Remember when spy movies were allowed to be fun?
Indyfreak - wrote on 12/09/15
After Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation took everyone's breath away, I've no doubt that people expected The Man From U.N.C.L.E. to bow its head and disappear as though it never existed. Its less-than-expected box office receipts and mildly positive reviews suggest as much.
That is a shame because The Man From U.N.C.L.E is quite a charming and laid-back spy movie that is about as joyful about just being a spy movie as Spectre was trying to insist that it was much more than that. What U.N.C.L.E. gets that sadly James Bond seems to have forgotten is how much enjoyment can be derived from the glamour and intrigue of high stakes espionage fiction.
It certainly doesn't try to reinvent the wheel or anything but the mood is light, the action is exciting, the cast is having fun, and the script does actually have some clever twists here and there. After all it is a spy movie.
The movie is based on the tv show but apparently its duty is serving as a prequel in case there are sequels (*awkward silence). It places super suave CIA operative Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill and yes that's his character's name) and his hot headed KGB counterpart Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) together as allies against a secretive but sinister organization with the help of a spunky heroine (Alica Vikander). The script is smart enough not to rely on the mission at hand as the movie but rather let our three heroes play off one another and their interactions are surprisingly effective not just for humor's sake but character development. Ah for the days when such plot details could go hand in hand swimmingly.
Cavill, Hammer, and Vikander sell this movie. The direction courtesy of Guy Ritchie is stylish and self assured as though Ritchie and company knew that the audience just wanted have a good time. If that's what you want, The Man From UNCLE works perfectly. It helps that it's not only a good time but also a good movie after all.