I love how Poppy has this sadistically smiling nature to her evilness with the way she throws her old henchmen in a meatgrinder and forces her new henchmen to eat her hench-burgers. Also surprising is the reaction of the President, who is ecstatic that Poppy’s evil scheme will wipe out all the drug users. As with the other actors, Greenwood seems to be having a ball with what could have been a nothing role.
The film has a lot of fun stuff, but a chunk of it seems to be lifted from the previous film. The best part of The Secret Service was the unforgettable moment when Colin Firth lays waste to an entire church of hypnotized killers. There are three scenes of similar speed and violence in The Golden Circle, but they don’t pack the same bite when repeated, despite the deeper chomp with more inventive violence. Eggsy fought an assassin with blades for legs in the previous film, but now he fights a less impressive handicap of an assassin with a cybernetic arm. And while one main character’s death came as shocking in The Secret Service, this film features another big death that is given an overly long exit where they sing a country song before exploding.
The Golden Circle won’t improve or add to the Kingsman franchise, but it still has fun within its own wacky world of dapper spies, quirky villains and giddy violence. There’s some fantastically creative action sequences, most notably a scene where Eggsy and Jack Daniels are trapped in a runaway gondola lift that picks up speed while the inside spins them around like a centrifuge. The sets are fun and are made great use of in a scene where the giant scissors of a ‘50s barbershop is used to impale two henchmen. The actors, though forced to speak more vulgarity than before, still have some great chemistry and energy to their performances. And, if nothing else, the film is worth it for the greatest use of a celebrity cameo since Bill Murray in Zombieland.