When Kingsman: The Secret Service debuted in early 2015, it was a breath of fresh air for a tired genre that was long overdue for a stylish makeover. Director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class) continued his prowess in successfully adapting comic book-based properties, recruiting a veteran cast with the likes of Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Caine, as well as the star-in-the-making inclusion of Taron Egerton. The Secret Service provided an over-the-top, balls-to-the-wall send-up of spy movies, becoming one of the year’s best surprises.
And yet, even with how high I was on the first film, I went into the new sequel with some reservations. I was unsure that itwould truly innovate on the series and was also worried that it would succumb to the unfortunate sequel-itis that mires many blockbuster films, resulting in a predictable and unimaginative follow-up. While The Golden Circle is certainly less original than its precursor story was, the action remains inventive and the plentiful jokes land more often than not, making for an enjoyably ridiculous romp that’s a worthwhile addition to the franchise.
Veteran action star Keanu Reeves returns to embody his titular role in John Wick: Chapter Two, which proves to be a fantastic follow-up to the 2014 sleeper-hit that single-handedly revived Reeves’ stagnant career.
John Wick 2 expands upon all of the aspects that made its predecessor so invigorating, and is a near-perfect example for what a film sequel should be. John Wick was brimming with style, featured some of the best gun-fighting I’d ever seen on film, and was set in an immensely intriguing world. It was light on story, but that didn’t matter, because even though we didn’t know it yet, that first film gave us everything we wanted from an action flick: John Wick being an absolute badass. John Wick 2 presents its audience with all of this and then some.
The longer runtime of John Wick 2 allows for an even higher body count, as well as a more fleshed-out story this time around. John Wick is ready to settle back into retirement after his previous encounter forced him to return to a dangerous world of assassination. However, getting out of this line of work is never as easy as Wick would like it to be.