KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE 7 out of 10; Directed by Matthew Vaughn; Written by Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman; Starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry and Channing Tatum; Rated R for sequences of strong violence, drug content, language throughout and some sexual material.y; Running time 141 minutes; In theaters September 22.

Matthew Vaughn has a knack for taking over-the-top, bloody comic book series and turning them into fun and interesting films. From Kick-Ass to the first Kingsman, most have come as surprises to audiences who weren’t sure what to expect or how the source material would translate to a different medium. With Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Vaughn is back with a fully original story, and two of your favorite bots are here to let everyone know if he pulled it off or if it falls prey to the sophomore slump.

Kelly: I don't think I saw single trailer for this movie, so I had no idea what to expect other than the fact that I was aware that Colin Firth would be in this film. And seeing the fate of his character in the last film, I had no idea how they would work that in other than flashbacks.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find out this film had everything: explosions, a secret lair with an old-fashioned Diner and mincer, lassos, Pedro Pascal, sadly southern clichés, and puppies!

At times bittersweet and surprisingly sentimental, this film also had over the top action sequences and a plot that would fit comfortably in any James Bond story.

Somehow the varying tones managed to work well and resulted in a fabulously fun movie that the audience seemed to love. 7 out of 10

Andy: This is by no means a sophomore slump, but it’s also not quite as good as the first. While the first Kingsman seemed more of a send-up of the gentleman spy movie, this is more of an homage, including elements lifted directly from James Bond.

But it also does what Vaughn does best with breakneck action sequences. An opening car chase immediately sets the pace for the film-- one which it doesn’t quite keep the rest of the movie until a final climactic fight. (Curse you, exposition and character development!!)

If I have a major complaint with this movie it’s the treatment of its female characters. I could give a pass to the first Kingsman because its finale showed that it was Roxy who was actually the most gifted spy and the one who actually saved the world. Roxy is mostly absent from the film except for a few moments in the first act. And the Statesman’s version of Merlin is played by Hallie Berry, who is given a criminally small amount to do in the movie. They may as well have named her “Babs Exposition” or “Ms. Convenient Plot Device.” Statesman is even more of a boys club than Kingsman, and she even points this out. However, this amounts to little more than “lampshading”-- pointing out sexism, but not doing anything about it.

The one exception to this is Julianne Moore, who plays the villain with unbridled glee. Like Samuel L. Jackson’s Valentine, she has a legitimate cause, and she isn’t wrong, necessarily. Apparently, it takes a drug kingpin (queenpin?) to point out the hypocrisy of our drug war, mass incarceration, etc. She also doesn’t fall into any of the tropes of female characters. 7 out of 10

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Tags: Matthew Vaughn , taron egerton , kingsman , spy movies , colin firth