The genre of traditional action movies in 2024 is almost extinct. This can be partially attributed to the incredible popularity of comic book movies in the 2010s and partly to the excessive demands of classic action film stars. Therefore, modern films about explosions, shootings, and fights must have something more to add style, humor, and uniqueness. In this sense, “Argylle” attempts to play with metamodernism. In our review, we’ll tell you how the film turned out in the end.
“Argylle” Genre: Action
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Henry Cavill, Dua Lipa, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, John Cena, Samuel L. Jackson, Catherine O’Hara
Theatrical release: 2024
Writer Ellie Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard) works in the spy detective genre. Her books are in demand, but Ellie herself is not particularly fond of fame, simply trying not to leave home unnecessarily. However, her journey takes an unpleasant turn when she is attacked by unknown assailants. Ellie is rescued by special agent Aiden (Sam Rockwell), who involves the writer in the world of spy intrigue. It turns out that her books have gotten too close to a reality best left untouched.
In modern action movies, there is another subgenre best described as “Netflix-action.” These are expensive and flashy films with a prominent cast. However, in reality, they often turn out to be incredibly dull. A notable example is “Red Notice,” featuring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds. The satisfaction is questionable.
The creators of “Argylle” had the backing of Universal Pictures and Apple, with renowned director Matthew Vaughn (“Kingsman,” “Kick-Ass”) at the helm. The lead roles are filled by stars like Henry Cavill and Bryan Cranston. Even a place for singer Dua Lipa was found, which for a significant portion of the audience might be a compelling reason to watch the film. Nevertheless, it still feels like a “Netflix-action.”
The movie starts off well. The unusual setup and gradual immersion into the world of spies look organic, unobtrusive, and fun.
It aligns the film with “Kingsman,” and there are no secrets here, as the creators of “Argylle” ideally plan to connect it to the “Kingsman” universe. It’s always enjoyable to watch Bryce Dallas Howard on screen, as her charisma elevates every scene.
“Argylle” doesn’t work on the level of the screenplay. Local events seem designed solely to connect well-known stars and questionable quality jokes in some clear chain. But independently, they don’t have much significance.
The stakes constantly rise, emphasizing the importance of the actions of the main characters, but neither the tone nor the development of the story solidifies that something significant could actually change for better or worse. It’s an ordinary day in the not-so-ordinary world of spies.
Perhaps the kitschy portrayal of the spies themselves is to blame. As a director, Vaughn doesn’t betray his style and introduces almost cartoonish motifs into his live-action works. On the one hand, it adds style points to “Argylle.” On the other hand, the seriousness of perception is reduced almost to zero.
Here, you must ask yourself a clear question: why do you watch action movies at all? If you just need dynamic scenes where familiar faces perform extravagant stunts, “Argylle” has plenty of that. Yes, the film lacks realism, and there’s too much CGI, but it serves its entertaining role. If you also need a story, then sorry, it’s lacking here.
There is a detective line, but everything in it unfolds so predictably that it doesn’t evoke much tension or excitement. The features of the local spy setting are somewhat clichéd; we have seen more interesting realizations before. Even playing with metamodernism quickly turns into another pretext for jokes about the main heroine.
And it’s unfortunate because the film has the potential for “great cinema” and even “outstanding,” but it never materializes. Trying to fit into current standards of action film production, Vaughn and the team undermined their own vision. One can blame the modern film industry for this, but the somewhat senseless adventures of a writer in the world of spies don’t improve from it.
“Argylle” is a decent film that feels the potential for “great cinema” and even “outstanding,” but it never materializes. Trying to fit into current standards of action film production, Vaughn and the team undermined their own vision. One can blame the modern film industry for this, but the somewhat senseless adventures of a writer in the world of spies don’t improve from it.