Kingsman: The Secret Service is a modern update to Bond. It had all the cool gadgets, the Britishness, and the spy action to back it up. It was a sleeper hit in a sense. It flew under so many radars when it first came out, spreading like wildfire with good word of mouth. Is it even possible for the sequel to compare? Nope.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a huge letdown and disappointment. Not only does it not come close to being as good as the first movie but actually feels like a step back. The Golden Circle takes all the goodwill that the first movie worked so hard to cultivate and throws it all out the window. Within the first 20 minutes, everything that happened in the first movie doesn't matter. Not in the sense that it was underutilized or a missed opportunity, but the slate was wiped clean. All the lineage that you felt from the first installment, everything that made Kingsman feel so good was gone in an instant. Literally, everyone involved with Kingsman dies except for Eggsy and Merlin. EVERYONE. If that doesn't make you question the movie's direction, then buckle up buttercup and get ready for the downhill trip.
There are many points of criticism that I would love to level at the movie, starting with music choice. The movie tries to be like Guardians of the Galaxy with its song choices for the action scenes. The problem here is that the music is not that good and doesn't fit the action scenes at all. I can understand why the music was chosen, but it doesn't fit with the scenes. Whenever there is a cowboy in the fight sequence, it plays country music. Now I don't like country music but even if you did, I don't think you would want extremely graphic action to accompany, it just sends mixed messages. The action in the action sequences itself is also a problem. It all feels the same.
The first movie had different kinds of action scenes. Not in the sense of one person versus an army or one on one, but how those particular scenes were directed. This movie throws that out the window and directs all of the action scenes the same way. There was such a positive reaction to the church scene in the first movie, that all the big action sequences were directed exactly like that. It makes all the action scenes blend together, making hard to remember where one ends and another begins. Overall it's not a good problem to have.
This leads into pacing because this movie had horrible pacing. The action scenes were all grouped together at the end of the movie. This makes the whole beginning and middle parts really boring. So boring that during the movie I was thinking "I am so bored right now, when is the movie going to end. Oh wait, it just started basically". After the tiny action sequence, with bad music, there is no other engaging action scene for an hour or so. The biggest problem with this is that when The Golden Circle is not an action scene, nothing else truly important is going on. This leads into how the fond memory of the first movie is not used to its fullest potential.
There is only one moment that truly makes good on a Kingman sequel while the rest is just not really important. For example, when they bring back Harry in the movie it is the most uncelebratory reunion every. Finding out a mentor and colleague is alive after a year of thinking he is dead, that excitement is not played up at all. The characters barely care that he is alive and get over that fact very quickly.
I am going to end my rant here because it could go on for a couple pages if I don't stop.
Overall Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a sequel to the first movie only by name. The disservice that this movie has done to the first could be considered a crime. It is not the movie I was promised in its trailers, lacking the upbeat music with exciting spectacle. It is disjointed with moments versus well-drawn scenes and relies too much on what made the first movie good.