"Argylle" Film Review

Argylle (2024) - IMDb

"Argylle" Film Review

Rating: 4/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    When I saw that the newest Matthew Vaughn adventure, "Argylle", was getting panned by those who saw it before it came out, I got really worried as this was easily one of my most anticipated of 2024. I love the "Kingsman" films and "Kick-Ass", so I was really hoping this newest film would be sort of the same way. When the credits started rolling after the film ended, it left me confused. Not due to the movie, but to why the people who first saw it hated it so much? This easily reminds me of Vaughn's earlier work, and I honestly had a great time with it. It's not trying to be a fantastic, spy thriller, and the film knows that. It simply exists to entertain the audience and be a cheeky version of these silly spy movies coming out, and it did a great job at that. I found myself giggling and having a good time from beginning to end, so I think for this film and what Vaughn was going for, they definitely succeeded in getting the reaction they wanted. 

    The film follows Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard), who is the successful author of the famous "Argylle" book series, which follows Agent Argylle (Henry Cavill) as he embarks on dangerous quests around the world with his team (John Lena, Ariana DeBose). She is about to finish her fifth book in the series when she encounters a serious case of writer's block, prompting her to go visit her mother (Catherine O' Hara) to help her finish the book. As she is taking the train over, she encounters a scruffy looking man, named Aiden (Sam Rockwell), who claims he is a secret agent and that Elly is in serious trouble.

    What ensues is a manhunt for Elly as her writing is inspired by actual events, wanting her to write the next chapter so the evil spy syndicate, ran by Agent Ritter (Bryan Cranston), can find a hard-drive that has top secret information so they can destroy it once and for all. It is now up to Elly to decide who she can and cannot trust as this next mission she is thrown on is life or death. 

    The movie starts off normally, telling the story about a woman who is just suffering writer's block. But, as every second ticks away at the runtime, this film starts to get more and more wacky, feeling like a Matthew Vaughn movie every running second. He really leans into the wacky and weird in the second half of the film, and I think it is all glorious. There is one particular scene towards the end involving a dance gunfight that I think is absolutely stellar, as well as a sick ice skating routine gone deadly. Vaughn really loves to flip expectations on their head and deliver something the viewer do not expect; thankfully, similar to the rest of his filmography, it is done so damn well. 

    He also uses elaborate set design and beautiful imagery, which can also be found in the first "Kingsman" film. His movies feel so proper and elegant, yet have a secret layer of violence and deviance on the inside, which I certainly just love so much. The film was teased relentlessly in theaters for months as being from the "twisted mind of Matthew Vaughn", and that is certainly what he delivers here. I was worried this movie would be more "vanilla", for lack of a better word. But when you get into that second half, you are certain Vaughn had a huge hand in crafting the wackiness in the screenplay, which he translates so well onto the screen.

    Dallas Howard and Rockwell are electric in this movie, and I would honestly say they have some of the best on-screen chemistry in any of Vaughn's films. They are lovable and fun from their first interaction to the end of the movie, and I loved how Vaughn and screenwriter Jason Fuchs dedicated so much time of the film to developing their relationship. At the same time, I really liked the performances from Cavill, Cena, Cranston, and Samuel L. Jackson, who plays former CIA director Alfred Solomon. They all fit the puzzle pieces perfectly here, and just deliver a polished film from beginning to end concerning acting performances. DeBose and Dua Lipa are in this film way too little for me to judge their performances, but I did like what I saw. 

    From what I have been reading and hearing, a lot of people have been complaining about the runtime and how this movie is simply "boring". I just don't see how anyone could find this film boring or long. I was on the edge of my seat from beginning to end, and I had fun every step of the way. Sure, the plot can seem a little convoluted at times and there is a lot of exposition, especially towards the middle, but it manages its time so well for the film to still be enjoyable and keep the viewer engaged. I also want to mention that I wish the CGI was a little bit better. The budget for this film is pretty high, and some of the CGI and the green screens seemed very obvious; I wish they focused a little more time on making the cat look more realistic. 

    Overall, I sincerely don't get the hate for this movie. To me, this is another Matthew Vaughn film that works very well and I had such a great time with it. I laughed from beginning to end, and I loved the characters and the performances that brought those characters to life. It might not be the best film of his filmography, and I don't think it is trying to be. This is one of those movies you can go into and know you're going to enjoy it a lot if you like this sort of thing. If the trailer or promos didn't win you over, I highly doubt you're going to enjoy the movie. But, if you love Vaughn's other movies and love silly spy films like this one, I really think you're going to have a great time with it- just like I did.