except for the water-logged Thunderball, all the Connery Bond films ran less than two hours and were better for it, while the initial Indiana Jones and and first two Star Wars chapters were kept within a couple of minutes of two hours either way. If they can do it, future Kingsman outings certainly can, too, and would be better for it.”