NEW Movies: “Kingsman 2” and “The Snowman”

By | October 30, 2017

Two junk thrillers that are still in theaters, but not quite good enough to get their own reviews…

Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle…Although the film is financially successul (sort-of), I can’t imagine people are really that thrilled when they walk out of the theater. This is a disappointment to the original “Kingsman” film in almost every way and keeps squandering a lot of great elements: What film would cast Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, and Channing Tatum and then barely use them? Why does it inexplicably resurrect Colin Firth’s badass spy (the first film’s most dangerous element was killing him off after a show-stopping church massacre) and have him grapple with amnesia for much of the movie? [This is the second “Kingsman” film that hasn’t really showcased Firth in ultimate badass mode, largely the marketing hook for the first “Kingsman” film.] And just like the first film, what the villain is up to—Julianne Moore’s inexplicably Martha Stewart-esque drug kingpin, but just why is she Betty Homemaker?—is pretty interesting, but we spend most of the movie saddled with Taron Edgerton’s bland hero, who is now even more so since getting committed to the Princess of Sweden. There’s a reason James Bond was never tied down—Eggsy literally has a near-panic attack just having to finger a woman that’s not his girlfriend—and this feels like an over-reaction to the hysterical criticism the first “Kingsman” got for an anal sex joke. Most of the best scenes involve “Game of Thrones”‘s effortlessly charismatic Pedro Pascal, but if you’ve ever seen a Matthew Vaughan film (“Kingsman,” “Kick-Ass,” “Kick-Ass 2”) before, well, you know how stand-out characters wind up…Grade: D+

The Snowman…I didn’t think it was possible to watch a movie worse than “Kingsman 2” on the very same day, but somehow this Michael Fassbender-flop managed it. You can see why Fassbender would agree to play Detective Harry Hole (of Norwegian crime fiction fame) and possibly headline an intelligent, exotic-set thriller franchise. [Especially, since Daniel Craig may not be ready to hang up his Bond tuxedo just yet.] The only problem is that handsome photography, a beautiful setting, and strong supporting cast (including Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Chloe Sevigney, and J.K. Simmons) keeps getting sidetracked by a meandering, hard-to-follow script loaded with cliches like “hard-drinking detective,” the usual suspects when it comes to red herrings, and a serial killer who has a—shocking!—personal connection to the detective. Add in Val Kilmer in one of the most bizarre supporting turns in recent years (did Val have a stroke recently? not being snarky, I just hadn’t heard that if he did), and this is a real disappointment. Grade: D

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