There was one thing about The Man from U.N.C.L.E. that absolutely made it stand apart from other movies of it's kind. Just one aspect of the film made it ascend from potential mediocrity into true epicness. This film actually gave us, wait for it………….THE LONE RANGER vs. SUPERMAN! And as if that wasn’t enough, it then gave us The Lone Ranger and Superman teaming up! Get it? Because it’s Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill? They played The Lone Ranger and Sup……..nevermind.
The plot of this movie is very simple. The Nazis have a nuclear bomb and the US and Russia must team up in order to stop them. That’s about it. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. It allowed the film to focus on execution and avoid being convoluted, which is a problem that generally haunts this genre. The simple plot made the movie easy to watch and put more pressure on the filmmakers and actors to actually come through.
Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes) did a very good job with this film. It is stylistic in a way that did not interfere with the film, which I liked. The movie is not bloated with action scenes, which is usually what happens with a simple plot like this. The editing is sensational. The jump cuts, flashbacks, and split screens all really worked for me. The score of the film is fantastic as well. A lot of the music reminded me of stuff from the legendary Ennio Morricone in The Man with No Name trilogy. That fun, “the showdown is about to happen” type of music really added a lot to the movie.
The standout performance of this movie comes from Henry Cavill (Man of Steel). He played a stereotypical suave American spy. His character was pretty much American James Bond. Cavill brought a good bit of genuine humor to the film and overacted in all the best ways. Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) and Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger) are also very good in the film. I have never been a fan of Hammer but this is the best performance I have ever seen from him. This character fit him like a glove. Hugh Grant is also in the movie and was good in the limited time he was actually given in the film.
The chemistry between the three main actors is very good, which is a key to the success of the film. The majority of the movie is based on the relationship between these three characters. This was the most intriguing aspect of the film to me. There was constant simultaneous friction and bonding between the characters that kept the film fun and interesting all the way through.
There were a few stupid scenes in the movie, which fit with the light tone to some degree. Still, there were a few scenes that I just couldn’t buy. I would have liked for Hammer’s character to have been explained a little more. Cavill’s character had good exposition and backstory. His counterpart needed the same treatment. There is a twist or two in the movie that you will see coming a mile away. Nothing will surprise you here. The execution is still very good and I didn’t mind the predictability at all, but if you are the type that wants to be stumped, this is not going to work for you.
In what has been dubbed the year of the spy movie, I would say that The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is probably the best one so far. It is light and fun, which is refreshing to me in an era when all these kind of movies seem to think they have to be darker and more convoluted than the one before. I had a very good time with this film and might go as far as to say it is Guy Ritchie’s best movie to date. The Movie Man gives it 4 out of 5 stars.
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