If the trailers have been any indication, Kingsman: The Golden Circle looks like it will be an even crazier ride than its predecessor, Kingsman: The Secret Service. The first movie proved to be a critical and commercial success back in late 2014 and early 2015, so there have been high hopes that the sequel can similarly deliver. With The Golden Circle only days away from opening in theaters, reviews are starting to pour in, but unlike The Secret Service, reaction towards the follow-up has been decidedly more mixed. Starting off, CinemaBlend's own Mike Reyes awarded The Golden Circle four out of five stars, calling it "pure, unadulterated, high-octane fun" that kept the humor from the first movie and amped up the action. As he summarized:
Summer might be over, but Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the big-ticket blockbuster we could have used a couple months ago, as it's easily one of the most enjoyable sequels / action pictures of the year.
But not everyone was so positive towards the sequel. Entertainment Weekly's Chris Nashawaty gave Kingsman: The Golden Circle a C-, calling it "unsubtle, unrefreshing, and unnecessary."
Even approached with the watered-down expectations that one brings to a late-September Hollywood sequel, Matthew Vaughn's bespoke secret-agent follow-up is massively disappointing.
On the more receptive end of the spectrum, Todd McCarthy from The Hollywood Reporter complimented the "fervid madness" of Kingsman: The Golden Circle's writing, as well as the way director Matthew Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman make scenes that seem only "arbitrary" actually have narrative purpose.
Considerable shrewdness is applied to the conception and execution of nearly every scene to make this old spy stuff feel fresh, which it mostly does.
Robert Abele from The Wrap was one of the The Golden Circle's detractors, saying that it was a "bloated, inexplicably un-entertaining" follow-up to the first movie.
Now it's choppy, unapologetically dumb, and stuffed with sloppy digitized backdrops, to the point where I scrutinized Jeff Bridges to see if he was computer-rendered. The core holdovers --- Egerton, Strong, and Firth --- evince none of the spark they did when introducing their characters.
IGN's Jim Vejvoda commended Kingsman: The Golden Circle for remembering the "heart and humor" of The Secret Service in the midst of being "absurd, ultra-violent, and darkly humorous."
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is as cheeky, cartoonish, and crazy as its predecessor, but it's also commendably unafraid to demolish what had come before it if it's in service of the story.
Finally, Variety's Peter Debruge wasn't a fan of Kingsman: The Golden Circle's "silly" plot and how "outlandish" this series has become.
It is all aggressively stylized, abusively fast-paced and ear-bleedingly loud, relying so heavily on CGI that nothing - not one thing - seems to correspond to the real world.
Overall, it sounds like Kingsman: The Golden Circle is one of those movies that, while not a critical failure by any means, won't be for everyone. Those of you who've been eagerly waiting to see the sequel might still want to dedicate some time to see it, but if any of you have been turned off by the more negative reviews, don't forget that The LEGO Ninjago Movie is also opening this weekend.
Following the destruction of the Kingsman organization's headquarters in Great Britain, The Golden Circle follows Eggsy, Merlin and the surprisingly-still-alive Harry Hart heading to the United States to team up with their American counterparts, Statesman, to stop main antagonist Poppy Adams from carrying out her master plan for the mysterious Golden Circle crime syndicate. In addition to Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Sophie Cookson and Edward Holcroft reprising their respective roles, The Golden Circle's cast also includes Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Pedro Pascal, Jeff Bridges and Elton John.
You can judge Kingsman: The Golden Circle for yourself when it starts early screenings this Thursday evening. Don't forget to also look through our 2017 movie premiere guide to find out when the year's remaining theatrical offerings will be released.