‘Kingsman’ makes a dicey second move

One of the basic rules of moviemaking is that you have to play fair with your audience, particularly in a sequel … since you’ve set down certain things already and, therefore, certain expectations.

Director Matthew Vaughn (“Layer Cake,” “Kick-Ass”) evidently hasn’t heard that – or if he has, it doesn’t matter to him – since his spy sequel “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” conveniently ignores realism to do what it wants. That may be disconcerting to fans of the first film, though some notable actors get to have fun with what they’re given here.

They include returnee Colin Firth, and let’s just say that if you saw the first “Kingsman,” you may be surprised to see him back. His character was the handler of British agent-in-training Taron Egerton the first time, but now, he’s the one in need of handling, based on what happened to him in the original picture. Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry and Channing Tatum up the star quotient here as American operatives who try to put him back in business by jolting his memory bank.

Taron Egerton (l-r), Colin Firth, and Pedro Pascal star in “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”

Julianne Moore is the enemy in question here, obviously having a grand time diverting from her more serious work to play a drug dealer who tries to blackmail the U.S. government into letting her go legal. Of course, it’s up to our heroes to stop her plot to contaminate the world’s drug supply – with only her possessing the antidote – and the action gets pretty frantic.

That’s in keeping with a movie that’s frantic in general, and also overlong – but it’s still good that it’s long enough to give Elton John time for an appearance. It adds to the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink feel that the film eventually evokes, and while those who know Vaughn’s work may not be surprised by that approach, it still could throw those who thought the “Kingsman” series might follow a traditionally linear and sequential form of storytelling. Um, not quite.

We still won’t have James Bond back for a while, so fans of spy adventures should be grateful for anything that’s delivered in the genre in the meantime … but with “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” it’s not inaccurate to say that some of the initial glitter has worn off.

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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