Guy Ritchie started off his career really well, but in recent years the quality of his films has dwindled slightly. He still makes good, enjoyable films. They’re just a bit more generic and not as good. ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.‘ falls into that same trap. It’s better than some of his more recent efforts and is still a very enjoyable film. It just isn’t great.
Set in the 60’s, the film sees Henry Cavill’s CIA agent Napoleon Solo forced into an uneasy alliance with Armie Hammer’s KGB man Illya Kuryakin in order to stop some bad guys from making a nuclear warhead. It’s a fun set up, and it plays quite well with the rivalry between the two agents. I have never seen the TV show but I’m guessing it was pretty similar so this film had something to work off of, but I still enjoy their partnership very much. They also team up with Alicia Vikander’s Gaby, daughter of a bomb making scientist scientist who may be working for the Nazi sympathising bad guys, headed up by Elizabeth Debicki. The cast is all pretty good. My old favourite Hugh Grant even pops up for a little bit of fun too!
The story is a pretty standard spy movie type story. The real attraction here I think is the dynamic between the two leads and that ‘Guy Ritchie style’. The dynamic is great, as I’ve already mentioned. The constant one-upping and the put downs are great. The ‘Guy Ritchie style’ is turned up to max in this one and it actually helps make for a different kind of spy movie. The quirky music, the quick paced, split-screened framing of the action and the frenetic style keep the movie going at a good pace. One thing I don’t like however is there’s a lot of moments where a character does something and then there’s a flashback to reveal something new about that. It happens quite frequently, too much so, and is sometimes very obvious anyway and doesn’t really add anything to the story.
The action and story are overall pretty decent. There’s nothing outstanding or groundbreaking really, everything just serves the story rather than much else. That’s why the film never really achieves greatness. It’s fun and enjoyable but it’s nothing overly revolutionary and ends up being just ‘good’ rather than excellent. The main characters are the best thing about the film, which is obviously no bad thing, it just would have been nice to see a little more greatness put into other areas of the film.
JACK’S SCORE: 3/5