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Soundtrack review: Kingsman: The golden circle (Henry Jackman & Matthew Margeson – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Kingsman: The golden circle (Henry Jackman & Matthew Margeson – 2017)

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“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is a 2017 action spy comedy film co-produced and directed by Matthew Vaughn and written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman. It is a sequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), which is based on the comic book series Kingsman, created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar. The film features Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Edward Holcroft and Sophie Cookson reprising their roles from the first film, with Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, Elton John, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges joining the cast. The plot follows the Kingsman needing to team up with their American counterparts, the Statesman, after the world is held hostage by a new threat. I really liked the score of the first movie and Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson returned for this one.

Whenever a spy movie comes out, be it comedy or just action I am excited because the music usually is extremely fun; the classical jazzy spy sound charms me every single time. The sequel to Kingsman starts with a Celtic inspired piece, “Eggsy is back” which turns into an extremely exciting action theme that already makes me love the score right from the start. This is what I came here for. I can imagine this cue playing over the opening montage of the movie, a montage that shows our hero performing all sorts of stunts before we get into the current story. These are 6 minutes of some of the most spectacular action music I heard this year. It could also work as a suite to promote this score. This is the type of cue that makes me happy that I am into film music.

The Celtic motif that opened the score returns on a more elegiac tone in “Memoirs of Henry”, a cue that tones down the excitement with emotion. I like this small motif and the way it’s used in various versions throughout the score because it makes “Kingsman” sound like a James Bond score where the main vocal theme recurs in many cues to anchor it to the movie. The more I listen to this score the more I notice similarities with Bond scores and this is a very good thing. A Bond like score with the added bonus of the RCP power and use of the trademark musical buildup that Hans Zimmer basically invented, I couldn’t ask for more. There are times when I get super excited during this score and this makes me impatient during the very few filler cues like “Tequila” or “The lepidopterist”.

At times the composers use acoustic guitar to give the feeling of the Far West and to add a bit of comedy in the score; I am sure this is only done to match the story. Still for me “Kingsman: The golden circle” is an all out suspenseful action score which shines in the moments when Jackman and Margeson go epic. With Thomas Newman at the helm for the past two movies I had actually been missing an old school Bond like score and I am satisfied with this one; I don’t know if this was the intention of the composers but the way the orchestral action pieces are built and they way the suspenseful interludes like “Cabin ambush” sound make me think of that franchise.

Even if it is a bit too long at 75 minutes (a sturdy 50 would have worked better for me), “Kingsman: The golden circle” is an upgrade to the first score. With epic moments that surpass the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe scores and with that James Bond touch this is an exciting album that gets the blood pumping and sounds exactly as a spy action comedy should. There was no jazz in here but Jackman and Margeson knew how to compensate with other spy elements.

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 42 / 76

Album excellence: 56%

Highlights:
Eggsy Is Back
Memories of Harry
Poppy
Incoming Missiles
Gingerís First Test
Dancing Disease
The Gondola Experience
Horrific News Report
Temple Battle
Not in Vain
A Man Who’s Honorable
Kingsman Hoedown

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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