Argylle (2024)
April 13, 2024 5:21 PM - Subscribe

A reclusive author who writes espionage novels about a secret agent and a global spy syndicate realizes the plot of the new book she's writing starts to mirror real-world events, in real time.

So I'd wanted to see this for the cat, and it looked like a silly good time. Then the reviews were uniformly "THIS IS TERRIBLE," and thus I didn't go see it. Then I was up too early and found it's on Apple TV. Actually, it was better than I expected? Go figure.

I mean, some shit's utterly implausible like "that cat quietly sits in its carrier doing nothing unless it gets out and gets annoyed at someone," and "ice skating with knives in your boots through crude oil" (?????) and whatever was going on with all the pretty smoke. And yet, even stuff like the silly word "whirlybird" actually keeps coming into play and making sense.

I liked the setup and the twists of it all and that made this plot work for me, though. It was silly fun and enjoyable and in some ways, rather clever. I liked how the plot worked with how Elly knew about the spy stuff going on and the revelations regarding her and Aidan and her parents. So, enjoyed that. Better than I thought it would be. I also liked that Bryce Dallas Howard looks like a normal sized woman of normal size and age (compared to Dua Lipa basically cameo-ing--I love Dua Lipa but I wouldn't want to compare to her), and yet doing spy stuff.

As for the twist at the end, no clue!
posted by jenfullmoon (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I liked the second half of this a lot more than the first half. At first, I wasn't sure how seriously it was taking itself, and thought maybe it was going to go in the direction of the main character having a mental breakdown; there's not a lot of hints at in the beginning about how silly things will get by the end. The cuts between Elly's hallucinations and what's actually happening got to be pretty excessive and annoying, and I was happy when they dropped that. Cavill's hair and outfit is so bad in this that I initially thought he was some sort of computer generated attempt at a young Bruce Willis; my brain went full uncanny valley and I honestly didn't recognize him as an actual human at first. Sam Rockwell is super unappealing and seedy and kind of an asshole in this, so I was disappointed that he ended up as Bryce Dallas Howard's love interest -- I was really hoping/rooting for Ariana DeBose to come back and sweep her off her feet instead. I was especially disappointed that they didn't use that one last cut to the fantasy world after the kiss on the getaway boat to show us Cavill making out with Cena. They could have pulled it off if they changed the timing by just 2 seconds; this is either the biggest missed opportunity or the biggest act of cowardice in filmmaking for the year.

I also don't know WTF is up with the bit at the end, except for them saying "hey can we make Cavill's hair EVEN WORSE?"
posted by jordemort at 9:47 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]

The bit with Cavill at the end was, hopefully, teasing a sequel.

We laughed ourselves silly. So over the top especially compared to Vaughn’s Kingsmen films.
posted by billsaysthis at 10:54 PM on April 13

I just saw this the other night! Enjoyed it so much it prompted me to ask an AskMefi question about similar movies.

It kind of reminded me of The Lost City with the author angle, but then it deviated quickly from that. I liked the little cat backpack! But I also agree there is no way a cat would have sat quietly in it like that, ha ha.

I generally like Sam Rockwell but for a while I was like ugh, this guy. However, he had redeemed himself at the end. I did think it would have been better if it had been the woman IT expert accompanying Elly on her adventures rather than Sam Rockwell. I liked her character and we saw so little of her!

And Henry Cavill’s hair was indeed awful.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:37 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]

It was a dumb, kinetic, fun Matthew Vaughn movie, and perfectly entertaining way to spend a Saturday evening. It kind of proves that you can definitely have a Matthew Vaughn flick without Jane Goldman (who at least part-wrote all the others except The King's Man and Layer Cake, and I'm not sure that Layer Cake counts). If there's peak Vaughn schtick it would be Bryce Dallas Howard slaughtering minions with a pair of machine guns while zooming around on a pair of skates fashioned from daggers. A lot of it was so silly I was definitely laughing out loud at the ridiculousness, but that's also a kind of fun. There's no need to judge anything. The critical reaction seems to suggest that a lot of people have forgotten how to let a stupid movie just wash over them. I don't think there's any other way to view this movie other than as a tidal wave of silliness.
posted by Grangousier at 11:14 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]

The critical reaction seems to suggest that a lot of people have forgotten how to let a stupid movie just wash over them.

Or they had to watch that stupid one-note trailer for months on end until there was no way they couldn't hate it. I believe you guys that it was a fun movie, but, boy, did the relentless advertising kill any desire I might've had to see it.
posted by praemunire at 12:42 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]

I came across this on apple last evening and started on it. I lasted 15 minutes, I really hated the cutting between Rockwell and Cavill in the train fight scene, and the chase through the town was not very interesting before that, so I quit.
posted by biffa at 3:08 PM on April 14

It's silly piled on silly. I don't mind that I was entertained for a couple of hours.
posted by porpoise at 5:04 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]

Loved it, all the while knowing this is not a great movie. A lot of it was laugh out loud funny. As my youngest son says, a movie doesn’t have to be good to be enjoyable and this was exactly that.
posted by lhauser at 9:56 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]

It not only had a famously overexposed trailer, but the trailer actually implies the cat is the secret agent.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:38 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]

I agree with most of the rest of you that this was silly but also a lot of fun. I could have done with fewer "twists" (particularly in terms of who was double/triple/whatever-crossing whom), and Ariana DeBose was criminally underused. And in line with my opinion on most movies today: why did it have to be so long??? But still, a very good time if you lean into the ridiculousness.

(I almost posted an AskMe about this movie and its accompanying book back in early 2022 -- at which point the story given to the press was that Vaughn had optioned the book from a friend, new author Elly Conway, with the implication that this was a straightforward spy story and Henry Cavill was the lead. Said "author" had no social media presence other than an empty twitter account linking to her book on Penguin's UK site, where they had her name spelled wrong and a publication date of after the movie was due to be released. But I thought I'd come off as a conspiracy nut or something...)
posted by alyxstarr at 9:28 AM on April 16

This was much goofier and giddier than I was expecting!
posted by Pronoiac at 8:37 PM on April 18

i hated the cgi effects in this movie, which were uniformly terrible. especially in the final setpieces with the smoke effects and the pool of crude oil. just pure uncanny valley garbage. bring back practical effects in action films!

the critical reaction is spot on for me. you can have a dumb action movie if the action set pieces are good. they are not good in this movie, and the comedic bits are not enough to make up for it on the whole, even if i got a chuckle in here or there.
posted by dis_integration at 10:30 AM on April 21

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