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What is Argylle?

When an author’s spy novels threaten to expose a real-life espionage organization, she begins a globetrotting race to save her life and untangle her imagination and reality.

Review

If Michael Bay isn’t willing or able to do the GI Joe movies then Matthew Vaughn might be the person to do so. As the guy who did the Kingsmen movies, he clearly has a great love for the Roger Moore era of James Bond flicks which is something that the more serious Connery and Craig fans turn their noses up. Given GI Joe is basically doing to special forces missions what Bond did to spies, I think it might be a good fit.

ARGYLLE is basically another entry into the Kingsman franchise in terms of tone, comedy, sending up spy movies, and oddball action hi-jinks. The actual Kingsmen don’t appear but easily could have if not for the fact each movie keeps killing them off (that’s not a spoiler so much as the films mid-point premise).     It’s a gleefully silly spy movie that’s only slightly more serious than Austin Powers and wouldn’t be nearly as much fun if it was any more dramatic.

In this case, the premise is Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard) is a writer of cheesy spy novels starring her idealized man, Argylle (Henry Cavill). After releasing her latest novel, a real-life spy named Aiden Wilde (Sam Rockwell) shows up to inform her that her novels are eerily similar to real life to the point that a rogue intelligence agency called the Directorate is now after her. They’re led by Director Ritter (Bryan Cranston), who is about as realistic a bad guy as Doctor Claw. Elly must do her best to survive even as she keeps flashing to Argylle. There’s also an adorable, sometimes CGI, cat she’s carrying around in a little kitty backpack.

This is a gleefully stupid movie and I know exactly why the critics are lambasting it while audience approval is far more forgiving. This is a live action cartoon for adults and a bloodless bunch of action sequences, great music, and utterly nonsensical twists more at home on a soap opera than anything limited to reality. It’s fun and the most I cared about anything going on was wondering about that poor cat and it getting constantly thrown about. The movie is like an even sillier version of Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise’s KNIGHT AND DAY. There’s a bit of false advertising with the film: Henry Cavill is actually a fairly minor character in the story with Agent Argylle only appearing in a few select (but fantastic) scenes.

The real star of this is Sam Rockwell, who I already liked as a spy in Charlie’s Angels. I feel like they probably should have tightened things up so that Sam Rockwell or Henry Cavill was the basis for Argylle in her head as well as the “real” secret agent. This is me judging how the movie could have been versus how it is, though. Bryce Dallas Howard does an immensely likable character in this role and everyone else is also a lot of fun.

Sam Rockwell is also good and is perfectly believable as a ridiculously over-the-top secret agent. Having him show up first as a dirty hippie is a great choice even though we know he’s going to morph into the suave superhero later. Bryan Cranston supervillaining all over the place also never gets old. I even liked Catherine O’Hara (you know her as the mom from Beetlejuice) playing Elly’s mom and her character going in an odd direction that I won’t spoil.

I give props to the movie’s soundtrack as well with a lot of disco-esque and neo-disco-esque beats. David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”, “Electric Energy” by Ariana DeBose, and “Do you want to Funk” by Sylvester and Patrick Cowley are all standouts but a lot of classics that just add to the weird timelessness of it all. The extended musical number during the train fight is definitely a highlight and I’d buy the soundtrack if they still sold music on compact discs. :rimshot:.

I don’t really know what to say about this movie other than it’s an all-star cast doing their darnedest to have as much fun with a ridiculous plot as possible (and the movie not suffering from said ridiculous plot either). The cast is so good I barely remember that Samuel L. Jackson is a central character. If there’s any flaws with the movie, it’s probably the fact there’s an extra ten to fifteen minutes at the end of the film that didn’t need to be there and they could have just ended with the heroine’s plan working. I won’t bring up the specifics of the twist but they added a bunch of complications for some silly action sequences that didn’t need to be there. Otherwise, a very good movie.

Well, very fun movie.

There’s a difference.

Available here

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