The Man from U.N.C.L.E is splattered with ’60s pastiche that will go over its target demographic’s heads, but it’s still an amusing bit of history lesson. The summer flick is slick with retro-cool through detailed production design, a jazzy soundtrack, and amusing villains.
The plot is straightforward and doesn’t take itself too seriously with cheeky humor. There’s a play by play exposition but the movie manages to make it entertaining. Apart from the double entendre, the bromance is subtly filled with subtext. In one scene Napoleon claims to pick the top lock, forcing Illya to bend down to take the bottom.
The movie uses split-screens to offer something different from the typical car chase. It doesn’t just rely on huge explosions to create nifty action.
Ritchie is intent on making another fun caricature of a period, but he’s not committed enough to make a memorable tribute, adaptation, or a serviceable summer action flick.
There’s a significant lack of spy shenanigans as the movie is more preoccupied with its bickering couple. No, not the adorable Alicia Vikander and straight outta shaving cream commercial Armie Hammer. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer create a black hole of charisma that makes their bromance and competition flat. Even with the details added to the characters – one a master thief who wears bespoke suits, the other a Terminator-like KGB agent who loves turtlenecks – it didn’t matter.
There’s no sense of danger nor urgency to move the plot forward and grab you by the edge of your seat. The Man from U.N.C.L.E coasts entirely on its looks and its mannequin poster boys.
Overall, Man from U.N.C.L.E is as pretty and bland as its leads.
Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Other than a period detailed nod to 60's spy films and some deft directorial choices, The Man from U.N.C.L.E is a lifeless spy flick with a black hole of charisma.