“Argylle”: Full of Surprises

Ever since I saw the first poster for “Argylle”, I wanted to watch the movie. It looked like a fun twist on a spy movie and I was especially curious about the cat. Knowing that the film had an incredible cast made it even harder for me to resist. After watching the movie, I found it was exactly as I expected, full of surprises, excellent acting, over the top action, and while cheesy in places, a complete blast to watch. 

Argylle” is a spy action comedy film directed and produced by Matthew Vaughn and written by Jason Fuchs. The film revolves around writer Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard), who has just finished her fifth book about Aubrey Argylle (Henry Cavell) and his cohort Wyatt (John Cena). She’s struggling with the ending of the book so she gets on a train to see her mother (Catherine O’Hara) along with her cat Alfie. But she is intercepted from her plans by Aiden (Sam Rockwell) who tells her he’s a spy who needs her help to take on a secret organization led by Ritter (Bryan Cranston). She can help lead him to a master file which will expose the organization but her life is now in danger. Aiden leads her on a wild adventure where she finds nothing is as she expected, old friends like Alfred played by Samuel L. Jackson turn up, and she must turn to the pages of her book to survive. 

From the very beginning, what I liked the best was the surprises that this film brings to the spy genre. Elly is an ordinary writer who likes to wear pajamas and write at night with her cat by her side. But she also has amazing insight into the spy world. While everything seems normal with her life, it is the surprises that she encounters that make the film so exciting and fun. Everytime I thought I knew what was happening, the movie brought a new turn in the plot.

The action is incredibly fun as well. While some scenes are a bit cheesy, the over the top quality was part of the excitement for me. It added to the hilarious nature of some of the scenes making me laugh. And while there was some romance between Elly and Aiden, the interruptions to the romance sold the comedy and made the film even funnier. Alfie, the cat, added his own special brand of mischief to the movie, stealing most of the scenes he was in, as Elly insisted on keeping her friend safe. There is one scene where Elly is encouraged to take out the bad guys and her reluctance and inability to hurt someone is both admirable and in the context of the movie, very funny, especially as Aiden is very cavalier about what they need to do to survive. It is a send up of the Bond movies and while it steals a lot of source from those films, it doesn’t take itself seriously and pokes at the genre. 

The acting is incredible. Bryce Dallas Howard proves she inherited her father’s comedic talent in this film, highlighting her skill in both the dramatic moments where she’s scared for her life but also when she makes us laugh, especially when she gets the better of Aiden. The dynamic between her and Sam Rockwell is believable and the pair are hilarious together. Sam Rockwell also does a brilliant job of portraying Aiden, especially adding comedic touches like his allergies to the cat. Samuel L. Jackson is rather restrained but solid in his secondary role as Aiden’s mentor. Bryan Cranston is devilish as Ritter, once again showing us his genius at evil characters. Catherine O’Hara is phenomenal as Elly’s mother, sharp and funny. Henry Cavell as Elly’s character and her subconscious voice is also incredibly funny. He can do a ton with just a look, making the audience laugh at his antics. John Cena is solid as Wyatt. The cast does much of the work of making this film such a delight. 

While the film does excel at mocking the spy genre, it does at times go too far, especially in a couple of the action films that stretch  believability to the breaking point. While I still loved the scenes, because I like a ton of cheese with my comedy spy films, it did break me out of the film for a few seconds while I contemplated whether the actions were realistic. That said, I had so much fun watching both scenes that I decided I really didn’t mind. If, like me, you like cheesy and over the top occasionally, it will just add to the humor of the movie.

If you like films that poke fun at the spy genre or you like comedy action movies, this is the movie for you. The cast is fun, the film is a blast to watch, especially the action scenes that are wild and over the top. The actors are also incredibly talented at comedy, especially Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, and Henry Cavell. Each of the three brings a particular comedic style to the film that will make the audience laugh. The film is vivid, full of surprises and the cat steals the movie away in its clever little paws. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 backpacks. 

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