Argylle Review: Disappointing Layers of Matthew Vaughn’s Spy Caper

Matthew Vaughn‘s “Argylle,” the reception appears to be a rollercoaster of disappointment. The film, touted as a spy caper with a star-studded cast including Henry Cavill, Dua Lipa, and Bryce Dallas Howard, has been met with scathing reviews, with critics saying its self-indulgence, lackluster performances, and a convoluted narrative.

Argylle Review: Disappointing Layers of Matthew Vaughn's Spy Caper

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Critics, including Peter Bradshaw, have not minced words in describing the film’s overall demeanor. The sense of self-satisfaction, evident in the directorial choices and execution, has left the audience yearning.

The screen itself seems to warp into a smirk, embodying the film’s lack of depth and genuine entertainment.

One of the criticisms is around Bryce Dallas Howard’s lead performance as spy novelist Elly Conway. Described as waxy, inert, and uncomfortable, her portrayal falls short of expectations, leaving the audience questioning the casting choices.

The script’s big twist fails to redeem the lack of engaging lines or character development for Elly Conway. The film’s supporting cast, despite their star power, is accused of delivering phoned-in cameos.

The film’s attempt at a meta-narrative, playing on two levels the imaginary and the real is labeled as a detriment.

Action sequences, to the spy genre, lose their impact as they cancel each other out in this dual-layered approach.

The imaginary spy world of Argylle clashes with the mundane reality of Elly Conway’s life. Matthew Vaughn’s past success with raucous bad taste, particularly evident in the “Kingsman” series, is overshadowed by “Argylle.”

The director’s trademark style, usually characterized by acrobatic fights and upbeat pop songs, seems to have lost its charm.

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The absence of contrast between Elly’s imagined spy game and the actual espionage fails to create the witty disparity, resulting in a generic and cartoonish portrayal of both worlds.

The film’s plot, involving a spy novelist dragged into real-world danger, draws comparisons to previous capers like “Charade” and “Knight and Day.”

However, the lack of depth in both the imaginary and real scenarios leaves the audience questioning the necessity of both narratives.

Bryan Cranston’s villain character questions about the film’s world-building and leaves important plot elements unexplained.

While “Argylle” retains some of Vaughn’s trademarks, such as fights and references to his personal life, the absence of his usual adolescent offensiveness is noted.

The film’s incorporation of the Beatles song Now and Then is criticized for feeling sacrilegious, questioning the need for such creative choices.

Vaughn’s influence in the music business is acknowledged, but it fails to elevate the film’s overall quality. The decision to tone down content, gore, and swearing in “Argylle” is seen as a sign of Vaughn’s belated maturity.

However, this leaves the film resembling other generic action-comedy offerings released on streaming services, lacking the expected from a theatrical release.

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