Critics Consensus

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Is a Flat Follow-Up

Plus, The LEGO Ninjago Movie stumbles, Friend Request is worth ignoring, and Stronger and Battle of the Sexes are Certified Fresh.

by | September 21, 2017 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have a sequel-sized dose of over-the-top spy action (Kingsman: The Golden Circle, starring Taron Egerton and Julianne Moore), the expansion of a cinematic universe built from plastic bricks (The LEGO Ninjago Movie, featuring the voices of Dave Franco and Justin Theroux), and your aunt’s worst fears about social media come true (Friend Request, featuring the voices of Alcia Debnam-Carey and William Moseley). What are the critics saying?

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) 51%

He may not be a household name for non-comics readers, but Mark Millar’s work has inspired a growing number of screen adaptations, including Wanted, the Kick-Ass franchise, and Kingsman: The Secret Service — which gets its own sequel this week in the form of Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Another gleefully over-the-top sendup of the spy thriller genre, this installment keeps its tongue firmly in cheek while upping the action, doubling down on the heavily stylized violence, and reuniting members of the original cast (some of whom seem to be blithely disobeying the laws of nature). Sadly, critics say it all adds up to a disappointingly hollow spectacle; although diehard fans of the first film and viewers in the mood for cheerfully tasteless humor might find it worth a trip to the theater, this Kingsman‘s mad dash to outdo its predecessor comes at the expense of the infectious spirit that made it a hit.

The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017) 56%

It was awfully easy to be cynical about the idea of The LEGO Movie, but the film’s clever humor, infectiously anarchic spirit, and eye-catching animation proved you can turn a feature-length toy commercial into compelling — and even downright moving — viewing. Three years later, we’ve got ourselves a whole LEGO cinematic universe, which expands to include one of the plastic brickmaker’s more popular offshoots with this weekend’s The LEGO Ninjago Movie. Based on the Ninjago toy and TV mythology, which is too elaborate to delve into here but involves the ninjas and dragons so beloved among the target LEGO demographic, this spinoff follows the adventures of six teens (led by Dave Franco) determined to thwart an evil warlord (Justin Theroux) with the help of their wise Master Wu (Jackie Chan). It’s just the type of self-affirming quest we’ve seen plenty of times before, in other words — and exactly the kind of formula previous LEGO outings have effectively tweaked. Unfortunately, that streak stops here: reviews describe an animated adventure that isn’t quite fun or funny enough to disguise its overall familiarity with earlier LEGO films, and more than a few critics have argued that without a creative shakeup, the franchise could be in trouble. That being said, the target demographic should still find it perfectly entertaining, so prepare to purchase matinee tickets… and field requests for a few Ninjago sets after the end credits roll.

Friend Request (2017) 17%

Between FOMO, political arguments, and managing overlapping circles of occasionally contentious relationships, social media can certainly feel like it’s bad for your health. But in Friend Request, it’s straight up fatal — at least for Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey), a college student whose busy social life takes a dark turn after she adds a mysterious young woman (Liesl Ahlers) to her online circle. There’s the gem of a nicely novel wrinkle in the old nubile slasher formula here, but critics say the movie doesn’t take it anywhere near far enough, content to settle for yet another unremarkable addition to the long list of movies about attractive young people meeting grisly fates. In the context of the genre, the reviews are far from the worst one might expect, but all things considered, this is a Friend Request you might be better off ignoring.

What’s New on TV

The Good Place: Season 2 (2017) 100%

By voluntarily blowing up its premise, The Good Place sets up a second season that proves even funnier than its first.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Unrest (2017) , a documentary about the societal and physical struggles faced by sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is at 100 percent.
  • Happy Hunting (2017) , about a drifter who finds himself in a life-or-death battle with gun-toting lunatics killing for fun, is at 100 percent.
  • Stronger (2017) , starring Jake Gyllenhaal in a dramatization of the true story of a man injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, is Certified Fresh at 97 percent.
  • Battle of the Sexes (2017) , starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell as real-life tennis rivals Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, is Certified Fresh at 87 percent.
  • The King's Choice (2017) , about the King of Norway’s doomed final stand against Nazi conquest in World War II, is at 77 percent.
  • The Tiger Hunter (2017) , starring Danny Pudi and Jon Heder in a period dramedy about a young immigrant’s journey in America, is at 73 percent.
  • Gaga: Five Foot Two (2017) , a behind-the-scenes look at the life and career of Lady Gaga, is at 71 percent.
  • Victoria & Abdul (2017) , a period dramedy reuniting Dame Judi Dench with the role of Queen Victoria, is at 67 percent.
  • Loving Vincent (2017) ,  which uses a unique animated style to tell Vincent Van Gogh’s life story, is at 67 percent.
  • Bobbi Jene (2017) , a documentary look at the life and challenging art of the titular contemporary dancer, is at 60 percent.
  • Shot (2017) , a largely real-time drama starring Noah Wyle as a man who is accidentally shot, is at 57 percent.
  • Copwatch (2017) , a documentary about activists dedicated to holding police accountable by recording footage of their actions, is at 40 percent.
  • Elizabeth Blue (2017) , about a young woman’s struggle to rebuild her life after being released from a psychiatric hospital, is at 33 percent.
  • Woodshock (2017) , a surreal drama following a shattered woman (Kirsten Dunst) on a drug-fueled journey through the aftermath of a terrible ordeal, is at 7 percent.

Tag Cloud

Music Opinion composers sitcom Christmas Emmy Nominations Netflix Syfy rotten rotten movies we love SDCC Stephen King Certified Fresh jurassic park NBC italian boxing Avengers ID dramedy Starz transformers Red Carpet National Geographic Year in Review TV renewals news name the review Superheroe films disaster 2015 45 Reality Competition high school comics Animation joker WarnerMedia Lucasfilm nature football Funimation crime thriller true crime CW Seed blockbuster Photos Sony Pictures Schedule X-Men free movies cops Quiz australia biography BBC telelvision Disney streaming service TruTV police drama reboot The Walking Dead Summer singing competition TCA Awards 72 Emmy Awards 71st Emmy Awards critics Elton John Mary Poppins Returns doctor who foreign canceled TV shows women VOD natural history The Arrangement Crunchyroll Rocketman Paramount strong female leads Pirates Fox Searchlight Kids & Family monster movies binge renewed TV shows Winter TV History Columbia Pictures justice league Holiday book adaptation Rom-Com new star wars movies BBC One spinoff Heroines television trailers dogs kaiju Anna Paquin laika DC Comics DGA Crackle movie jamie lee curtis YouTube SXSW docuseries Tarantino MTV Cosplay Podcast CBS Disney+ Disney Plus TLC cults Hallmark Christmas movies Hulu tv talk satire elevated horror diversity President Nickelodeon The CW The Academy El Rey Tumblr Walt Disney Pictures Shondaland AMC zombie Polls and Games indiana jones Comic Book 99% psychological thriller ESPN Ovation serial killer ratings anthology fresh Extras psycho Nominations E3 PaleyFest Horror Amazon Studios reviews Star Wars RT History parents Comedy Central cartoon docudrama GoT Spring TV war Captain marvel Western zero dark thirty latino Trophy Talk ghosts Pride Month Sundance Turner Classic Movies Drama razzies mutant Film Festival ABC Marvel Studios Discovery Channel talk show FX on Hulu TV Land supernatural Super Bowl Shudder sequels DirecTV vampires romance Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Acorn TV Amazon Prime Netflix Christmas movies Set visit USA Network kids San Diego Comic-Con toy story technology revenge black blaxploitation Superheroes scary movies directors comedies Chilling Adventures of Sabrina documentary comic books classics Arrowverse green book sag awards video Dark Horse Comics scorecard FOX batman Awards Travel Channel HBO Max YA stop motion 2016 adventure Paramount Network CMT king kong Peacock VICE french cancelled TV shows First Reviews spy thriller Epix animated canceled a nightmare on elm street SundanceTV Freeform Rock Character Guide Adult Swim versus Comedy stand-up comedy dc documentaries Television Academy Classic Film what to watch Election all-time die hard miniseries Black Mirror Pet Sematary Awards Tour stoner chucky Musicals Calendar finale E! thriller space anime BBC America japanese Endgame Spike Trailer Amazon Prime Video First Look superhero Legendary Mindy Kaling Disney Channel Showtime Paramount Plus robots Masterpiece game show worst Exclusive Video politics 4/20 The Witch Bravo TCA Writers Guild of America 2018 romantic comedy Mystery crime APB asian-american mockumentary 93rd Oscars Apple TV+ crime drama cancelled television YouTube Red ABC Family cancelled franchise Action series Britbox Countdown sports universal monsters FX WGN criterion DC streaming service See It Skip It 20th Century Fox deadpool Grammys godzilla The Walt Disney Company Academy Awards kong Hallmark Holidays Country Food Network TNT PlayStation Valentine's Day OneApp Tubi Fantasy BET Awards Oscars Sundance Now Lionsgate science fiction popular comiccon Film Tomatazos Family historical drama Logo video on demand Amazon Emmys Nat Geo HBO Go A&E game of thrones movies emmy awards sequel Sci-Fi hispanic dceu Lifetime Christmas movies The Purge Reality Biopics Mary Tyler Moore Martial Arts Marvel streaming remakes screenings Hear Us Out 2020 hollywood concert Box Office Comics on TV pirates of the caribbean aliens Baby Yoda independent Alien Mudbound Marvel Television spanish language book Ghostbusters fast and furious cars OWN south america 2021 golden globes VH1 RT21 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Star Trek Rocky festival Disney Plus richard e. Grant Premiere Dates halloween tv CBS All Access unscripted nfl toronto BET ITV Spectrum Originals MCU political drama 2017 slashers medical drama MSNBC Pop TV superman worst movies ABC Signature American Society of Cinematographers 21st Century Fox Ellie Kemper archives Song of Ice and Fire Best and Worst cats Marathons A24 casting Mary poppins BAFTA rt archives travel cancelled TV series zombies best Creative Arts Emmys prank Disney spanish facebook rom-coms Universal Toys crossover breaking bad FXX Infographic TCA Winter 2020 TV Warner Bros. TCM Television Critics Association social media obituary Black History Month boxoffice Thanksgiving TIFF twilight period drama harry potter indie DC Universe award winner IFC Films witnail Apple venice Brie Larson based on movie Video Games 007 teaser Musical Pixar quibi Lifetime Women's History Month Vudu Interview NYCC Chernobyl YouTube Premium 24 frames Teen Cartoon Network GIFs cinemax james bond spider-man PBS GLAAD CNN Cannes Esquire mission: impossible Sundance TV Pop nbcuniversal Sneak Peek saw child's play Broadway LGBTQ USA Turner Trivia HBO 2019 heist movie hist golden globe awards blockbusters Watching Series Binge Guide TBS discovery adaptation Winners dragons children's TV TCA 2017 comic New York Comic Con ViacomCBS werewolf LGBT cooking Fox News theme song dark christmas movies TV One spain screen actors guild Fall TV IFC hidden camera festivals halloween Apple TV Plus