If mother! was a solid argument that 2017 is one of the weirdest years at the theaters in recent memory, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the closing statement. This is not just a sequel to a breakout hit from two years ago; it’s an encyclopedia of insanity that won’t stop upping itself. I loved most of it.

Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is enjoying his life as a Kingsman, balancing it with a promising relationship to Princess Tilde of Sweden. He has a dapper spy existence, but still makes time to hang out with his chav (yes, that’s a thing) buddies in their sloppy apartments. It’s like if James Bond had friends from the white ghetto.

But trouble is coming for Eggsy from the very first minute. Charlie Hesketh (Edward Holcroft), who apparently survived the first film per a timely flashback, returns with a robot arm and an intense desire to murder his former classmate.

They don’t just fight. The two have a knuckle-dragger mixed with martial arts-level acrobatics. Jackie Chan would be impressed by their clash. Throw in an appropriate song by Prince (“Let’s Go Crazy”) and some slick directing by Matthew Vaughn, and boom, you have a great opening.

It’s nice for us, but bad for Eggsy. Drug dealer Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) wants to legalize all drugs, and has a deadly method to accomplish that goal. She’s laced a horrible toxin in heroin, marijuana, etc. that first causes a blue rash to appear on the face. Then the person goes into a catatonic state before eventually their eyes blow up and they die. I’ve had hangovers like that.

In the meantime, the Kingsman are hunted down and their headquarters are blown up. Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) survive, before a clue leads them to a bourbon factory in Kentucky.

But they’re not just there to drink, although that happens in an earlier scene. The factory is a rouse for an American version of Kingsmen, called Statesmen. Instead of wearing suits and glasses, they don cowboy hats, boots and electrical whips that can decapitate people. All in an everyday man’s wardrobe.

So Kingsmen and Statesmen team up to take down Poppy, who is so off-the-wall my eyes wanted to pop out of my head. Give Vaughn and co-writer/frequent collaborator Jane Goldman credit; they know how to make characters stick with you.

It would’ve been easy to make Poppy some sort of sniveling evil woman with a stern face, the kind that lets you know she does Very Bad Things. Instead, this baddie is cheerful as hell, especially when she asks one henchman to throw his friend in a meat grinder. What they do with the end product made me want to go vegan.

From her 1950s-inspired lair, she infects hundreds of thousands of victims, spreading the blue rash throughout the world. What does the US President (Bruce Greenwood) think should happen to them? “Let ’em all die, they’re criminals!” Somehow, I don’t think that’s too far off from our current drug policy.

The last Kingsman was a trippy and gory parody of a James Bond movie; this one turns up the WTF moments to WTFFF (What The Flying Freaky Fuck) levels. Want to see Elton John being tortured into playing Gershwin on piano? GREAT. Would you like to watch him karate kick henchmen and drop F-bombs while dressed as a giant peacock? I HOPE YOU DO!

Oh yeah, and there’s a scene where Eggsy fingers a woman in order to put a tracker inside of her vagina, complete with a CGI-assisted look inside. What a nice supplement for biology class.

Colin Firth’s character Harry Hart is (SPOILER for a two-year old movie) also revived after suffering an apparent death in the first movie. Unlike other films that chop off their own feet with stupid resurrections (Batman v Superman), this one makes sense.

Harry took a gunshot wound to the eye, and winds up losing both his left eye and memory. The former is gone forever, but the latter eventually comes back as he rediscovers his calling as a Kingsman. Other movies would’ve just brought back Harry under some lame pretense and had him jump right back into the action. Vaughn and Goldman? They know there needs to be a purpose for this, and give him an appropriately fun journey to go through.

Watching the trailers for this, you’d think Channing Tatum’s Tequila character would be a major focus; that is a lie. He essentially shows up for two scenes, looks badass, then gets sick and spends the rest of the movie in a coma. It’s a glorified fucking cameo. Halle Berry (doing good, but stuck as the token female sidekick in the lab) gets more to do here, and that’s saying a lot.

His badass-Statesman-helping-the-Kingsman spot gets taken up by Whiskey (Pedro Pascal with an unbelievably great Southern accent), who nearly steals the movie with his ten-thousand-watt charisma. His best scene comes during a callback to a previous moment in the last film, only this time it’s done American style. Hee-haw.

Most sequels spend their time being a bigger and dumber version of the first. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a more creative and smarter version than it’s predecessor. How indubitably wonderful.

Published by Jagger Czajka