Three of director Matthew Vaughn’s films have spawned sequels, but Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the only one he’s helmed himself.
And what a godsend that decision is – the film has all the pizzazz and gloriously over-the-top action as its predecessor.
The Golden Circle picks up an unspecified length of time after the events of the Kingsman: The Secret Service, with Eggsy (Taron Egerton, as appealing as ever) now occupying the mantle of secret spy agent Galahad after his mentor’s (apparent) death.
A series of targeted attacks wipes out the majority of the Kingsman spy organisation, leaving behind just Eggsy and gadget-man Merlin (the incomparable Mark Strong, Sherlock Holmes).
The pair must travel to America to seek help from their cross-pond counterparts: the Statesmen.
The organisations must work together to take down this film’s super-villain – drug cartel leader Poppy (Julianne Moore, Crazy Stupid Love).
Poppy is a very different villain to the first film’s Valentine, played by Samuel L Jackson.
Poppy delivers her threats with girlish giggles and flirtation and she seems more than a little unhinged.
Also joining the cast this time around are Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Channing Tatum (Logan Lucky), Halle Berry (X-Men), Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) and Poppy Delevingne (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword).
The true scene-stealer, however, is a much more familiar name: Sir Elton John.
The man behind Tiny Dancer, Crocodile Rock and Bennie and the Jets has a ridiculously brilliant role as himself, held captive by Poppy at her secret hideout.
Sir Elton is hilarious and plays on his public persona with great results.
The Golden Circle doesn’t have the novelty or pack quite the punch the first film did, but it is still a cracking good time and filled with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.
It recognises and parodies a bunch more spy tropes – like secret nefarious bases in snowy locations and physically-altered villainous sidekicks.
Egerton is once again brilliant as Eggsy and if this doesn’t solidify him as one of Hollywood’s brightest young prospects nothing will.
Forget James Bond – Kingsman is the spy series everyone should be watching.