Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Movie Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle (R – 141 minutes)

I was surprised by how much I liked Kingsman: the Secret Service in 2014, despite having been a fan of several Matthew Vaughn movies including Layer Cake and Stardust. It was almost a James Bond spoof, with lots of campy violence and action as Eggsy, a street-wise tough, was indoctrinated into the Kingsman, an independent intelligence agency based out of a tailor shop in London.  With the assistance of his mentor, Harry (who was killed in the process), he successfully saved the world from Richmond Valentine’s plan to cull the human population of the world by releasing a free sim card that sent out radio frequency waves that made everyone homicidal maniacs and only those who Valentine chose would survive thanks to a little chip implanted in their heads.  Eggsy and the Kingsman saved the day by reversing the signal, and everyone with the chip had their head exploded.  It was absolute crazy fun. Check out the Honest Trailer from Screen Junkies below:

This time around, things are just as crazy, but less fun.  Eggsy is doing just fine as a spy, working with the Kingsman, Roxy, and Merlin (their version of Q) while wooing his girlfriend, the crown Princess of Sweden, Tilde.  This movie starts with Eggsy tussling with an ex-Kingman recruit, Charlie, who lost an arm during the last movie.  Well, now he has a prosthetic, which pops off during the fight, and manages to hack the Kingsman system. This leads to all Kingsman headquarters everywhere being wiped out while Eggsy is at dinner with Tilde and her parents. He finds that Merlin is fine, but Roxy and his dog, and his friend who was dogsitting, are dead.  He and Merlin follow a ‘doomsday protocol’ that leads them to a whiskey distillery in Kentucky run by ‘Statesman’, which they swiftly learn is their counterpart organization.  Not only that, but Statesman has Harry, who they apparently rescued after he was shot in the first movie.  This is not a spoiler, as it has been in every trailer (the marketing for this movie was omnipresent and gave away far too much).  Harry has amnesia, and is totally useless, until Eggsy reminds him who he was by threatening to shoot a puppy, a callback to the puppy-shooting fake-out bit from the first movie (which I hated there, and continue to hate here – surely there was another way to demonstrate loyalty?).

They learn that the person behind the attack is Poppy Adams, a drug kingpin who runs the largest drug cartel in the world, and has laced all her recreational drugs with poison, and will only release the antidote once the President of the U.S. legalizes all recreational drugs, so that she can be a legitimate businesswoman, and recognized for her greatness.  No, seriously, that’s her plan. The remaining Kingsman have to work together with their newly found Statesman allies to find the antidote and stop Poppy. 

Matthew Vaughn’s signature slow-mo crazed action sequences are still on display here, and yes, the hand to hand combat scenes are fantastic.  The issue is that while the first movie had just the right amount of camp and silly mixed with over-the-top action and performances, this movie seems to turn all of that up another notch – which goes too far and makes the movie disjointed and almost uncomfortable to watch.  There is little to no logic in anyone’s plan (there are several parties each with their own plans), Harry’s reintroduction feels forced, there are too many characters, and too many side missions.

  • Taron Egerton once again plays Eggsy and he is very good in that role, but in a strange way for the lead of the movie, has very little growth character-wise.  He is game with the material, but the material is odd.

  • Edward Holcroft returns as Charlie, and was certainly a good choice for the main henchman for Poppy.  The hand to hand battles between he and Eggsy were exciting and well done.

  • Colin Firth returns as Harry, who has amnesia for a bit, then spends the rest of the movie trying to get back in the swing of things while hallucinating butterflies.  I think the movie would have been stronger without him – not his fault, just no real reason for the character to be back, and lessened the impact of one of the most shocking moments in the first movie.

  • Julianne Moore plays Poppy Adams, the drug mogul who lives in a recreated 50’s town in the middle of the Cambodian jungle.  Her performance was great, but her plan is ridiculous.  

  • Mark Strong returns as Merlin, and does a wonderful job of supporting Eggsy and trying to keep everyone on task.

  • Hanna Alstrom returns as Tilde, I’m not sure this side-storyline was necessary either, but without it, Eggsy would literally have no character arc whatsoever.
  • In terms of the Statesman crew, they are led by Jeff Bridges, who is doing the same character he has been playing since True Grit except for a change here, he has no mustache.  He has very little to do but promise to help the Kingsman and tell his agents where to go while spouting odd southern metaphors.

  • Pedro Pascal plays agent Whiskey, and he was wonderful with what he was given, but again, what he was given was nonsense.  His plan doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I did enjoy his lasso work.

  • Channing Tatum has a glorified cameo as Agent Tequila.  This is a little confusing, because all the marketing features Tatum heavily, when really – it’s more of a Pedro Pascal vehicle.

  • Halle Berry plays Ginger Ale, their tech person, so she gets some paired scenes with Merlin that are charming and fun.

  • Elton John plays Elton John, and may have been the best part of the movie.

Vaughn has stated he would do another one with the Rock as the villain.  There’s also the possibility of a Statesman spin-off with Tatum actually in it.  Who knows what will come next.  This one did have some fun moments, some great action – but was way too long, and just over did it.  Here’s hoping if they do another one, it is shorter and a little tighter story-wise.
6 out of 10.  Loved the action, wasn’t thrilled with the story.

Bonus -
Here's the LAMBcast review of the movie that I joined to discuss the movie with other LAMB members!   https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/lambcast/episodes/2017-09-27T01_04_09-07_00
Seventh Son is a particularly terrible movie with both Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore in it - be sure to check that out; 

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