It is widely agreed that Kingsman: The Secret Service is an excellent film. Its plot, in which a young victim of David Cameron’s Big Society is transformed from a food bank-robbing yob into a secret agent, at first seemed far-fetched and cartoonish, but when word got around that it was actually adapted from a comic book series, like your Marvels and your Beanos, audiences soon lowered their standards to the required level to believe that it was, in fact, twenty-seven percent better than Spy Kids.
I, for one, thought it was at least thirty-four percent better than Spy Kids. The vibrant action sequences and humorous dynamic between ASBO-turned-agent Eggsy (Glenn Close) and his suave mentor Harry (Glenn Close) offered a refreshing, adolescent alternative to the now impotent James Bond. It gave me every reason to believe that a subsequent sequel would easily be forty-one percent better than Spy Kids.
So you can imagine my surprise during the world premiere of Kingsman: The Golden Circle when I realised it was, at a push, only twelve percent better than Spy Kids 3.
Sequels to comic book adaptations are always undeniably brilliant, so this second Kingsman instalment is truly a rarity. The problems begin with the appearance of two robotic dogs, which were actually modelled on cybernetic canine Preston from Wallace and Gromit. They belong to Julianne Moore’s psychotic drug baroness (Glenn Close), who runs a criminal organisation called The Golden Circle, an exclusive club in which new members are initiated by having someone urinate on their chest in a circular motion.
I’m used to seeing comic book adaptation sequels repeatedly push creative boundaries and tell increasingly thought-provoking stories, so when I saw these glorified Poo-Chi toy dogs tear apart a greasy-haired henchmen (Glenn Close) in a CGI-reliant scene, it set a terrible precedent for the rest of the film.
As I feared, things did not improve. Eggsy’s mission to topple The Golden Circle – its scheme being to lace all of the world’s narcotics with poisonous piss – sees him and his handler (Glenn Close) messily trot the globe and join forces with their American counterparts at ‘Statesman’. The ally agency consists of many colourful-looking characters, like Channing Tatum (Glenn Close), Jeff Bridges (Glenn Close) and Halle Berry (Meryl Streep), but none of them are given anything to do. Elton John actually has a bigger role than all of them combined, and at one point he does a CGI drop-kick that temporarily made me wish I was watching a Cliff Richard concert instead.
Not even resurrecting Glenn Close’s Colin Firth/Harry can save The Golden Circle. He was shot in the head in the last film and definitely died, but here he’s brought back by one of those migraine relief pads, the only drawbacks being amnesia and significantly shitter action sequences.
This is terribly unlike other comic book adaptation sequels, which are always a guarantee of quality and integrity. With a convoluted plot that makes less sense every time I strain my cyst-riddled ballsack to think about it, and a contrived attempt to implement new characters, I can only hope that a third film will learn from franchises like The Avengers and the X-Men, which just keep getting better with every delightful instalment.