"Kingsman: The Golden Circle" is the sequel to the 2014 blockbuster "Kingsman: The Secret Service." While the first Kingsman was a surprise instant-classic, this second feature is messy but successful. Filmmaker Matthew Vaughn gave audiences a witty and explosive satire with his first installment, but this sequel lost its value with a lack of emotional investment and unrealistic sequences.

What 'Golden Circle' brought to the franchise

1. Statesmen. This second Kingsman film brought a whole new team of "Statesmen" to come along for the ride. This team of American spies includes:

  • Channing Tatum as "Tequila"
  • Pedro Pascal as "Whiskey"
  • Halle Berry as "Ginger"
  • Jeff Bridges as "Champ"

The new team brought charisma to the franchise and Tatum got to show off his hilarious dance moves for audiences once again.

Vaughn could have been used these big-name actors even more effectively. The final scene in "The Golden Circle" hinted at a bigger role for Tatum in the third installment.

2. Unexpected faces. Oscar winner Julianne Moore played sadistic villain/drug kingpin "Poppy." Audiences got to see Michael Gambon (Dumbledore) for a second, as the new "Arthur." And of course, no one was expecting to see Colin Firth back as "Harry" before the trailer ruined all the fun, but he played a pivotal role in this second installment.

3. Satire. "Kingsman" is very much a satire on James Bond movies -- or rather it's somewhere in between Bond and Austin Powers -- and Vaughn outdid Bond on several levels. "The Golden Circle" was successful in showing up Bond in the gadgets department, the cars, and even the women.

4. Elton John. He was hilarious, foul-mouthed, and audiences got to hear him sing a new version of "Saturday Night." John isn't known for his acting skills, but he was a great comic relief.

What was outdone by 'The Secret Service'

1. Too much mess. "The Secret Service" made one of the biggest messes look like a work of perfection in the church fight scene.

"The Golden Circle" turned the final act into a circus show with Elton John leading the pack. Though it was entertaining, it was plain weird.

2. Fight scene choreography. While "The Golden Circle" featured moments of awe -- most notably the scenes featuring "Whiskey" and his lasso -- its predecessor outdid the sequel. "The Secret Service" had great moments written into its script that played out to perfection on screen: The church fight, the skydiving scene, and Eggsy's final fight with Gazel.

3. Emotional investment. In the first film, the audience could feel the stakes raised as Eggsy went through the Kingsman training program. Even the puppies were put into danger, and it seemed as if the cute, cuddly partners were sentenced to death. A film needs a real sense of danger for an audience to feel emotionally invested.

This emotion was not felt in "The Golden Circle," with Vaughn focussing more on the over-the-top action, rather than adding real stakes. Two main characters even got shot in the head -- one in flashback form -- yet both returned to action. "The Golden Circle" was emotionally surface level.

Overall, a fun flick, but "The Golden Circle" lacks depth and emotion. The impressive cast and excellent directing save the film from mediocrity.