Argylle Review | Matthew Vaughn’s Spy Comedy Is Fun, but a Little Too Familiar

Matthew Vaughn’s new spy comedy Argylle is very much an extension of his Kingsman series. While the highly imaginative wacky set pieces give you a visual high at many places, the back and forth between the real and fictional identity of the key character is a bit exhaustive after a point. The spoofy irreverence in the writing along with Vaughn’s signature humor in conversations, makes this movie enjoyable in totality.

Elly Conway is a celebrated author who specializes in spy thrillers, and all her books are received well by the readers. Her ongoing book series, Argylle, is the focus of our story. At one point during a train journey, Elly gets attacked by a group of unknown men. A real spy named Aidan saves her from that group, and he tells her that everyone is after her because what she had written has already happened in the spy world, and they all look at her as a fortune teller. How Elly deals with this unwarranted talent is what we witness in Argylle.

The first movie in the Kingsman series is an absolute favorite of mine simply because of the way Matthew Vaughn had designed that world. SPOILER ALERT! The mid-credit scene in this movie pretty much reveals that even though Samuel L Jackson plays a totally different role, it has a connection with the Kingsman. The origin movie arc of the first film that introduces us to the nitty-gritty of that secret spy world was refreshingly fun back in 2014. When it comes to Argylle, Vaughn is pretty much trying to recreate a similar charm. While the whole writer aspect of the story makes the movie look interesting at the beginning, it gradually goes towards the grammar of the Kingsman world.

The character played by Bryce Dallas Howard has these starkly contrasting shades, and the actor managed to switch between the two shades quite easily. While the anxious shade was a familiar one, I really enjoyed the way she flowed in the action bit. Sam Rockwell, with his innate sense of humor, portrayed the part of the real spy pretty neatly. Bryon Cranston got to play this slightly high-pitched typical antagonist while Catherine O’Hara played the leading lady’s mother’s part. Henry Cavill and John Cena are pretty much playing extended cameos in the film, but Vaughn teases us with some possibilities at the end.

The familiarity the audience has with Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman universe is actually the advantage and issue of Argylle. While you sort of get enthralled in the crazy action set pieces that mostly unfold in the final act of the story, the acquaintance with the fabric makes it slightly predictable. In the movie’s first act, where Elly Conway is entirely a writer scared about the sudden shift of events happening around her, the writing is captivating and hilarious. But when the mysteries get resolved in the second act of the movie, the writing is not that smooth in presenting the shift with conviction, and it was pretty much the improvised repartee humor that saved the film in those parts. Vaughn’s love for choreographed slow-motion fight sequences can be seen here as well, and this time, he decided to make the actors dance. The amount of gold in the frames very much gives you a subtle cue about the connection of this story with Kingsman. The match-cut transitions in the film are quite an amusing experience.

On the whole, Argylle is fun because of how Vaughn has conceived those color-rich choreographed action set pieces. But beyond that, the beats are not really absorbing, and because of the overall loud pitch of the setting, there is never really a dull moment in the flick that runs for around 139 minutes. If you have enjoyed all the Kingsman films (I wasn’t a fan of the second film), then I would say this one will definitely work for you. It will be interesting to see how Matthew Vaughn plans to blend the Argylle universe and the Kingsman universe because both Samuel L Jackson and Sofia Boutella have played different characters in both universes.

Final Thoughts

The spoofy irreverence in the writing along with Vaughn's signature humor in conversations, makes this movie enjoyable in totality.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.