Review 88: The Man from U.N.C.L.E (2015)
While I’ve watched a few Affleck films, I felt I had to watch a Henry Cavill film I missed. I’d heard a lot of different opinions of The Man from U.N.C.L.E and my family and I sat down and rented it from Vudu. Luckily, my opinion of this film landed on the positive side and I found Cavill to be super charming on screen and the chemistry between Armie Hammer and Cavill was great. The Man from U.N.C.L.E., while suffering from too long of a title, lands firmly in the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.
Based on an old TV show by the same name, Napoleon Solo (Cavill) is a CIA agent in the 1960s and is forced into teaming up with Illya Kuryakin (Hammer) in a joint effort to stop the creation and distribution of a nuclear weapon by a mysterious criminal organization.
If that plot sounds familiar it’s because you’ve seen almost every spy movie ever and as the nuclear weapon is the real world equivalent of the Death Star it is often the threat that has to be stopped. It works and I accept it as a needed evil in films where the world is in peril. Remember that when you hate on Episode 7 for rehashing the Death Star.
Cavill and Hammer were both great. I’ve not seen too many films with Hammer in it and managed to avoid the infamous Lone Ranger film he starred in. The best surprise in this film was the female lead being recent Academy Award winner for best supporting actress, Alicia Vikander. Her ability to shine on screen when these two hulking, charming guys are with her speaks volumes of her talent. Add Elizabeth Debicki, Hugh Grant, and Jared Harris to the cast and the film is well performed.
I won’t describe my favorite scene in this film because it’s a bit of a spoiler, but, to summarize, the guys are debating on how to handle a criminal and fate intervenes. It was a familiar style joke that worked well in its serious timing. While the action in this film is solid, there is a comic book feel to the story and production values that I found gave it an air of comedy. Cavills charm and back story add to this feel and made the movie feel less serious than Mission Impossible or Bond and fell into its own style of spy film.
Guy Ritchie directed this film and did a terrific job. I’ve not seen all of his films, but I really love his take on Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey, Jr. If you like his take on action then the film may just be up your alley.
If you missed this film last year it’s definitely one to check out. It’s PG-13 for some language and some suggestive language, but it felt fairly family friendly if you have no reservations about a little bit a language.