Making a movie is a lot like baking a cake, you’ve got to have all the right ingredients mixed properly to make something delicious.
At first glance, “Argylle” looks like a very yummy cake. It’s got a killer cast, a ridiculous, twisty-turny spycraft screenplay that actually holds together and a stylish director in Matthew Vaughn (known for movies like “Kick-Ass,” “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and “X-Men: First Class”).
But then you take a bite and while it’s not so bad you want to spit it out, it’s definitely disappointing because it doesn’t taste half as good as it should.
The plot mixes fantasy with reality as Bryce Dallas Howard plays Elly Conway, a successful author of a series of spy novels that feature super-secret-agent Argylle (depicted in Elly’s head as Henry Cavill).
Argylle does your typical super-spy stuff like dodging bullets, wooing sexy ladies and risking life and limb in elaborate car chases.
But for mild-mannered Elly, all of this excitement is just a work of the imagination. That is until she meets a real spy, Aidan Wilde (Sam Rockwell), who saves her from a train-full of assassins and informs her that her books are so accurate in the world of cloak and dagger that it is believed her unpublished next novel contains information valuable to a sinister organization led by Director Ritter (Bryan Cranston).
A trip around the world ensues and plot twists abound as Elly works to sort out what is fact and what is fiction.
The supporting cast bench is deep here with the likes of Dua Lipa, Ariana DeBose, Richard E. Grant, John Cena, Catherine O’Hara and Samuel L. Jackson all popping in to have some fun.
It’s a little difficult to pinpoint what went wrong here. The movie is probably about 20 minutes too long, you could argue some of the actors are miscast and the screenplay does have a few plot holes.
The thing I kept coming back to were the computer-generated special effects which, frankly, looked absolutely terrible. Every single action sequence, of which there are many, gets washed in often unnecessary digital enhancements that look like they came out of a sub-par video game.
The effects are so distracting that they take you right out of the movie and made me wonder, as they failed to hold up to the scrutiny of the big screen, if the hope was that most people will watch it on their phones or on an airplane and not be able to notice.
At any rate, “Argylle” fails to deliver despite all of its promise and while it doesn’t leave a completely terrible taste in your mouth, you definitely won’t be coming back for seconds.
“Argylle” is rated PG-13 for strong violence and action and some strong language.