The world is finally going to find out who the real Agent Argylle is. But is it worth it? Absolutely not. Matthew Vaughn‘s newest film Argylle is a convoluted action-comedy that even the delightful humor of Sam Rockwell in rom-com mode can’t save.
Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard) is a spy novelist who finds her relationship to her work far more intriguing than that of which any man could offer. Her greatly famed spy series, Argylle, features a fictitious secret agent named Argylle, played by Henry Cavill. With his ghastly haircut in tow, Argylle travels the world, from Greece to London to Hong Kong, pursuing life-or-death matters.
The action-packed, imaginary escapades feature a myriad of other spies — Dua Lipa, John Cena, and Ariana DeBose — mixed up in the dubious world of undercover work. Agrylle ends up getting a little too close to a sinister underground syndicate in the books causing Elly to, in real life, be kidnapped by Aidan (Rockwell), an undercover spy trying to save her from the clutches of the evil organization.
‘Argylle’ Review: Spy Thriller Twists Its Way out of Being a Fun Movie
Riddled with dreadful CGI from the outset, which only gets worse as the movie’s arduous 2-hour and 20-minute runtime drums on, Argylle is a fizzled firework — promising a big blow and shocking twist after shocking twist only to get lost in its own admiration. The hunt for, and eventual reveal, of the true Agent Argylle proves to be a provocative puzzle at first. Yet, the movie becomes quickly convoluted in trying to dispel predictable plot maneuvers, sacrificing the authentic mystery of who the real Agent Argylle is for crummy curve after stupid slant.
The problematic pacing, a burst of classic Vaughn action followed by a subdued emotional character moment, is exacerbated by the stiff script that can never find the right tone. Known for his impressive Kingsman films, Vaughn’s energy feels diluted and strained, focusing too much on the next brain-busting twist and not enough on what is transpiring in the moment.
As Elly Conway and her cat Alfie are plunged into a mischievous covert realm — seeing them jet set to a beautiful French vineyard, a location highlight of the movie, among other far-off lands — they are met with adventures that seem as if they are pulled straight from a book. Vaughn sprightly plays with a fun editing style to the movie that quickly becomes a cop-out for narrative twists, tiring the film even more.
Admittedly, I found the few Alfred Hitchcock references littered throughout the movie to show promise of a wise filmmaker only to be continually bullied back into realizing the Hollywood-ified, CGI-fest movie in front of me was nothing more than that.
’Argylle’s Star-Studded Cast Doesn’t Save It From Disappointment
With a star-studded cast that also includes the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Catherine O’Hara, and Bryan Cranston, the film fails to put the pieces together for a successful ensemble, underutilizing some of the biggest selling points of the movie — and some of the best jawlines in the film. There are sparks of humor flung wildly throughout but not nearly enough to live up to being a comedy-based spy thriller.
Driving the knife even further in, the film uses “Now and Then” from The Beatles as its beating heart — a misaligned song choice that is used enough times to make you think there might have been an editing problem when creating the film. Its tonality and overall presence feel incredibly disjointed to what is ensuing on screen; so much so that it completely takes away any reputability the film is able to amass in its opening scenes — which isn’t much. Boasting a $200 million budget doesn’t help the cause.
Argylle is exactly the type of movie we’ve come to expect from a star-studded, February release at the box office. Drab, uninspired, exerting a crippling dependence on CGI, and just plain poor. However, there is a moment in which Samuel L. Jackson is watching the Lakers play on an incredibly gargantuan screen and I had a good time seeing that.
Argylle releases in theaters on February 2, 2024. Follow the Agents of Fandom socials for the latest entertainment news, reviews, and interviews.
'Argylle' Review'Argylle' Review
- Sam Rockwell's dynamic rom-com energy is fun to see.
- Dreadful CGI leaks throughout the entire film, harming the fun nature.
- The movie gets lost in its passion for twists and turns and ultimately becomes convoluted.
- Star-studded cast fails to create chemistry on screen.