“You’ve got to be fucking kidding.”
While sitting at dinner with his royal girlfriend, Eggsy watches as the Kingsman headquarters is destroyed by a long range missile, taking with it everything the highly praised recruit has come to know about the organization. Lost and unsure of his future, he teams with Merlin to follow the doomsday protocol, a plan that leads them to a bottle of Statesman Whiskey.
That bottle, dated the same year as the Kingsman founding, sets in motion a run of events as the two men work their way to Kentucky, uncovering an allied operation that takes a different, subtle approach to the whole spy thing - not much of a surprise given their cover.
Matthew Vaughn returns to the director’s chair for the long awaited sequel to his 2014 original. Though the initial formula remains fairly intact, there is just enough alteration to give the sequel its own identity, expending the universe (and the star power) on its way to another fun (and vulgar) centered adventure.
Julianne Moore’s Poppy, a Harvard graduate who rules the drug cartel from her hideout in the heavily wooded terrain of Cambodia, serves as the film’s ruthless villain. In Cambodia she has created Poppy Land, a hilarious “community” that boasts a straightforward satire of the American Dream as she lives her life surrounded by machine gun laden guards, two robotic dogs and a legend by way of Elton John.
We are first introduced to Poppy through a recruitment interview that ends with a man’s untimely end by way of an oversized meat grinder. Minutes later the new recruit feasts on a perfectly cooked burger using the freshly ground meet, an uncomfortable situation for all involved as two legs remain visable in the grinder.
But it is that level of ridiculousness that fans of the original loved so much. It shouldn’t be a surprise that this time around is no different.
As expected, Vaughn puts a heavy emphasis on the comedic side of the the genre. Using both dialogue and situational humor to trigger an onslaught of one-linear and witty banter, the jokes hit (and occasionally miss) with rapid succession. Its a good thing. Much like the original, the story itself is more suited for a PG rated audience, both in complexity and creativity.
The James Bond situational play is still present here, though less obvious than before. Where things were often insinuated in the more family friendly franchise, the humor, sex, and violence here compliment the high powered action sequences to escalate things to a well deserved R classification.
Poppy’s play to legalize her drugs (using the cleverly worked “Save Lives, Legalize” tagline) and transition from unknown business tycoon to world renowned entrepreneur pushes our two friends to ban together to thwart her plan and duplicate the antidote. But a high rise gondola ride has everything spinning, leading our original Kingsman to the jungle to take the fight to the aspiring Times magazine cover model.
Filled with heart and emotion, the sequel’s narrative will not impress many over the age of twelve; however, its wit and humor prove to be its golden advantage. With mindless “fucks” and “shits” thrown out without much care, the entirely unrealistic story is able to turn the tables on itself, giving us all a a good laugh in the process.