Welcome to Monsoon-a-day.
Where I watch and review a movie a day. Or whenever I fucking feel like it.
Mark Millar is the perfect writer to adapt, as long as you just take the core concept of his books and leave everything else. He’s a bit juvenile in his writing with most of the material either consisting of graphic violence, gross out humor or unnecessary subject matter that seems to be included just to get a rise out of the reader. He’s a gifted writer who has a ton of great ideas but he just can’t help himself. He has to be as extreme as possible much to the detriment of the story.
Matthew Vaughn (along with his frequent collaborator Jane Goldman) seem to have cracked the code on how to properly adapt him. Kick-ass was a surprise hit and is frequently referred to as one of the best comic book adaptations and the first Kingsman almost completely reworked the book to create a crazy My Fair Lady/James Bond hybrid that was equal parts crazy and subversive. It embraced the cliches and tropes of the genre and added an edge that reinvigorated the conventions.
Where the current run of James Bond films feel like they’re running on fumes, Kingsman was a fresh new take that made Bond look like an out of touch dinosaur.
How does the new Golden Circle compare to the original? Well, to answer that question, I need to ask you a question. Do you like the films of Robert Rodriguez? Your answer is directly proportionate to the amount of enjoyment you’ll find in this film. If you dig his over-the-top style, you’ll most likely like this film. If you appreciate a handful of his stuff, you’ll find this either middle of the road or disappointing and if you can’t stand him, brother, this ain’t the movie for you.
Without being directed or even influenced by him, Rodriguez’s finger prints are all over this puppy. To use his filmography as an analogy, the first Kingsman was Desperado and The Golden Circle is Once upon a time in Mexico. Just like that film, It has an unnecessarily large cast, an unbelievably convoluted plot, far too many subplots, insane action scenes and a strong emphasis on style over substance.
For many of you, that’s all you need to hear to make up your mind but if you’re like me, the craziness makes up for the flaws. I dig Rodriguez. I don’t always connect to everything he releases but the man has a vision. A crazy, hyper realistic vision that grabs your suspension of disbelief by the throat and shakes it like a wild dog. He revels in the over the top and that’s exactly where The Golden Circle lives.
It’s not without its many, many flaws, which I’ll get to in a second, but it’s taking the James Bond approach of “the sequel needs to be bigger than the one before it” and cranking that to 11. Everything is bigger. The set pieces are bigger, the villains and their plans are bigger, the plot is bigger. But the bigger you are, the bigger your flaws are.
Without revealing too much, the plot is about the Kingsman teaming up with their American counterpart the Statesman to locate the mysterious organization referred to as the Golden Circle. On paper, that sounds incredibly simplistic and it is but there’s far too many cooks in this kitchen. Along with the main plot of locating the Circle, there’s a relationship subplot, Eggy’s friends, the American branch, the main villain who not only recreated a 1950’s era city atop of a hidden Mayan temple, which is guarded by robotic dogs but also kidnapped a certain famous pop star and it also dedicates time to explaining the sudden appearance of a dead character from the first one. There’s a fuck ton of shit in this film.
The plot is typical James Bond-y type shenanigans with the prerequisite extravagant villain and that’s all peachs and gravy, it’s almost everything else that’s unneeded. There’s a scene involving a concert that’s about 5-8 minutes long, that could’ve been completely removed without effecting the film in the slightest. There’s about 2-3 scenes involving his old mates that is unnecessary, and was the certain dead character actually needed? The film bends over backwards so hard trying to explain how they lived, that it almost snaps in two. It’s unneeded and robs the first film of its most emotionally powerful moment. It doesn’t kill the film but I think it would’ve been more effective if it wasn’t included.
Another issue I have, is the way the fight scenes were edited this time. The first had one of the greatest fight scenes I’ve ever seen in the church fight but this film’s fights all feel Frankensteined together. You can tell the actors are all doing the work but they’re all CGI’d together to make them look like they were filmed in one take and the effect makes it look like a poorly rendered video game cutscene.
At the end of the day, Kingsman 2 is a lot of fun but only if you like the genre, like Rodriguez and more importantly, like cheese.
The film is like the biggest plate of nachos you’ve ever seen. It’s got all the cheese you want but at the end of the day, it’s a huge snack masquerading as a meal.
Below this line be spoilers. You’ve been warned.
Since I’m a huge fan of the genre and I think this film has the potential to carry the torch the James Bond franchise dropped a long time, I’m going to offer my ideas on what this film should’ve done better and what they should do in the next installment. Because why the fuck not.
I think this film should’ve skipped right over the relationship bullshit between Eggsy and the princess and went straight to them planning the wedding. Yes, the films title would then have a cliched double meaning as the Golden Circle could also refer to the wedding rings but then you’d have a stronger, more mature relationship at the center and you could eliminate the false drama created from the concert and have the drama come from him having to save her. It’s a small change but I think it would’ve benefited both characters.
And here’s my pitch for the inevitable sequel. Instead of creating a new story from scratch, they should actually adapt another one of Millar’s books: Nemesis.
Nemesis is essentially “what if the joker was Batman?” It’s about a super rich, super resourceful villain that has all of the abilities of Batman but the insanity of the Joker. It’s a fun comic but at the very end, you find out that the main villain actually got all of his gadgets, henchmen and lair from a “Fantasy Island” type optimization. You come to them with your fantasy, and with the right amount of money, they’ll make it happen.
The idea of a shadowy organization that grants super rich individuals the ability to become super villains would easily fit into Kingsman. It would explain how Samuel l. Jackson and Julianne Moore’s characters have seemingly unlimited resources and would give the franchise their equivalent to SPECTRE.
There you go Hollywood. Take my free ideas. I don’t mind.