The Gray Man

The Gray Man from the Russo brothers is a pretty ambitious project in terms of scale. But the beats are so familiar that it somewhere fails to create that wow factor. With the slickness and pacing somewhat compensating that lack of freshness in writing, this Netflix original is just a watchable action flick.

The Gray Man was a project started by CIA officer Donald Fitzroy where he recruited an eligible guy with a criminal record to do things for the CIA that they cant directly do. Our hero, code name Sierra Six was one of them, and during one of the operations, he got possession of some sensitive information. The agency knew that he had taken it, and they assigned the task of finding Six to Lloyd Hansen, a toxic sociopath who was an ex-CIA agent. The cat and mouse game between Six and Lloyd is what we see in The Gray Man.

The Russo brothers are known for adding a sense of depth and emotion to the MCU. The way they moved away from templates and focused on conflicts somewhere brought freshness to the superhero space. In The Gray Man, they are trying their luck with the super agent theme. But the reinvention charm is not here. It was almost like the Russo’s got influenced by Michael Bay. The locations are shifting, bombs are exploding, and big-scale collateral damage is happening. And despite all that, the plot feels very simplistic.

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Ryan Gosling as Sierra Six is convincing in that typical style of his. It was Chris Evans who actually got a role that looks exciting and somewhat different. As the unempathetic Lloyd, Evans was really good, and it’s a character that is drastically different from the usual ones we see him do. Ana de Armas as Dani Miranda is that usual aid to the hero who pops out of nowhere when the good guy is in need of help. Dhanush is there for four or five scenes. Other than the possible global exposure, there is nothing here for the two-time National Award-winning actor.

The plot here is a very familiar one. When the Russo brothers take up something like this, I hoped the treatment would have some character-driven aspects. But the screenplay written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely is more interested in creating set pieces. Post pandemic, the visual effects standard has dropped, even in MCU films. One can sense that in The Gray Man too. The tram sequence just didn’t look convincing at all. It was almost like the Russos randomly picked one scene to be the spectacle, but the lackluster visual effects only worsened things. The high-speed heli-cam shots looked appealing, but the placement of such shots didn’t make much sense.

The Gray Man follows the standard template of that cool agent thriller. Rather than making it a compelling drama, the focus is on making it an action extravaganza, and thus there is this fast-paced narration for the movie. The swagger factor eventually helps the film in being a non-boring flick. But this one from Anthony and Joe Russo is short on novelty.

Final Thoughts

The swagger factor eventually helps the film in being a non-boring flick. But this one from Anthony and Joe Russo is short on novelty.


Green: Recommended Film

Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films

Red: Not Recommended