As a director, Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, the Kingsman series) is like a brasher, more cartoony version of Guy Ritchie, all “crazy” badass bluster and pop genre posturing, and he doesn’t alter his over-the-top ways with Argylle, a scattershot and empty-headed spy story that futilely tries to tap a Romancing the Stone (or even The Lost City) vein. Its comic touch almost as heavy-handed as its slow-motion-drenched action is dull, it seems primarily designed to answer the question, “How many movie stars can one fiasco squander?”
Argylle (in theaters Feb. 2) is brimming with marquee names but at the center of its nonsense is Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard), the author of a popular spy series concerning Argylle (Henry Cavill), whose heroic exploits play out on screen in goofily extravagant sequences that don’t resemble 007 so much as Austin Powers, replete with bright primary colors, fanciful settings, and absurd outfits.
Argylle wears a wide-shouldered black suit and sports an idiotic-looking flat-top, although neither gets in the way of him showing off his dance floor moves during an opening face-off against LaGrange (Dua Lipa), a golden-dressed sexpot he’s been tasked with apprehending. Argylle is soon chasing LaGrange through Greece in a vehicular pursuit that rivals Bad Boys 2 for metropolitan destruction, with Vaughn employing the chintzy CGI that will dominate the remainder of the proceedings.