If 2015's "Kingsman: The Secret Service" melded the absurdist and ribald with the serious makings of a James Bond adventure for the here and now, "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" is a bigger, longer, sillier sequel that pushes its spoofery to the next level. There are flashy gadgets galore (An aquatic car! An electric lasso that slices people in two! A gel pack with powers to regenerate brain cells!). There is a wider array of A-list cast members in supporting parts, plus legendary musician Elton John playing himself in an extended appearance destined to have viewers talking. The stakes are higher from the opening act, when Kingsman security is breached and recently appointed British spy Eggsy (Taron Eggerton) experiences a number of tragic casualties within his trusted circle. Writer-director Matthew Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman (2016's "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children") have given fans exactly what they likely want and expect from a follow-up, but their film is better when it is creatively devising fresh situations and conflicts for its characters rather than attempting to ape—and ultimately not matching—the first picture's most talked-about set-pieces.
Since last we met, Eggsy (Taron Eggerton) has grown more comfortable in his position as a world-saving secret agent even as he scarcely believes the radical turn his life has taken. From a directionless twenty-something screw-up to a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, he yearns to live up to his late mentor, Harry Hart (Colin Firth). When a mysterious concerted effort is made to destroy the Kingsman operation, Eggsy and trainer/field agent Merlin (Mark Strong) find some much-needed help in the form of their U.S. counterpart, the Kentucky-based Statesman. Under the guise of a major whiskey manufacturer, Statesman head Champagne (Jeff Bridges) and special agents Tequila (Channing Tatum) and Ginger Ale (Halle Berry) are happy to help their British friends. Alas, a more pressing national emergency rears its head when a debilitating, ultimately deadly, virus is unleashed in the widespread product of Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), the deranged leader of the world's biggest drug cartel. Tired of having to live in hiding—she has created her own 1950s-style town called Poppy Land in the jungles of Cambodia—Poppy hopes this unleashed epidemic for which only she holds the antidote will force the rapid mass legalization of all drugs.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review