Dive into the cinematic labyrinth of Matthew Vaughn’s ‘Argylle,’ where spy fantasies collide with mundane realities. Unravel the twists, turns, and Beatles scandals in this in-depth analysis of a Bond pastiche within a pastiche.
Matthew Vaughn’s affinity for James Bond pastiches continues with “Argylle,” adding another layer to his homage to the iconic 007 franchise. The film kicks off with Henry Cavill’s Agent Argylle in a familiar Bond-esque scenario, complete with a glamorous femme fatale (Dua Lipa), a Greek island setting, and a flurry of action sequences.
However, the twist emerges as we discover that Agent Argylle’s escapades unfold within the imaginative world of Elly (Bryce Dallas Howard), a shy author of bestselling spy novels. Her encounter with a real-life secret agent, Aidan (Sam Rockwell), who mirrors her fictional creation, propels them into a mission to secure a crucial “master file” against a sinister organization.
While the film introduces some unexpected plot turns, the challenge lies in the lack of contrast between Elly’s mundane reality and the exaggerated spy fantasies she creates. Both worlds are plagued by generic and cartoonish scenes, making it difficult to appreciate the premise’s duality.
The screenplay, penned by Jason Fuchs, contributes to the film’s photocopy-of-a-photocopy feel, with details left unexplained, plot holes unfilled, and dialogue that oscillates between lazy and nonsensical. The forgettable villain, played by Bryan Cranston, adds to the overall confusion surrounding the antagonist’s motives and background.
Despite these drawbacks, “Argylle” remains distinctly a Matthew Vaughn film, showcasing his trademark acrobatic fights set to upbeat pop songs and subtle references to his personal life, including his supermodel wife Claudia Schiffer. However, the absence of Vaughn’s usual adolescent offensiveness, characterized by sex, gore, and swearing, may signify a departure from his typical style.
One notable aspect is Vaughn’s influence in the music industry, evident in the film’s use of the Beatles’ “Now and Then.” Yet, this choice raises eyebrows, considering the song’s significance as one of the last releases from the legendary band. The decision to license it for a spy farce prompts speculation about financial motives and even internet rumors connecting Taylor Swift to the film’s spin-off novel.
Ultimately, “Argylle” falls into the category of action-romance-comedy films released on streaming services in recent years, lacking the glamorous allure to justify its cinematic release.
As rumors circulate about more films in the pipeline, including additional “Argylle” and “Kingsman” installments, Vaughn’s relentless pursuit of Bond pastiches raises questions about the originality and sustainability of his cinematic ventures.