I feel slightly spoiled by the first panel I got to go to for San Diego Comic-Con 2017. It was in the infamous Hall H, which houses the go to panels of the weekend, and it was a surprise to me that it would even be there until a day or two before I took off for the event. The panel in question was for Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the sequel to the surprisingly effective Kingsman: The Secret Service. I knew with such a fun cast that it would be a great panel but I wasn’t prepared for how great it would be.
The wait wasn’t too long to get in. After about an hour, I was seated firmly in my seat and greeted with Kingsman swag (a nice shirt that is reminiscent of one worn in the film and a fidget spinner). The panel began with the moderator, Jonathan Ross, coming to the stage to greet fans.
He was suitably British and droll, which was perfect for what we were in for. Once on stage, we were introduced to an Archer inspired opening, which featured an animated Taron Egerton and Archer himself in a very funny take on Archer being the greatest spy in the world. The opening had the audience in stitches and bought some nice levity to open up the panel. Mr. Ross then informed us that director Matthew Vaughn would not be attending because he was finishing up the film in London. He then introduced a video message from the director who said enough of the film was completed to show us a few scenes we would enjoy, including the opening of the film.
The opening sequence is a highly stylized action sequence that will definitely get the audience on their feet. Much of the opening sequence can be found in the trailer that debuted yesterday. Watch it here. Taron Egerton gets into a highly intense car chase/fight as “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince provides the perfect backdrop for the sequence. There were a few moments of action that definitely had the crowd cheering. The opening was about 5 minutes or so and definitely throws you back into the action you experienced with the first film.
Now it’s time to introduce the cast. It began with star Taron Egerton followed by Colin Firth. Both actors received great cheers but they were rivaled by Channing Tatum, who received legit roars from the audience. Halle Berry was up next and while she is no stranger to Comic-Con, she looked game for a good time. Pedro Pascal was next to be introduced as the person behind me immediately shouted him out for his role on Narcos. Lastly, it was The Dude himself, Jeff Bridges, who nearly received the same applause that Tatum was greeted with. It’s immediate right away they the cast has great chemistry, even Pascal, Tatum, Berry, and Bridges who are newcomers to the franchise.
The Q&A was pretty basic but the responses made it less routine. Egerton is charming without being smug. I loved watching Colin Firth fumble around not spoiling why he’s in the sequel after what happened to him in the first film. He handled not revealing spoilers well but I suspect one more question would’ve pushed him over the edge. Channing Tatum was actually pretty low key but he had moments of natural humor. It was nice to hear he was a true fan of the first film and that’s why he wanted to be in the sequel. It’s obvious that Egerton and Tatum share a solid bromance based on their banter, which is perfect for the next scene we are introduced to.
The next sequence introduces Tatum’s character, complete with a convincing southern accent. The sequence is littered with light comedy but it turns into a full fledged fight between Egerton and Tatum that leaves the former on his back. The actors joked beforehand about how strong Tatum is compared to Egerton and this scene proves it. We next turn to Halle Berry, who explains her character is much like Mark Strongsville because she’s the tech and brains of the Statesman crew. Berry is very natural on the panel and seems like she loves being there but her best moment comes later.
Pedro Pascal is up next and he was fun telling us his character is very good with a lasso and he also jokes that the four months he was in London, the British performers informed him that he was pronouncing it wrong. I don’t know much about him but the room loved him. They also loved Jeff Bridges, who displayed why he’s the epitome of cool. This guy is so laid back and he clearly has fun with his persona. His presence leads them to discuss bourbon, which is featured heavily in the film, and then leads to the cast being poured shots.
Everyone is poured a typical shot, except for Berry who is given a half pint glass of full by Channing Tatum. When someone asks her what’s more British: her role in the Bond film Die Another Day or The Kingsman she tries to deflect the question to Colin Firth but Tatum challenges her to take her shot if she won’t answer the question. Berry takes him up on it and chugs her half a pint of bourbon. She receives crazy applause from the crowd and what follows is even more hilarious. After a few moments, it’s clear she’s tipsy and she can no longer answer questions about the film. It becomes a running joke of the cast to make her drink more, which further shows the witty chemistry they all possess. This is a cast that had fun working together.
This brings us to the last scene introducing the new villain played by Julianne Moore. I know from an inside source she wanted to be there and it almost happened but work commitments prevented it. Don’t worry though! Her scene made up for her absence. Has she played evil before? If not, she should do it more because she plays it with a sweet viciousness that is palpable. Let’s just say the scene involves a henchman who fails her, a meat grinder and his replacement. The girls next to me didn’t like his demise but it was a darkly funny scene that was truly memorable.
The last thing we did at the panel was a group selfie wearing our shirts that we’ll all lie and say yeah that’s me on the far right. It was a fitting end to the panel though. It proved this franchise loves its fans and the cast shares that love with us. When it was all over, all I could think was I hope all the panels are like this because they truly set the bar high opening in Hall H.