I often wonder if we as film fans/consumers of digital media are becoming harder and harder to please due to the sheer amount of media available at the click of a button.
I remember when there were only four channels and no Sky TV, Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+ or any one of the hundreds of other streaming platforms available today. If there was a film showing on one of those four channels we generally watched it because it was better than anything else that was showing on the other three.
The reason I’m reminiscing about the “good old days” is because I watched a film last week that was generally panned by critics and audiences upon release and yet I really enjoyed it. It got me wondering if we now hold movies up to impossible standards.
If you haven’t seen this movie it’s a new action/adventure/comedy/romance directed by Dexter Fletcher (Rocketman), starring Ana de Armas (Knives Out), Chris Evans (Captain America/The Avengers movies), Adrien Brody (Predators) and Mike Moh (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) among others.
This is what it’s about according to the internet:
“Cole (Evans) falls head over heels for enigmatic Sadie (de Armas), but then makes the shocking discovery that she's a secret agent. Before they can decide on a second date, Cole and Sadie are swept away on an international adventure to save the world.”
To be fair that synopsis does make it sound a bit lame, but as always there’s a lot more to the story than it implies.
I actually really enjoyed this movie. Ok so to an extent I can see why it wasn’t heralded by critics and movie-goers alike, but d'you know what? It’s fun and it’s escapism. Isn’t that the reason a lot of us watch films? I know it's why I do.
The movie does have its faults, one of which being (apparently) the lack of chemistry between Ana de Armas and Chris Evans, and yeah, to a point I can see why people would say that. For me though it was less to do with a lack of chemistry (personally I thought there was plenty), and more to do with buying into the notion that Ana de Armas could be a secret agent.
I only say that because so far I’ve only seen her in dramatic roles. That’s about to change though since she’s due to star in a new John Wick spin-off called Ballerina, expected for release in June next year.
I think she’s a good actress, but like I said, the only issue I had was believing she was this secret agent hard-ass. Fortunately though the film has enough charm that I was able to turn a blind eye.
Interestingly, Scarlett Johansson was originally cast in the lead role but had to leave due to scheduling conflicts. I could’ve seen her playing the part, especially with her action background. Mind you, it might’ve been a bit cheesy after she and Chris Evans starred in so many Marvel movies together. Having said that, this is the third film he and Ana de Armas have starred in together so…
Chris Evans, whom we've become used to seeing in hero roles is really good in this movie too, and it’s a lot of fun seeing him play the “damsel in distress”. It’s a huge contrast to his Captain America days but he pulls it off with often hilarious results.
Adrien Brody plays the main villain (there are several) and does a decent job, although I did feel he was a little under-used considering how good an actor he is.
The story (contrary to negative reviews) moves along at a nice pace and is dead easy to follow. It’s full of laughs, action and cool set pieces (the finale especially), not to mention some brilliant cameos!!
It’s a fun and unconventional take on the genre that reminded me a lot of Knight and Day (2010). Is it as good as that movie? No, but that’s no reason not to watch it. It’s still a great bit of escapism, and in my opinion undeserving of the bad reviews it’s been getting.
It’s currently streaming on Apple TV+.
Seen it? Let me know your thoughts.