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The Eastern Echo Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

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Review: 'Argylle' is a star-studded, lighthearted spy thriller

A comedic spy thriller. "Argylle" follows an author who accidentally becomes the target of a secret agency because of her novels.

An author who knows too much, super spies, argyle patterns, and a cat make up the latest blockbuster comedy and thriller “Argylle.”

The movie stars Bryce Dallas Howard as Elly Conway, author of a beloved, fictional spy series called “Argylle.” When she accidentally reveals a rogue agency’s evil plan through her writing, she gets caught up in a twisty, deadly game of espionage.

Howard is joined by a long list of well-known stars including Henry Cavill, Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, John Cena, Samuel L. Jackson, Dua Lipa, and Ariana DeBose. It was directed by Matthew Vaughn, who previously directed, produced, and co-wrote the “Kingsman” movies. 

Highs

Vaughn’s style from “Kingsman” is carried over into “Argylle,” albeit with the gore toned down; over-the-top action that transcends the laws of physics combined with comedy and colorful cinematography. Despite the violence, the film isn’t gory and focuses more on the wild stunts themselves, allowing the movie to be lighthearted and the action to be funny in a way that’s accessible to a wide audience.

The star-studded cast delivers generally good acting. Especially Catherine O’Hara and Samuel L. Jackson shine with energetic, humorous performances. Some actors get little screen time, but still manage to be memorable, such as John Cena with his delightful comedy and Dua Lipa with her in-control coolness.

The film builds twists upon twists that are mostly earned. The mysteries are set up satisfyingly, making use of enough foreshadowing that the answers are mostly earned. Though the answers are often bizarre, they fit with overall tone.

Lows

The computer-generated effects are poorly rendered, making it obvious that they are fake. This is especially noticeable with the cat, Alfie. There are very few points where Alfie looks like a real cat.

The romantic subplot lacks chemistry. The couple spends most of the film bickering and annoyed with each other without any build up for an enemies-to-lovers relationship. They feel unearned, which impacts the emotional core of the film.

The villains are simply evil because the film demands it. Without a clear motivation, the stakes aren’t clear, which cheapens a few of the twists. The villains are played well by their respective actors, and the movie isn’t particularly deep, so a simple motivation would have worked.

Verdict

“Argylle” is sure to delight fans of spy thrillers such as “Mission Impossible” and “Kingsman.” Part mystery, part action thriller, and part comedy. The movie is overall a fun time that borders on ridiculousness in a good way, though it has some weak writing that plagues the romance, villains, and some of the mystery.

“Argylle” is currently playing in theaters.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Frank Remski is a film and theater reviewer for the Eastern Echo. He is majoring in media studies and journalism and minoring in public relations. He has worked for The Echo since the summer of 2023 and has written both news stories and opinion pieces.