Dapper suits, insanely attractive spies, nuclear warheads, high-speed car chases, and foreign locales. This descriptive list sounds like a James Bond film, but it actually describes ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,’ which received its wide released Friday, August 14th. In fact, the film shares many commonalties with the ‘James Bond’ series, including a catchy score, the seduction of numerous women, and a plot twist you really just didn’t see coming.
But the reason you should add ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ to your summer watch list is not because it mimics James Bond and favors martinis that are shaken, not stirred. Rather, the film is the intersection between ‘James Bond’ and ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service.’ Okay, there may not be exploding heads at its climax or a dastardly Samuel L. Jackson, but ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E’ does take advantage of the sarcastic wit and ironic ignorance that audiences loved in the modern spy film that premiered early this year.
In fact, it is the comedic aspect of ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ that allows it to distinguish itself from other action films that have become synonymous with the term ‘summer blockbuster.’ Even though the film stars Henry Cavill (otherwise known as Superman) and Armie Hammer (otherwise known as The Lone Ranger), its focus is more on the buddy relationship that develops between Cavill and Hammer’s characters as opposed to mind-blowing action sequences (but don’t worry, shoot outs, fist fights, and car chases are not scare here). Prepare yourself for outbursts of laughter and even some utterings of “Oh my goodness!”
Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) is a C.I.A. agent located in Berlin during the Cold War. Solo is tasked with the mission to bring German mechanic Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) from the East side to the West side of the wall, so she can assist in a mission involving the disarming of newly constructed nuclear warheads. Meanwhile, KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) is tasked with the same mission, making the situation a bit awkward to say the least. After what can only be described as a car chase full of mishaps and ego, Solo and Kuryakin are ordered by their respective agencies to work with Teller to destroy the nuclear warheads and obtain the blueprints for the weapons. Things get a little hairy from there with Solo and Kuryakin constantly trying to outdo each other not to mention unforeseen twists and turns that neither anticipates.
Assuming the role of the classic womanizing, clever, and dapper American spy with a sordid past, Cavill abandons his selfless Superman persona in the name of sarcasm and charm. Hammer, in contrast to Cavill’s portrayal, begins as the rigid, unyielding Russian agent battling personal demons whose heart warms as the mission progresses. As far as pairings in a buddy film go, Cavill and Hammer are definitely a new favorite duo. The two share great chemistry as well as timing and make you root for their endearing bromance.
As the female counterpart, Vikander wows with her breathtaking wardrobe as well as her ability to wrestle Hammer to the ground. Vikander is the third corner of the triangle that leaves you laughing like a hyena as well as gripping your chair for fear of what will happen next, not to mention that she leads one of the best scenes in the whole film, which involves dancing to Solomon Burke’s “Cry to Me.”
And let’s not forget the awesome soundtrack that underlies the whole operation. Between a leitmotif that will be stuck in your head for the rest of the night and songs that perfectly illustrate the sensation of the sixties, the music in the film is extremely well selected. Expect to drop a few bucks to purchase the soundtrack after you leave the theater.
With the last scene forming the team known as U.N.C.L.E., viewers can confidently hope for a sequel that will bring about the return of the trio along with another riotous mission.