Argylle Movie Review: Critics' Verdicts Unveiled

Argylle is a film that tantalizes with its premise and star-studded lineup but ultimately succumbs to its narrative and stylistic excesses.

Argylle (2024) movie review - Watch official trailer.
Argylle (2024) spy movie features a star-studded cast.

Argylle is a high-octane misfire packed with star power. It emerges as a paradoxical spectacle that marries a stellar ensemble with a convoluted narrative, ultimately failing to leave a mark in the spy genre it ambitiously seeks to homage.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, known for his kinetic flair in movies like "Kingsman: The Secret Service" and "Kick-Ass," Argylle was poised to redefine spy cinema with its high-octane action and illustrious cast. However, despite the presence of industry heavyweights such as Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Henry Cavill, Dua Lipa, John Cena, Catherine O’Hara, Bryan Cranston, Ariana DeBose, and more, the film has been met with a tepid response, underlining a colossal mismatch between potential and execution.

Argylle is a film that tantalizes with its premise and star-studded lineup but ultimately succumbs to its narrative and stylistic excesses. Critics have been unanimous in their disappointment, highlighting the movie's inability to weave its myriad elements into a cohesive or compelling whole. Vulture's Bilge Ebiri critiques Vaughn's storytelling, suggesting that while he remains an "inspired choreographer of deranged mayhem," the thin storyline and overreliance on violent extremes render the film "exhausting and tedious, but occasionally enchanting."

The New York Times' Alissa Wilkinson laments the film's failure to effectively pay tribute to the spy genre, criticizing its "soulless, human-free" atmosphere that seems more akin to an artificial intelligence's interpretation of espionage cinema than a heartfelt homage. Similarly, the Washington Post's Ty Burr equates the viewing experience to a headache, remarking on the film's overlong duration and lack of pleasurable content.

Watch Argylle (2024) Spy Movie - Official Trailer

Among the film's few defenders, Peter Travers of Good Morning America acknowledges "Argylle's" initial charm as "good, goofy fun," a departure from Vaughn's typically more adult-oriented fare. However, he too notes the film's inability to maintain its momentum, bogged down by its excessive runtime and a narrative that grows increasingly tiresome.

Critics have also pointed out fundamental flaws in the film's structure and directorial vision. Katie Walsh of the Los Angeles Times brands it a "failure of directorial execution from top to bottom," placing it among the ranks of expensive cinematic flops. Issues with Jason Fuchs' screenplay are highlighted by Nicholas Barber of the BBC, who describes it as a lackluster attempt filled with clichés and lacking in originality.

Despite its inventive twists and a cast that performs admirably within the confines of the material, Argylle fails to resonate or innovate, as noted by Brian Lowry of CNN. The film, while promising in its trailers, ultimately disappoints, offering a convoluted plot that struggles to justify its existence.

In conclusion, Argylle serves as a cautionary tale of wasted potential. Its ensemble cast and the director's vision, while initially promising a refreshing take on the spy genre, are let down by a disjointed narrative, stylistic overindulgence, and a lack of substantive engagement with the genre it seeks to celebrate. As audiences and critics alike ponder the necessity of such a venture, Argylle stands as a stark reminder that star power and action sequences alone do not make a successful spy film. For those seeking a compelling espionage thriller, the search continues beyond the disappointing spectacle that is Argylle.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆