The Greater The Spy, The Bigger The Lie
This is a quick review of the newly released film Argylle. Keep in mind this is but one of the many movies I watch every year, and that whatever initial grade I come up for this film could change for better or worse with time. To better keep up to date with both my thoughts on other movies and if my feelings on this film changed, follow me on Letterboxd.
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Via Letterboxd: When the plots of reclusive author Elly Conway’s fictional espionage novels begin to mirror the covert actions of a real-life spy organization, quiet evenings at home become a thing of the past. Accompanied by her cat Alfie and Aiden, a cat-allergic spy, Elly races across the world to stay one step ahead of the killers as the line between Conway’s fictional world and her real one begins to blur.
Thanks to an ongoing family matter that finds me having to take care of a loved one practically 24/7 these days, I’ve been slower with getting around to new film releases. It also means I’ve missed out on some major screenings early into the new year and when I saw fellow critics of all stripes coming out of last week’s press screening slamming the newest Matthew Vaugh flick, Argylle, followed by a BRUTAL C+ Cinemascore for it among general audiences, I found myself going from curious about this new project to dreading having to check it out.
I finally got around to catching up with it earlier today and spent the next two-plus hours waiting to see why this movie has had such a woeful response. By the time the credits rolled, I sat there in my seat wondering if I had seen a different film from everyone else because for the most part I thought it was a fine enough popcorn flick that was leaps and bounds better than some of Vaugh’s previous efforts such as Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
I see where the criticisms lie. Admittedly the movie does overstay its welcome, particularly with the third act. Its CGI is clunky as it gets with some instances of really bad looking effects. The swerves as the story goes along do start to get a little over the top. And some of those reveals to such twists and turns left me a bit underwhelmed.
But that doesn’t mean I found myself having an outright bad time. The movie did get more than a few chuckles out of me. I did think the biggest twist of them all made the plot of the film make much more sense. The action scenes were done well in Vaughn’s signature aesthetic, and the soundtrack is solid and an early leader for best of the year in film.
I may forget about this movie down the line, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t entertained enough in the moment. Did it live up to the hype of all those incessant trailers before every new movie the last few months? Not really. Did I find myself bored? Not really either. It wasn’t anything great, but I’ve seen far worse in this first month of the new year alone. This was serviceable and fine for what it was even if it wasn’t Vaughn at his best. My initial grade for Argylle is a decent enough B-. It won’t become a cult classic, but if you’re just looking to turn your brain off for two hours and have some silly fun, it does the job.