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What Critics Are Saying About Kingsman: The Golden Circle

The agents of Kingsman have finally returned to the silver screen in Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Featured in the well-loved original, the spy organization get stuck in tricky new situations, face off with never-before-seen big bads, and place at the forefront a ton of cheeky wit that's now trademark to the series. Taron Egerton and Colin Firth reprise their roles as Gary "Eggsy" Unwin and Harry Hart (also known as Galahad), with franchise newcomers Halle Barry and Channing Tatum playing Ginger Ale and Tequila, two leading members of the spy thriller's opposing agency, the Statesman. That all sounds well and good (and quite entertaining), but can the sequel live up to the near-flawless first film? 

Press sites have posted their official reviews of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and things look pretty mixed. Some question its outlandish perspective while others find contention with its plot and the creatives' inability to replicate the magic of surprise success that happened with Kingsman: The Secret Service just a few years ago. 

Nerdist writer Kyle Anderson commented that "the surprise hit is something Hollywood doesn't really know how to handle," and because of it, the Kingsman sequel leaves audiences "spending more time with characters [they] like, but losing a fair amount of the original's edge." That said, Anderson wrote that there's "still a lot to enjoy about Kingsman: The Golden Circle" and that he'd "certainly be happy with more Kingsman movies." 

One critic who wasn't impressed with the film was Entertainment Weekly's Chris Nashawaty, who called it an overly campy, "tonally schizophrenic barrage of idiotic plot twists, wasted star cameos, and over-the-top gags that aren't nearly as entertaining as their creators think they are." He likened the original Kingsman to "a dry martini of a joke," and the sequel to something more like a "Jack and Mountain Dew—unsubtle, unrefreshing, and unnecessary." Nashawaty gave the movie a C- overall. 

Variety's chief film critic Peter Debruge wrote that The Golden Circle is "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." He ended his thoughts on a sharp note: "The Kingsman series has gotten so outlandish that Moonraker suddenly looks plausible by comparison."

On the contrary, a number of critics applauded the fun and flighty nature of the follow-up. 

Jim Vejvoda at IGN particularly enjoyed the balance of sentimentality with sizzling action: "Director Matthew Vaughn has once again tailored a film that's an outlandish mix of over-the-top action, subversive social commentary, and oddly sweet character dynamics. As absurd, ultra-violent, and darkly humorous as it can get, The Golden Circle remembers that its heart and humor comes from remaining emotionally invested in its endearing protagonists."

ScreenRant's Molly Freeman wrote that The Golden Circle "doubles down on slick action and spy genre riffs, but adds enough fresh and fun elements to provide an exciting sequel," and shows "there is fun and enjoyment to be had in the further adventures of Eggsy and his new generation of spy film—and that the Kingsman franchise has serious potential staying power."

ScreenCrush critic Matt Singer stated that the sequel "continues its predecessor's colorful reinvention of campy '70s Bond tropes, and broadens the franchise's mythology to introduce a whole new group of spies," but also noted that the new characters and concepts don't offer a ton of intrigue to the film, which "is way too long and plodding in its middle act." However, Singer believes that fans will still love the returning heroes and "giddily vulgar comedy and action" reminiscent of the first film. 

You can draw your own conclusions about Kingsman: The Golden Circle when it hits theaters on September 22. Until then, check out the other movies you'll definitely want to see this fall.