Finally, a remake where I’m not familiar with the source material and neither are most everyone else I know!
When I first heard about THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. I was intrigued. A Cold War era spy flick where Spy Vs Spy are on the same team? You’ve got my attention. Factor in the opportunity to see Henry Cavill do something to show his range beyond Superman, and my interest takes it up another notch. The work Alicia Vikander did with EX MACHINA was very impressive, so I was quite eager to see what she would bring in a less serious follow-up. Armie Hammer is someone who showed talent in THE SOCIAL NETWORK, but I’m still yet to be impressed with him. Knowing that someone at some point had cast him to play Batman in a film that never materialized has me intrigued. So there are three significant factors raising my interest in the film, and one minor one. That’s enough to get me in the theater, and the fact that my wife was interested in it sealed the deal to keep me from having to wait for home viewing.
Granted, my “watch all of the James Bond films” checklist is probably only about half complete, I’ve seen enough from the various versions of 007, from Connery to Craig, to say that THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. felt more like a Bond film than anything Daniel Craig has been in. And quite honestly, it felt more like a Bond film than most of what Pierce Brosnan did.
U.N.C.L.E. just had an inherent coolness to it. A sense of humor that kept the film from becoming a comedy, but was smile-inducing along the ride. Despite being a period piece, there were plenty of little gadgets involved and some cool automobiles to chase around in.
The tensions between Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer felt very natural for the characters they were portraying – a secret agent from the United States having to work with one from the Soviet Union. I think the fact that both guys are young, hungry actors looking to further prove themselves as strong leading men in Hollywood probably also played into it. Neither guy could sit back and rest on their reputation, and to the victor may very well go the spoils of future leading man work. It’s not hard to imagine that they will both be auditioning for the same parts in the coming years, so why not start the competition here?
It’s quite clear that Alicia Vikander can hold her own in this type of film as well, and her chemistry with both of the male leads worked well. I absolutely see her getting more work outside of pure drama roles in years to come, showing some decent comedic timing.
I didn’t have huge expectations for the film going in, despite it being a Guy Ritchie film, and although there’s very little chance it’s getting nominated for anything significant, I was impressed with the outcome. If there’s not a sequel in the next few years, I’ll be disappointed. Guy better make it happen.
My Rating: 85 out of 100