Copyright, Universal Pictures
Today’s Prayer Focus
MOVIE REVIEW

Argylle

also known as “Argylle - Espião Secreto,” “Argylle - La super spia,” “Argylle - O Superespião,” “Argylle - Siêu Điệp Viên,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for strong violence and action and some strong language.

Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
CONTRIBUTOR

Moral Rating: Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Young-Adults Mature-Teens
Genre: Action Comedy Thriller IMAX
Length: 2 hr. 19 min.
Year of Release: 2024
USA Release: February 2, 2024 (wide release—3,605 theaters)
Copyright, Universal Picturesclick photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues

If financially successful, ARGYLLE was intended to serve as the start of a franchise consisting of at least a trilogy of films.

Copyright, Universal Pictures

Secret agents / espionage / spies

About SPIES in the Bible

Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Featuring Henry CavillArgylle
Bryce Dallas HowardElly Conway
Catherine O'HaraRuth, Elly’s mother
Sofia BoutellaSaba Al-Bad
Sam RockwellAidan
Dua LipaLagrange
Ariana DeBoseKeira
Bryan CranstonRitter
Samuel L. JacksonAlfred Solomon
John CenaWyatt
Rob Delaney
Jing Lusi
See all »
Director Matthew Vaughn — “The King’s Man” franchise
Producer Apple Original Films
Apple Studios
See all »
Distributor Distributor: Universal Pictures. Trademark logo.Universal Pictures

“The greater the spy, the bigger the lie.”

Agent Argylle (Henry Cavill) and his partner Wyatt (John Cena) are the spies you can count on to complete the most dangerous missions imaginable and in the most spectacular way. And why not, when they are the main characters in a series of best-selling books by their writer, Ellie Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard).

Suffering a case of ‘writers block’ Ellie seeks help from her oft-times collaborator, her mother Ruth (Catherine O'Hara), and boards a train to meet her. While on her trip she reluctantly comes to meet a fellow passenger, Aidan (Sam Rockwell), who recognizes her and almost immediately steps in to save her from thugs attempting to either kidnap or kill her. Aidan then explains that her latest novel detailing the activities of a secret organization that has gone rogue has hit a little to close to the truth and that has made her their target. Fortunately, Aidan is there to save her.

Having little choice, if she wants to stay alive, Ellie elects to work with Agent Aidan to uncover the mystery of the organization and what information she may or may not know. Ellie Conway now finds herself living the life of a spy on the run, alongside a real-life version of Argylle from her books. Is this a fiction writer’s dream come true or a nightmare that may well cost Ellie her and her cat Alfie’s life?

“Argylle” is an action film very much in the style of Director Matthew Vaughn’s “Kingsman” movies, and, without giving away too much, borrows from the themes of repressed memories from 1996’s “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” and that of choosing to fight your past from Schwarzenegger’s “Total Recall” (1990) with a nod also to “The Bourne Identity” (2002). Thematically speaking that is. “Argylle” does not take itself seriously enough to be compared to those films.

Rated PG-13, this film also pushes the limits of this rating in several areas.

Objectionable Content

LANGUAGE: Heavy. The profanity level is just under an R-rating and the Lord’s name is taken in vain a number of times including; G*d (11 times), Oh-My-G*d (3), G*d-D*** (3), H*ll (2), and Jesus’s name is used flippantly once. Vulgar language: Sh** (10), Bullsh*t (3), D**n (1), Sc*mbag (1), D*ck (1), Son of a b*tch (1), A** (3), A**h**e (1), Freak*** (1) and the F-word (1). Innuendo such as “pop that che**y” is jokingly tossed out as well.

VIOLENCE: Heavy. Although kept mostly bloodless in order to keep the PG-13 rating, it features comic book violence with many people throughout being killed by guns (twice through the heart), automatic weapons, explosions, knives, shotgun blasts to the head, other headshots, bayoneting and suicide by poison.

SEX/NUDITY: Mild. Several dresses showing ample cleavage are shown, including that of Ellie, but no other nudity is featured. Kissing by the main characters is as far as it goes, but a past lesbian relationship is suggested.

Lessons

Two unmistakable themes are present throughout the film, that of lying and death.

LYING. “The greater the spy the bigger the lie” is the movie tagline, and Ellie gets to see the lies firsthand and eventually comes to embrace it. But is that something we should be aspiring to? Holy Scripture would say no.

“The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.” —Proverbs 12:22

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” —1 Peter 2:1

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” —Ephesians 4:29

Lies have no place in the Kingdom of God for He is “Truth,” and this truth above all is personified in none other than His Son, Jesus.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” —John 14:6

DEATH. As Aidan is fighting the rogue agents, he asks Ellie to finish the job and says to her, “crush the head to make sure they are dead.” This comes off in the film as funny, but it is just one example among many of how little life means to the two main characters. This progresses to the point that you can see how remorseless they are during a killing spree.

How our culture has become so numb to the value of life is a topic of particular importance that should give us pause. Stylized killing for fun in media, such as this film, goes a long way to desensitizing ourselves and the next generation we are raising. Argylle’s greatest respect for life is for the cat Ellie brings on her adventure. That is a far cry from God’s perspective, and His admonition is clear.

“You shall not murder.” —Exodus 20:13

“Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death.” —Leviticus 24:17 ESV

Our lives have great value in God’s eyes, as the inspired words of David attested to.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” —Psalm 139:13-15 NIV

And God has a purpose for each of our lives if we will only come to him.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” —Ephesians 2:10

Closing Thoughts

Sam Rockwell’s Agent Aidan is the highlight and star of the film and his comic, but capable character is almost a direct lift from his 2015 film, “Mr. Right.” While entertaining and often enjoyable, in a particularly silly way, the film’s script fails to give either his or Ellie’s character more than a cartoonishly superficial world to inhabit, forcing the audience to ‘suspend their belief’ time after time.

“Argylle” is a textbook example of style over substance. The story is implausible almost from the start, and it continues to challenge credulity with each impossible escape after another. Clean up the language, reduce the bloodshed and you can imagine “Argylle” for what it could have been, a kids movie, ala the original “Spy Kids” (2001). As it is, the film feels like a fun romantic comedy gone rogue.

  • Profane language: Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Heavy
  • Violence: Heavy
  • Nudity: Mild
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Mild
  • Wokeism: Minor
  • Sex: None
  • Occult: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Secular Movie Critics
…bloated… more exhausting than interesting… filled with VFX sequences so cheesy you wonder if they’re supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, and bogged down by a plot so convoluted you’ll be reaching for the aspirin, “Argylle” is a bright shining pile of mediocrity. …[2/4]
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
…‘Argylle’ should be a lot more fun and less of a headache… has to be one of the most expensive worst movies ever made. It’s honestly fascinating — something that should be studied in a lab. …
Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
…“Argylle” is a cynical cash grab that has the audacity to use that “new” Beatles song, “Now and Then” (itself a cynical cash grab pieced together with far more skill than this movie) as the basis for its score and the “love theme” for Aidan and Elly. …
Odie Henderson, The Boston Globe
…about as fun as a box of socks for Christmas… I am hard-pressed to think of another movie that literally comes to a complete halt the moment its co-star makes her bow. …begins with great promise and stumbles into ponderous “streaming” pacing… [1½/4]
Roger Moore, Movie Nation
…zero stars… 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? …
Nick Schager, The Daily Beast or Slant Magazine