2015 should be coined “Year of the Spy” by whoever coins movie years. Mission Impossible 5, Hitman: Agent 47, Bridge of Spies & Man from Uncle, all spy movies but each with a different taste to the palette.
Man from Uncle features Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo, a reluctant CIA agent who made a deal to work for them instead of going to jail and Armie Hammer as Ilya Kuryakin, a KGB agent who is as tough as they get. Solo is tasked with recruiting the gorgeous Gaby (Alicia Vikander), who is the daughter of an ex-US scientist gone rogue. Kuryakin who has a very different modus operandi than Solo is also tasked with the same. What follows is a global sprint to stop a global catastrophe, the kind seen in almost every other spy movie these days. The plot is banal but the execution is really where Guy Ritchie shines.
Ritchie was aiming at that very 60s vibe with all three protagonists dressed dapperly and the typical spy locations: UK & Italy gorgeously placed in the backdrop here. The best part about the action set pieces is the comic interludes with Solo savoring a sandwich while a group on henchmen are chasing Kuryakin instead of defending him, being my favorite. A torture scene which featured the uncle/mad scientist torturing Cavill while showing him a scrapbook of his victim’s pictures was chilling but again was followed by an equally funny sequence. Split screen montages are finally done right with the right amount of tension and energy between the frames. We also have the final “chase the bad guy in a dune-buggy sequence” which reminded me of the early Sean Connery Bond movies.
Overall, what I liked about Man from Uncle is it’s simplicity. Ritchie went with style over substance but that doesn’t degrade the final product in any way. Also worth mentioning is the Hugh Grant special appearance which might have taken the charisma quotient of the movie up 2 more points.