Kingsman Director Matthew Vaughn Wanted Elton John in the First Film

Twentieth Century Fox

Twentieth Century Fox

"I had a six-minute shorter cut of the film and suddenly it felt like a three-hour movie", said Vaughn. One is straight-up superhero fare, the other a parody of that concept, and the latter has more in common with the outlandish James Bond movies than the world of capes and spandex.

Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle is in theaters Friday, September 22.

Following the successful limited global IMAX run of its predecessor in 2015, Kingsman: The Golden Circle reunites director Matthew Vaughn with stars Colin Firth, Taron Egerton and Mark Strong, along with franchise newcomers Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle opens nationwide today.

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This time around up-and-coming agent Eggsy (Taren Egerton, "Eddie the Eagle") teams up with tech expert Merlin (Mark Strong, "The Imitation Game") to find out who's killed off the Kingsmen and for what goal.

Poppy's villainy compels Eggsy and tech guru Merlin (Mark Strong) to seek help from the Statesmen, American counterparts bankrolled by Kentucky whiskey money. Their codenames are synonymous with alcoholic beverages (Jeff Bridges plays the boss Champagne, Channing Tatum plays Tequila, Pedro Pascal plays Whiskey and Halle Berry stars as Ginger Ale), their hand grenades are disguised as baseballs, their lassos double as deadly stun weapons and their Southern accents are nearly thicker than our British heroes'. "The Golden Circle" flushes nearly all of that goodwill down the loo with a cluttered story, a massive cast and choppy action scenes so computer-driven they look like test footage at a tech conference.

After Colin Firth's super-spy rescued Elton John from danger, the pop star thanked him by offering backstage passes to his next show.

Kingsman: The Secret Service was one of the surprise hits of 2014.

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Since the trailers and posters have already revealed that Harry did not actually die in the first film as we all had thought, it's not a spoiler to say he's back. Polly's missile attack wiped out all of Kingsman's headquarters, resources, and most of its agents.

Continuing to work from a comic book series by Matt Millar and Dave Gibbons, Vaughn edges Eggsy toward a more committed relationship with his live-in girlfriend, Tilde (Hanna Alstrom), a Swedish princess he rescued from peril in the first outing.

The new menu item, the Poppy Burger, was named after Moore's character and the questionable burger she prepared in the film.

When the aforementioned British rock star gets about as much screen time as Bridges and Tatum combined, the great cast of "Golden Circle" loses a little of its luster, and frankly, the toxin angle feels a little like a rehash, combined with its milquetoast social commentary.

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