Fear not nerds! A movie about two charming, somewhat attractive spies (at least our lady writers thinks so) deserves not only the best, but also the most dapper of duos to tackle such an endeavor. Step right up and say hello to “Brother” Myke Ladiona and, yours truly, the “Traveling Nerd” Lance Paul as we sat through one of the last summer popcorn movies of the season to tag-team this flick…
Lance: The Man From U.N.C.L.E., starring “don’t call me Clark” Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer in arguably his best role since The Social Network, and the extremely talented Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) in her 8th movie this year, is based off of a television show very few of this weekend’s viewers would of watched. Set during the Cold War and directed by the almighty ex-hubby of Madonna, Guy Ritchie, U.N.C.L.E finds our American (Cavil) and Russian (Hammer) forced to team up to not only protect Gaby (Vikander) but also stop the Nazi’s from getting their hands on a fully functioning nuke. It has Nazis–need you say more!
Myke: In his first directing effort since 2011’s Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, Guy Ritchie blends the broad, crowd pleasing filmmaking he learned from that franchise with the stylish, non-linear plotting that made his first films, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch shine. The combination of these two versions of Ritchie is actually the much needed breath of fresh air that the genre needed and aesthetically makes U.N.C.L.E. feel more like classic Bond than any of the “stripped down” Daniel Craig 007 movies.
Lance: I couldn’t agree more with you, “Brother”. Guy tacked U.N.C.L.E with a truly modern day artistic eye. You can tell that Guy had fun with this movie and it showed in his choice of editing and music. This movie could’ve been a totally different film if the musical choices or editing had been in the hands of lesser individuals. Quite often I found myself sitting in my seat getting lost in the moment due to the fast paced musical tempo that had your heart beating and pulse racing as you followed this back and forth cat and mouse game between Henry and Armie.
Myke: Yup! Editing is definitely U.N.C.L.E.‘s strongest suit. Not only in the fun way that Ritchie subverted what could have been typical action scenes, but also in how he and co-screenwriter Lionel Wigram were able to find the perfect middle ground between character development and plot in their tightly scripted story. The comedy never takes over the scene or dampens the stakes and the action is never without the subtext of revealing a little bit about any one of the characters or the situation they’re in.
Lance: So true, and speaking of characters I was truly impressed by Hammer and Vikander in this film. Just a few hours ago, we both had sat down and the question of Armie’s skills came up– with us both never having been floored by his talent. As soon as we left the theater the first words out of both our mouths was how Armie hammered back against the Man of Steel and stole his scenes. Alicia also played a very convincing helpless West German love interest for Armie; scenes with both of them helped push this film into a much appreciated summer flick in a sea of duds. Not to leave Mr. Cavill’s entertaining performance out, but he just didn’t impress me as much. Plus, his forced american accent had me thrown for a few minutes.
Myke: Cavill delivered all his lines like a bad comedian would if he was trying to do a cliche American accent. Someone should tell him that no one in the States talks like they did in 1940’s film noir. Other than that, the only real problem I had with the movie is that I wanted more, albeit in a good way. Yeah, U.N.C.L.E. suffers a little from origin “storitis” and is kind of held back from the balancing act of having to introduce and develop these three characters. Although they were able to tell a pretty interesting spy story while doing so, you could almost tell that Guy would have made the plot twist just as much as it did in Snatch or Lock, Stock. Hopefully he’s saving that for The Team From U.N.C.L.E.
(cont.) In the end, what really makes U.N.C.L.E. really stand out from all the other spy movies coming out this year (which add up to way more than all the superhero movies, by the way) is that it’s just really, effortlessly cool. The production design, soundtrack, editing, costumes, and characters really capture that sexy feeling that people must have felt when they first set their eyes on a shirtless Sean Connery in Dr. No and I think both Lance and I agree, we definitely can’t wait to see U.N.C.L.E..’s next mission.
Lance: I agree 100% percent with you, Brother, maybe one reason we both liked the movie so much was because it felt like a fresh and new summer film after a summer filled with superhero movies and sequels of sequels! Here’s to your next mission, U.N.C.L.E, I look forward to this fun ensemble of entertaining characters.