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What exactly was so special about Kingsman: The Secret Service to warrant a sequel this overlong, bloated & nonsensical? Sure, the first movie carried a fresh vibe and was gleeful & entertaining to an extent but everything that contributed to its success and made it such a fun ride is lost in this follow-up chapter that’s purely an exercise in excess. And a terrible one at that.

Set one year after the events of the first film, Kingsman: The Golden Circle finds Eggsy teaming up with the only other surviving Kingsman agent after their headquarters is completely destroyed. As the two head out to find the ones responsible, they stumble upon an allied spy organization & a familiar face, but both agencies must work together if they are to save the world from a new threat.

Co-written & directed by Matthew Vaughn (best known for Kick-Ass & X-Men: First Class), the sequel is an absolute farce from beginning to end that takes the over-the-top action of its predecessor to such levels that it becomes downright ridiculous. The new characters are awfully written & poorly integrated into the storyline while the returning ones have nothing new to offer.

Everything that was fresh & kinetic about the first movie is exaggerated to such an extent that it loses its value here. The overly-stylized action itself fails to create the same level of interest and is a tad too cartoonish this time. The story revels in foolishness but crosses that line beyond which things aren’t fun but a chore to sit through. And its 141 minutes runtime doesn’t help the cause either, for it is severely felt.

Coming to the performances, Kingsman: The Golden Circle finds Taron Edgerton, Mark Strong & Colin Firth reprising their roles while the new additions include Julianne Moore, Pedro Pascal, Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry & Elton John, and other than Strong, every one of them is terrible in their given roles. The stupidly named characters they play are not at all interesting, and it’s clear that they all only signed up for easy money.

On an overall scale, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is an exceptionally inferior entry in the Kingsman series and is one of the worst films of the year. A dumbed down version of the original that doesn’t even remember what made its predecessor click and falls flat in nearly all filmmaking departments, Vaughn’s latest is a dull, insipid & mindless piece of work that’s too full of itself, and certainly isn’t worth your time & money. In a word, forgettable.

★½

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