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Kingsman: The Golden Circle by Henry Jackman & Matthew Margeson (Review)

posted Oct 19, 2017, 7:14 PM by Kaya Savas

Kingsman: The Secret Service was a surprise stylish hit from director Matthew Vaughn that brought cartoonish action and violence into the spy genre yet still made it have emotional weight and significance. The film was helped immensely by a fantastic score from Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson. The stylish Kingsman theme gave the movie its spy genre feel, and then the music really developed each character and their relationships while still building a very satisfying narrative arc filled with action. The second film expands on all of that, and in fact adds a lot more character and emotion into this second outing. Both the film and score work hand in hand for an extremely satisfying final result that not only has over the top action but lots of heart as well.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle’s narrative is truly anchored by the 3 leads with Eggsy, Harry and Merlin. Some great foreshadowing happens in the beginning as we hear a rendition of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” played on a bagpipe. Not only does it become Merlin’s theme in a way, it also sets us up to introduce the Statesman. The American counterpart to the Kingsman lends itself a lot of fun western-styled genre music, but it doesn’t ever get gimmicky or steal the spotlights from our trio. The central Kingsman theme is used heavily in this score, and my goodness is that fantastic. We get to hear that theme bent and molded into so many variations and it still has the power to send chills when it hits those great moments or even feel melancholic when it's trickled on a piano. Julianne Moore’s Poppy gets a great motif too, and it plays well when juxtaposed with our heroes’ musical material. When you list it all out it seems like there’s a lot of ingredients in the stew from John Denver, original theme, new themes, source music and even Elton John. But the final product makes everything work together seamlessly, it was such a strong musical effort that made everything feel so real and so grounded in reality no matter how ridiculous and over the top the plot got. The score truly is a fantastic expansion on the original in the best ways possible.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is able to take this stylish over the top spy action flick and somehow make it all about the characters. And by doing that, we get a score that has so much heart that it will surprise you how emotionally resonant it can get. This score is definitely a Matthew Margeson rodeo, and you can feel it in the music. While Henry’s thematic material anchors the points, it’s really Margeson’s ability to flesh out this score in impressive ways that make it so successful. And who knew that an orchestral arrangement of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” would work so well and provide the push for some organic emotions. The music is so tied to the characters that we easily believe all the insane action and that Elton John cameos are normal. The Kingsman universe is a fun and fully realized one thanks to Matthew Vaughn’s direction, and Henry and Matt’s superb music only helps bring the world and characters to vivid life.