It's not as good as Secret Service, but it's far from the stereotypical bad sequel. It picks up not long after where Secret Service ends. If you read the comics, you would know that this story is about the villain named Poppy who wants to rid the world of illegal drugs by infusing her drugs in her own production company with a virus that kills the taker quickly and very painfully with a complimentary cameo of Elton John. Poppy, while a convincing villain, couldn't hold a candle to Valentine, however.
Of course, the Kingsman crew have to stop this while tugging too many of my heartstrings long the way. I'd get into the details, but this movie is packed to the brim with spoilers so I won't get to that until the end.
I always loved Secret Service, and I'm glad they haven't strayed too far away from the original style. Golden Circle has used a lot of CGI compared to Secret Service, but thankfully they haven't overdone it to the point it's unrecognisable.
For the most part, Golden Circle is set in Kentucky, where the Kingsman team gets stuck in a pretty severe situation and go to another secret spy service by the name of Statesman, where each of the employees have alcohol code names such as Champagne, Whisky, and Tequila, which I thought was funny and creative.
For a spoiler-free conclusion, I'd say this movie is a solid 7/10. It's nowhere near as great as Secret Service because of the amount of convenient storytelling but it's just as entertaining and has the same great humour.
This is the spoiler part and I advise you don't read any further unless you've seen the movie or you're just too curious for your own good.
The movie starts off with Charlie, a former Kingsman trainee, coming back and meeting Eggsy. He's had an upgrade with a new robotic arm and new vocal chords. It turns out he's connected to Poppy and he manages to hack into the Kingsman's databases and destroys all Kingsman's quarters, other than Merlin's home who, for some reason, didn't have his address on the database. It leaves all Kingsman dead other than Eggsy and Merlin.
As sweet as it was to bring Harry back, I don't think they should have, and that's what I meant by convenient storytelling. However, I did get emotional when he was given the puppy and had the flashbacks of Mr. Pickle which, by the way, is an amazing name for a dog.
Lastly, I very nearly cried when Merlin died, despite it being completely unnecessary. Especially when he sang "Country Roads" by John Denver. I think of him every time I hear that song. Yes, his death was very unnecessary and could have done any other method of distraction. Come on, he was my favourite character.
I never read the comics the movies were based on, but from what I know about them, I think they were a next to perfect adaptation. Sometimes they changed the genders of the characters and various scenes, but I think they took just the right amount from the comic added in with their own ideas to make the story believable.
Because the Golden Circle opened a door for another sequel, this makes me sort of skeptical that it just may not be as good as the first two. It'll probably be good in its own way, but its very hard for me to trust any sequel regardless if a different one is good. Who knows, they might bring Merlin back in a wheelchair or make him a cyborg. It'll make just as much sense with what they did with Harry.
To conclude, I think Golden Circle is very good. Not the best, but it's something you can be satisfied with and laugh just as much as you did with the Secret Service.