credit: Apple and Universal Pictures

Movie Review: Argylle (2024) ***

Argylle is a movie about a red-haired genre fiction author with a cat and a big ol’ booty getting entangled with the spies she writes about. Think Romancing the Stone meets Kingsman: The Secret Service, which is the easiest and most accurate comparison because both Kingsman and Argylle are Matthew Vaughn movies.

I can’t tell you that Argylle is a good movie because I don’t think it is, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. I was convinced from the trailer that Argylle was made for me. And it was. I loved Kingsman 1&2, and I too am a dump trucked sometimes-redheaded author of genre fiction who loves cats.

But Argylle was “for me” in ways I didn’t expect, too. By the time the over-wrought ending comes around with peak terribad CGI and an “okay, is it over now?” aroma, Matthew Vaughn is dangling genderfuckery and gay subtext over my head like a cat toy. I get it Matthew Vaughn! We’re both disaster bisexuals who want to be topped by Bryce Dallas Howard! gawd.

This is another outing for Samuel L. Jackson, who appears to be spending his recent career years doing Only Movies Where He Can Fuck Off and Enjoy Himself. He has a spectacularly shallow role in the plot, along with other Vaughn-bff Sofia Boutella, playing her minor part in the disaster bisexuality of it all. And there are cameos from Ariana DeBose playing a lesbian in CGI locations.

Catherine O’Hara plays Moira from Schitt’s Creek, Bryan Cranston plays a real ~daddy~, and nobody here was working all that hard but they’re kinda too amazing to suck anyway.

I’m convinced there is a clause in Sam Rockwell’s contract that allows him to *always* do his fancy footwork dancing. He radiates Husband Who Doesn’t Wear the Pants vibes, so I like him a lot, except for the part where his character doesn’t like cats. That’s not negotiable.

But mostly I’m here for Bryce Dallas Howard, my wife, boobular and asstastic, serving up size-12 action movie doe eyes. The thirst is so, so strong. She looks good in every look. I want her to destroy me.

I guess Henry Cavill is there too.

You’ll guess the twist in the first twenty minutes if you don’t already know it, and the plot really labors over spy twist after spy twist, and somehow I enjoy the whole thing. Every twist *feels* pointless and shallow, but they’re also clearly tropes that gives Matthew Vaughn a raging stiff Vaughner, and it works on me too.

You know how I talk about some movies being intended to push buttons exclusively? Like when directors just make something because the idea is so hot to them, they don’t care if it actually works on any other level? Well, Argylle (and I suppose Kingsman) is this for Matthew Vaughn, and it’s fully this for me. It kickpunches every last spy fetish button I have and slips in some genderfuck to make sure I’m left drooling for fanfic. (There’s barely any fanfic! Guess I’m gonna be writing a spy romance.)

I highly recommend this movie to people like me, who don’t mind that the whole thing looks like one of those old CD-ROM games where people were filmed in front of green screens and plastered over 90s pixel art, who are very gay, who like spy movies. So I guess basically I recommend this for people who liked Tenet too.

(image credit: Apple and Universal Pictures)

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