Few movies come along that embody pure entertainment. Kingsmen: The Golden Circle is one of those movies. Pure entertainment isn’t a taboo phrase, like “just take out your brain”. To compare K2 (as I will now refer to it) to a series such as Tansformers, which is often referred to as mindless entertainment, is not accurate, because Transformers, not that this is a positive or negative endorsement of that series, is an excuse to get to the action sequences, K2 is a largely character driven series, with fun performances, quirky characters, real emotion, and action sequences that serve the plot, rather than pad the runtime.
So the first Kingsmen is one of my favorite movies made in the last 30 years, from an entertainment standpoint. To clarify, it has a nice and simple plot, characters with motivation that we understand, exhilarating action sequences that are creative and joyfully violent, and a nice and pleasant nod to a different era of story telling. K2 is the same idea, just bigger. Kingsmen is an origin tale, and K2 is an expansion of the story. I am a firm believer in the concept of the sequel, as long as the filmmakers put their heart into it, and this film certainly has that.
One of the big driving points of K2 is the emotion behind most of the character motivations/interactions. Kingsmen may be a throwback to 60s era James Bond, but it utilizes modern storytelling, which heavily relies on strong characters and the emotional connection we, as the audience, have to them. We want to like them, so we can feel a sense of achievement when they win. Opposition against our leads creates the drama for which we care about the characters. Harry and his bond with Eggsy, Eggsy and his bond with Tilde and Whiskey with a tragedy from his past. You get a sense that these are real people, despite the over the top action spy hero feats they perform. While they do perform such ridiculous feats, they come at times when you’re ready for them. It isn’t bloated with action, but when the action comes, it dazzles you to the point that it’s easy to forget that you are watching a character piece. It’s the kind of movie that serves you it’s met up front that makes you forget how perfectly balanced the entire meal, truly, is.
For the overall performances, everyone is fantastic: the distinguished and elegant gentleman, Colin Firth, the every man schlub, Taron Eagerton, the American cowboys Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges and Pedro Pascal, the joint duty of kindred spirit eggheads, Mark Strong and Halle Berry and the complete dedicated gonzo performance of psychopath 50s housewife/CEO Julianna Moore. It is a cavalcade of colorful characters that add a much needed variety to a film of this scope. It also pays a loving tribute to not only English customs, but it celebrates American customs. Now the Statesmen are portrayed with a Southern background, but it never portrays them as dumb hicks that like Pabst Blue Ribbon and shootin’ their boomsticks. It brings a smile to my face to see such a lack of cynicism in a film that is so violent, because the violence is the icing, and the human element is the actual cake.
Movies don’t always need a deeper meaning. It isn’t called the entertainment industry ironically. I have used the term “entertainment” a lot while describing this movie, but that doesn’t mean it is stupid, it really means that it keeps your attention. Your attention isn’t just kept with a bunch of side gags or explosions. A movie like Zodiac, which even has an elongated runtime, has neither of those things, yet constantly keeps you enthralled. K2 is easily my favorite film of the year and considering we’ve had films such as: Logan Lucky, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Logan and IT, I would say it is high praise. I can’t give it a perfect score because perfection in film is incredibly rare. All movies have flaws except the Rocketeer and Fraily, but this is all but complete perfection that makes a good guy film, dad film, and I’d say it even makes a good date movie.