The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Movie Review
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Movie Review Metadata
Old television shows adapted for the silver screen tend to be hit or miss. Bewitched, The Mod Squad or anything starring those tiny blue men were bad movies, while others like Star Trek and Mission:Impossible churned out impressive box office numbers to become movie franchises. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. should fall into the latter category.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was an American television series broadcast on NBC throughout the late 60’s. The show spawned spin-offs, comic books and novelizations, as well as various licensed merchandise. It was a spy show, and a damn good one, having garnered massive critical success and Emmy awards.
So with whom do you entrust that legacy? The answer is simple: Guy Ritchie. He is no stranger to adapting famous T.V. shows, having struck gold updating the popular Sherlock Holmes universe. While I can’t speak to how faithful the adaption, it’s hard to believe anyone would be offended by Richie’s spectacular movie that plays well for today’s audience.
Richie, like he did with Sherlock Holmes, employed a high-profile superhero to fill the shoes of one of the movie’s main characters. Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) stars as the debonair American spy Napoleon Solo. Solo finds himself paired with the unlikeliest of allies, the tough-as-nails Russian agent Illya Kuryakin, played exceptionally by Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger). The chemistry between these two actors is absolutely fascinating. While not completely spoofing the spy genre, U.N.C.L.E. succeeds as a high-octane buddy comedy thanks in large part to the believable love/hate relationship portrayed by its leads.
Together the two spies must thwart a nefarious organization led by Victoria Vinciguerra (Elizabeth Debicki, The Great Gatsby). The other female lead, Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), plays Gaby Tellbr, the daughter of a German scientist responsible for building a nuclear bomb for Vinciguerra. Teller is the spy duos only connection with the bad guys, so they employ her help, but there is more to Gaby than she lets on. Vikander is on equal-footing with her veteran male counterparts, turning in a performance that raises her stock considerably.
The lion’s share of credit for orchestrating this symphony belongs to Guy Richie. His feature is fresh and exciting despite the saturation of spy flicks released this year. It’s humorous, but not full-on Spy funny. Its action-packed, but doesn’t take itself as serious as Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. It’s certainly not balls-to-the-wall Kingsman. As a result, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a better espionage film; an excellent product of comedy, action, sex appeal and suspense.