Kingsman: Circle of Gold

Sep 21, 2017

Fun, raunch, glamor, CGI.  Amusing.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Grade: B

Director: Matthew Vaughan (Layer Cake)

Screenplay: Vaughan, Jane Goldman (Kick Ass)

Cast: Colin Firth (Magic in the Moonlight), Julianne Moore (Maggie’s Plan)

Rating: R

Runtime: 2hr 21 min

by John DeSando

“My name is Poppy Adams, CEO of the Golden Circle. We engage in an aggressive business strategy, invest in the latest technology and take strict, disciplinary action. . . .Our world leaders have let us all down, so we are coming out of the shadows and taking over.”Poppy (Julianne Moore)

This installment of the Kingsman spy spoof, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, is absurd beyond even prevailing satires of the spy genre.  It is rife with the usual outrageous car chases and equipment, no doubt homage to the much less mechanically-intricate James Bond series.  Yet, something else is afoot in this delightful comedy, something that makes a message where one usually never exists, say in Jason Bourne or Bond for that matter.

The odd turn of the screw is the denigration of drugs and the rapacious pharmaceutical industry. I know I have your interest, but I may not disclose too much, given that a fluffy film like this trades mostly on surface charms mostly enhanced by CGI. Ultimately, the seemingly random set pieces and wacky characters come together like a tight Savile Row suit.

Poppy’s mega company controls world-wide drugs and forces the president of the US to sign legislation that would legalize drugs so the pharms could expand markets. It’s almost counter intuitive to our usual notion that drugs must be busted except for medicinal purposes.

Along the way millions of users have been infected by Poppy’s Golden Circle so that her industry can provide the antidote as soon as the president orders the legalization. Splendid that the film shows the effects of addiction, to such an extent of physical and mental breakdown that a message may go forth to the young audience about the suffering of abuse.

Meanwhile Brit agents Harry (Colin Firth) and Eggsy (Taron Egerton) confront US booze company Statesman, a cover for spy work itself, and eventually both move on Poppy. Along the way are small roles by Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, and lo and behold, Elton John (You have to see him to believe him, though maybe not so much . . .).

(Also, a tacky moment of placing a tracking device in a babe’s underpants is just too far with the odd. Director Matthew Vaughan and writers stretched here and lost.)

In a light hearted and funny satire, those cameos are welcome amid the tropes, loud music, and absurdity. The cooperation of the Brit and US agencies with one of the  locations, a Bondian Swiss Alps ski resort, is a stew of laughs and gimmicks,  Just as James Bond would approve.

Now, successful director Matthew Vaughan should work on reducing the over two hour time. Under two does it better.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at