The Reviews are In: Is ‘Kingsman’ 2 Matthew Vaughn’s First Big Blunder?

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(Photo: 20th Century Fox)

Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle is not a universally popular movie.

That’s fine – no film can possibly connect with all audiences. That said, things are a pretty mixed bag for Matthew Vaughn’s spy spoof sequel (try saying that three times fast while drunk!), with reviewers throwing up a wide range of opinions that suggest this movie probably isn’t going to be quite as popular as the original.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle currently sits at a rather lackluster 68% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an even less impressive average rating of 5.7/10. This is even more disappointing when you factor in the near-universal truth that early reviews for franchise movies tend to be a little higher than average, simply because the people who got to see the movie before everyone else are pleased as punch to get to see the film early.

Among the criticisms of the movie are arguments that the film is bloated, overly focused on CGI, and just too wishy-washy. Essentially, critics are complaining that this movie lacks heart and depth, presumably having forgotten that the original Kingsman features a McDonald’s product placement so shallow that it’s amazing the movie wasn’t just called McKingsman from the start.

It’s worth comparing Kingsman: The Golden Circle with the original movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service. The first film has a 74% aggregate score on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 6.7/10. Critics weren’t exactly fond of this movie either, when it first released. Sure, it was popular enough among reviewers, but it hardly won universal praise from professional critics.

On the other hand, a dedicated subset of the movie’s audience loved The Golden Circle. It’s definitely one of those cult classic movies that earned a solid following even after all the middling reviews hit the fan.

Source: 20th Century Fox

The film made a lot of money at the box office (around $400 million) on a relatively modest budget, so it wasn’t as if this film lacked for supporters. In the years since its release, even more fans have emerged, falling in love with the movie’s trashy parody vibe that perfectly lampoons classic James Bond movies.

It makes sense that the Kingsman movies aren’t exactly the kind of films that critics are going to go nuts for. Heck, a good chunk of the first movie is pretty much built entirely around the justification for an anal sex joke that only the most immature of thirteen-year-olds could possibly enjoy without irony.

Kingsman: The Secret Service is a dumb movie, but it’s also very clever in its own way. That’s always been Matthew Vaughn’s strength; winking to the audience throughout controlled mayhem, as a ridiculous movie plays out in such a tongue-in-cheek manner that half the fun is just enjoying the silliness.

It makes sense that The Golden Circle will continue this general attitude, and it’s similarly very logical that critics won’t necessarily care for it. If anything, it makes sense for Kingsman 2 to suffer through lower average review scores, as critics have, by now, convinced themselves that the first movie was better than they initially thought.

Source: 20th Century Fox

Kingsman came out, and critics thought it was forgettable. Audiences disagreed so loudly that critics decided it was a cool movie after all. Now, Kingsman 2 is here, and critics are saying it’s not as good as the first film, which they now love.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that maybe reviews can’t be trusted on this one. If you think Kingsman: The Golden Circle is up your alley, then by all means, ignore the movie’s Rotten Tomato score and go have a good time.

If, on the other hand, you thought the princess butt joke from The Secret Service was groan-worthy, maybe this isn’t for you – everything points to Kingsman 2 being more of the same.