The easy trap blockbuster sequels fall into are “hidden jokes.” Referencing to its predecessor so much, that new viewers don’t understand, and the returning fans get recycled jokes. While the story of Kingsman: The Golden Circle begins very soon after the first film, there is enough exposition to get one up to speed quickly, as well as new material to enjoy.

Kingsman is a satisfying sequel, full of new characters and twists, but is a rather exhausting and ever spinning wheel. After the new primary villain Poppy (played by Julianne Moore) takes out the Kingsman headquarters, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) are pushed to meet their American “cousins”: the Statesmen (Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, and Pedro Pascal).

The CGI battles are bigger and bolder- the camera swings in new ways as super spy gadgets work their magic. An electrifying lasso, a baseball hand grenade, a machine gun/rocket launcher/bulletproof shield briefcase- anything in the Kingsman world could be a hidden weapon, and there is always excitement when a new trick explodes on screen.

The movie also takes a moment for political commentary- from the War on Drugs to the current United States administration. But more so, the fact that the women made up barely a third of the main cast might not have been as intentional as telling. Cast as damsels in distress, helping hands, and a villain- the role of a “Kingsman” or “Statesman” doesn’t quite have enough room for a “Woman.”

Overall, the story is a little predictable, but the acting is genuine. Mark Strong delivers a strong performance, and Taron Eggleton’s passion for the Kingsman is obvious. Be sure to watch out for cameos, including a surprise knight appearance.

Make sure to allow some time for this adventure – during 141 minutes, the twists may keep you on your toes until you fall over.

Livi’s review – 3.5/5 stars

Poster courtesy of 20th Century Fox Studio