Glowing Blue Core Alert: Spoilers Ahead.
Lazy Nerd Disclaimer: I saw this movie looking over someone’s shoulder on an airplane. I didn’t have sound. I’ve also had slightly too much coffee.
Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle was one of the stupidest movies I’ve ever seen. I was actually annoyed for the rest of the day. Its curiously wonderful cast of actors featuring Julianne Moore, Colin Firth and Halle Berry coalesces around an absurd CGI-driven plot with tired übermensch fight scenes that you probably see five times each day before breakfast. You’ll forgive the Nietzschean reference here, but I’m in kind of a nihilistic mood after seeing this fulminating pile of monkey-shit.
Julianne Moore hides out in some heavily fortified retro hamburger joint protected by two robot hounds. For some reason, she’s hellbent on destroying humanity. For some reason, Elton John is there.
I gather, as I peer balefully over 21E’s shoulder, that there are two classes of good-guys: the Americans who are dressed like cowboys, and the British who are dressed like, well, Bertie Wooster. They all sport ridiculous suspension-of-disbelief fighting moves. The American good-guys all carry some sort of lasso that can decapitate you and glows like a lightsaber. Everyone here is super strong, with insane reflexes and Matrix-style martial arts. Bullet-time abounds. Human heads end up in juicers and body parts go flying. The violence is really kind of horrifying in its lighthearted casualness.
Now as an aside, I want to say a word on fight scenes in modern movies: I’m fed up to my eyeballs with crazy superhuman fight scenes. And I’m just going to say this and betray my age: older movies did fight scenes better. Am I biased in this opinion? Probably. But am I right? Absolutely. The Matrix, for instance, spends half the movie building the mystique over its reality-bending martial arts. At the finale when Neo stops bullets in mid-air, you’re just about ready to lose your goddamned shit. Contrast that with steaming fly-bait like Kingsman 2 where every Tom, Dick and Harry can just casually throw baddies across the room or catch super-sonic throwing knifes. The more they ratchet up the action, the heavier my eyelids get. Kingsman 2 makes The Phantom Menace look like Lethal Weapon 3.
That last sentence made sense, don’t spend too much time on it. Kingsman 2 also confirmed a suspicion I have that surreptitiously watching movies over someone’s shoulder and missing out on the sound is an excellent acid test. I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane this way and I was positively enchanted. It was actually worse with sound when I saw it again later. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was excellent without sound and even more excellent with it.
So there you have it. Spare yourself the headache. Whatever cleverness the directors had with playing British and American stereotypes off each other has been bleached, processed, injected with corn syrup and pushed onto schoolchildren in service of agribusiness lobbyists for the Diabetic Apocalypse.
Lazy Nerd Says: I wish I had more hands to give this movie more thumbs-down.