Latest Entertainment News Headlines

The UnPopular Opinion: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

09.08.2016

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

****SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

Guy Ritchie was going to be the next big thing. After the release of LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, Ritchie gave us SNATCH which blew audiences away. Expecting him to turn into the next Hollywood auteur thanks to his unique visual style and hyperactive Tarantino-esque narratives, I waited patiently for his big studio efforts to become some of my favorite movies. After SWEPT AWAY nearly sunk his career, Ritchie delivered a pair of films, REVOLVER and ROCKNROLLA, that just felt like he was ripping himself off. Then came SHERLOCK HOLMES. Seeing Ritchie's ramped up slow motion and Ritalin-induced editing in an anachronistic take on the classic detective character, I was done with hoping for anything worthwhile from Guy Ritchie. Maybe it was just too much of the same thing for me, but I did not like SHERLOCK HOLMES or its sequel very much. So, when THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. came out, I initially passed on the flick. Expecting it to be a 1960s set version of every previous Guy Ritchie movie, I ignored the very talented cast including Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant, Elizabeth Debicki, and Jared Harris. Boy was I wrong.

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. is one of the most underappreciated films of the last decade and one of the best films that nobody saw last summer. Released at the start of August, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. should have been a massive success and paved the way for a new franchise. Appealing to fans of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and the Jason Bourne franchise, this movie ranks as one of the absolute best TV series adaptations and could be Guy Ritchie's best studio work. I do not hold high hopes for KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD, but everything that fits into Ritchie's bag of director tricks works in spades in this film. The ramped up slow motion is still his trademark, but his use of color, music, and kitschy subtitles through this spy adventure had me glued to my screen for the entire running time. But, what works so well in this movie may be the exact reason that it failed to click with audiences. And that is what makes it the perfect discovery for those who passed it up last year.

The UnPopular Opinion, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Alicia Vikander, Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Comedy, Action, Adventure, Spy

Inspired by the classic series starring Robert Vaughn, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. is set during an era that doesn't exactly scream out to modern audiences. While the AUSTIN POWERS franchise was able to joke and spoof the 1960s, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. embraces the period with retro panache. The gadgets are old fashioned, the romance is old fashioned, and even the action is old fashioned. But, this is where Guy Ritchie's modern sensibility works beautifully as his manic visual approach gives the film a breezy, light feel that prevents it from feeling like a bogged down retread. Everything Ritchie does keeps the film fun and recalls the Roger Moore and Sean Connery eras of the James Bond series. In essence, Guy Ritchie has made the best Bond movie that was never released 40 years ago. Much like how J.J. Abrams' reboot of STAR TREK managed to inject a stagnant franchise with some vigor, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. serves as the best proof that an old school James Bond movie would work perfectly today.

Both Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill have experience working on big budget projects with very divisive fan responses. Hammer was ripped to shreds in the wake of THE LONE RANGER and Cavill is everybody's punching bag thanks to MAN OF STEEL and BATMAN V SUPERMAN. Both men are square-jawed actors who look like matinee idols from a bygone era. When I first heard this film was coming and that Tom Cruise had dropped out of the role as Napoleon Solo, a part also linked to George Clooney and countless other actors, I almost thought that Hammer would work in that part. When Cavill joined the cast, I had expected he would take over for Hammer as Illya Kuryakin. I scoffed at Cavill as Solo and Hammer as Kuryakin, but both turned out to be in the parts they were destined for. Cavill looks to be having so much fun as Solo that it makes you wonder what he could do as Superman if it were free from Zack Snyder's control. Hammer also brings something that has been missing from his recent performances and gives clear reasoning why he should get more leading man roles.

The UnPopular Opinion, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Alicia Vikander, Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Comedy, Action, Adventure, Spy

But what works best in THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. is what always highlights a Guy Ritchie film: the ensemble. Every actor in this movie delivers some of their best work even in limited screen time. Hugh Grant continues to prove that he doesn't need to be a bumbling Brit in every film and shines as the head of U.N.C.L.E. while Jared Harris proves he is his father's son and takes on characters that defy typecasting. Alicia Vikander, who had one hell of a 2015, added to her breakout year by playing the sexy love interest who easily holds her own with both male leads. Elizabeth Debicki is bound to be a great villain in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 if her role in this movie is any indicator. It is virtually impossible to find anyone in this movie who doesn't give their best work.

Ultimately, what sinks THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. is the high concept for a remake of a series most people have never heard of. Fans of James Bond and the era may have been looking forward to this movie, but it was released at the wrong time of the year. What is awful is that THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. is an even better summer movie than most of the films released in 2015 (and probably 2016 as well). The entire first thirty minutes of the movie runs at a breakneck pace and does not let you go. By the time you are able to stop and catch your breath, the film is taking you to the next exotic locale and propelling the story forward. This movie is perfect for people who like their movies like they take their coffee: strong, fast, and intense. This is definitely not a film for sitting back and relaxing by the fireplace. This is definitive Guy Ritchie.

The UnPopular Opinion, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Alicia Vikander, Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Comedy, Action, Adventure, Spy

The fact that THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.'s plot is largely forgettable is not a detriment to the movie itself but actually an asset. What you leave this movie with is a sense of fun and adventure, like a roller coaster. You may not remember every twist and turn, but you know that you had fun along the way. It also is a movie you will have no problem returning to because it doesn't demand much from you as viewer aside from your attention. There is no allegorical subtext on display here, just a good, old fashioned movie romp. It also delivers a self-contained story that does not necessitate a sequel. A rarity these days, it also lets you leave your viewing experience feeling as if you completed something rather than having watched just the first chapter. I guarantee this is a movie you can enjoy no matter what genre you are into and you will do so with a big ass smile on your face.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to alexmaidy@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

RECOMMENDED MOVIE NEWS

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

1:55AM on 09/10/2016
Loved this movie when I went to see it last year; saw it in the 2nd week, theater was 3/4's full, but I was the youngest (at 41) in there. It was a hard sell for the under-30 crowd, just zero knowledge of the original.
Loved this movie when I went to see it last year; saw it in the 2nd week, theater was 3/4's full, but I was the youngest (at 41) in there. It was a hard sell for the under-30 crowd, just zero knowledge of the original.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:44AM on 12/24/2016
Strange! I happen to have stumbled upon Tumblr, and wow, all those fanfiction, fanart, and gifs! I'm pretty sure The Man from U.N.C.L.E attracted a lot of youths. Well, not a lot, but for those who did watch it, it is apparently (but surprisingly) VERY well-received.
Strange! I happen to have stumbled upon Tumblr, and wow, all those fanfiction, fanart, and gifs! I'm pretty sure The Man from U.N.C.L.E attracted a lot of youths. Well, not a lot, but for those who did watch it, it is apparently (but surprisingly) VERY well-received.
+0
9:54PM on 09/09/2016

Loved it!

Oh, come on! This was a fun movie! Everyone I know that has watched it has liked it and found it very enjoyable to watch.
Oh, come on! This was a fun movie! Everyone I know that has watched it has liked it and found it very enjoyable to watch.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+0
9:54PM on 09/09/2016

Absolutely agree!

I didn't see this in the theaters because I just didn't get drawn in by the marketing, but when I saw it on DVD I was bummed. I agree that it was one of the better 2015 films and should have at least been a wash financially. It's sad to see something so well done fail so badly. I loved the three leads . . . each was wonderfully stereotypical (in a good way).
I didn't see this in the theaters because I just didn't get drawn in by the marketing, but when I saw it on DVD I was bummed. I agree that it was one of the better 2015 films and should have at least been a wash financially. It's sad to see something so well done fail so badly. I loved the three leads . . . each was wonderfully stereotypical (in a good way).
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-2
11:38PM on 09/08/2016

Terrible movie

This was a god awful movie. The cast were sleep walking through it. Boring is the word. I'[m glad it did terribly. Cavill as usual could be replaced with a mannequin.
This was a god awful movie. The cast were sleep walking through it. Boring is the word. I'[m glad it did terribly. Cavill as usual could be replaced with a mannequin.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
3:27PM on 09/08/2016
I have to say after the promos I was expecting it to be pants, however it was a very enjoyable fun movie.
Don't mind a sequel. although it seems a non starter at present.
I have to say after the promos I was expecting it to be pants, however it was a very enjoyable fun movie.
Don't mind a sequel. although it seems a non starter at present.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-5
3:12PM on 09/08/2016
-3/10: THE LONE RANGER; SWEPT AWAY
-4/10: THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
-5/10: MAN OF STEEL; SHERLOCK HOLMES
-5.7/10: AUSTIN POWERS franchise
-5.8/10: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE franchise
-6/10: BATMAN V SUPERMAN
-3/10: THE LONE RANGER; SWEPT AWAY
-4/10: THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
-5/10: MAN OF STEEL; SHERLOCK HOLMES
-5.7/10: AUSTIN POWERS franchise
-5.8/10: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE franchise
-6/10: BATMAN V SUPERMAN
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:26PM on 09/08/2016

Liked it.

I loved the cinematography and costume design and the reason (imo) it didnt do well was the timing of its release because of the summer blockbuster "high" (there's a reason the Bond movies are no longer released during this time, remember LTK? It had nothing to do with "ooh, the world wasn't ready for a 'dark' bond" talk).

Had this come out in December, people might have taken more notice. Otherwise it was a fun movie, with 'family friendly' action like any classic (non-Hollywood) Jackie
I loved the cinematography and costume design and the reason (imo) it didnt do well was the timing of its release because of the summer blockbuster "high" (there's a reason the Bond movies are no longer released during this time, remember LTK? It had nothing to do with "ooh, the world wasn't ready for a 'dark' bond" talk).

Had this come out in December, people might have taken more notice. Otherwise it was a fun movie, with 'family friendly' action like any classic (non-Hollywood) Jackie Chan flick.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:26PM on 09/08/2016
I really enjoyed the film. The scene when everyone leaves the cafe was so perfect for the era of spies everywhere in Berlin.
Always thought the film failed because it was released too close to the latest Mission Impossible film. Two spy films in too short a time.
I really enjoyed the film. The scene when everyone leaves the cafe was so perfect for the era of spies everywhere in Berlin.
Always thought the film failed because it was released too close to the latest Mission Impossible film. Two spy films in too short a time.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+0
12:20PM on 09/08/2016
I'm surprised no one liked or saw this. It played so much like a Steven Soderbergh film to me.
I'm surprised no one liked or saw this. It played so much like a Steven Soderbergh film to me.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:19PM on 09/08/2016
Great film and I hope we get more, personally think Cavill is a great leading man and this film showcases his charisma and charm unlike MOS or BVS which contain him.
Disagree with you Alex In respect of the Sherlock Holmes films which again have a great tone, style and leading men - RDJ, Jude Law and Harris but really hope we get another couple of both films. Problem is both leading men tied up fighting Thanos and Brainiac for the next few years
Great film and I hope we get more, personally think Cavill is a great leading man and this film showcases his charisma and charm unlike MOS or BVS which contain him.
Disagree with you Alex In respect of the Sherlock Holmes films which again have a great tone, style and leading men - RDJ, Jude Law and Harris but really hope we get another couple of both films. Problem is both leading men tied up fighting Thanos and Brainiac for the next few years
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:54AM on 09/08/2016
It makes me angry how poorly this film did. 2015 was the year of spy movies. Kingsmen was a hell of a lot of fun. Mission Impossible was just plain great. Man from U.N.C.L.E was classy a.f. and probably my favorite of the three. The chemistry between Cavill and Hammer is so great and I'm sad there won't be a sequel. All three of them absolutely wiped the floor with Spectre, which is probably why I disliked Spectre so much. It wasn't the worst Bond movie ever... Just three other movies showed
It makes me angry how poorly this film did. 2015 was the year of spy movies. Kingsmen was a hell of a lot of fun. Mission Impossible was just plain great. Man from U.N.C.L.E was classy a.f. and probably my favorite of the three. The chemistry between Cavill and Hammer is so great and I'm sad there won't be a sequel. All three of them absolutely wiped the floor with Spectre, which is probably why I disliked Spectre so much. It wasn't the worst Bond movie ever... Just three other movies showed James Bond how it's done in 2015 and that was kinda embarrassing.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+0
11:49AM on 09/08/2016
The acting was so deadpan that the characters came off wooden. The style of the film tho was gorgeous. Also, you stated it is easy for repeat viewing because there is lack of depth. The opposite is true... When movies have depth and subtext, repeat viewing is much more rewarding than a big dumb popcorn flick.
The acting was so deadpan that the characters came off wooden. The style of the film tho was gorgeous. Also, you stated it is easy for repeat viewing because there is lack of depth. The opposite is true... When movies have depth and subtext, repeat viewing is much more rewarding than a big dumb popcorn flick.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+0
11:31AM on 09/08/2016

Nothing Like The Series

Solo and Kuryakin were both much smaller physically in the TV series than their characters in the film. They had to use their wits in the series because they weren't the archetypal big American males. This was lost on Ritchie and the casting director.
The story is supposed to be a prequel to U.N.C.L.E. being formed, but there was only the last scene that alluded to that. As you can probably tell, I was OK with the performances (especially Alicia Vikander) but disliked the premise and
Solo and Kuryakin were both much smaller physically in the TV series than their characters in the film. They had to use their wits in the series because they weren't the archetypal big American males. This was lost on Ritchie and the casting director.
The story is supposed to be a prequel to U.N.C.L.E. being formed, but there was only the last scene that alluded to that. As you can probably tell, I was OK with the performances (especially Alicia Vikander) but disliked the premise and story. It will be a hard sell to get me to go and see a sequel, if one is ever made.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:52AM on 09/08/2016
Such a very underrated film and one of the most overlooked films of the past few years. It's loads of fun with a lot of great action pieces as well. Cavill, and Hammer played off one another terrifically and really were perfect casting for each one of their roles.

It's a shame that this wasn't well received better since I would love to see a sequel or two to further capitalize on its story, the time period it's set in, and for Cavill's, and Hammer's excellent humorous chemistry with one
Such a very underrated film and one of the most overlooked films of the past few years. It's loads of fun with a lot of great action pieces as well. Cavill, and Hammer played off one another terrifically and really were perfect casting for each one of their roles.

It's a shame that this wasn't well received better since I would love to see a sequel or two to further capitalize on its story, the time period it's set in, and for Cavill's, and Hammer's excellent humorous chemistry with one another. Easily one of the best films to come out last year and also with one of the best soundtrack too.

Films don't get much more fun than this; I would rather see Ritchie work on a follow up than the King Arthur film(s) he's doing at the moment.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:48AM on 09/08/2016
I watched this for the first time this past weekend and had a blast: Great cast, stylish, funny and imaginative action sequences. The movie got buried though, sandwiched between a host of superior spy movies: Kingsman, Spy, Rogue Nation, Bridge of Spies, and Spectre. 2015 was a spectacular year for the spy genre and although The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is anywhere from the 4th to 6th best spy movie of 2015, it's still pretty great.
I watched this for the first time this past weekend and had a blast: Great cast, stylish, funny and imaginative action sequences. The movie got buried though, sandwiched between a host of superior spy movies: Kingsman, Spy, Rogue Nation, Bridge of Spies, and Spectre. 2015 was a spectacular year for the spy genre and although The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is anywhere from the 4th to 6th best spy movie of 2015, it's still pretty great.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:53AM on 09/08/2016
4th to 6th best?

I would put it in the top three along with Rogue Nation, and Bridge of Spies.
4th to 6th best?

I would put it in the top three along with Rogue Nation, and Bridge of Spies.
10:54AM on 09/08/2016
Here's the rottentomatoes Critics Consensus: "The Man from U.N.C.L.E. tries to distract from an unremarkable story with charismatic stars and fizzy set pieces, adding up to an uneven action thriller with just enough style to overcome its lack of substance."

That seems about right and pretty fair.
Here's the rottentomatoes Critics Consensus: "The Man from U.N.C.L.E. tries to distract from an unremarkable story with charismatic stars and fizzy set pieces, adding up to an uneven action thriller with just enough style to overcome its lack of substance."

That seems about right and pretty fair.
11:06AM on 09/08/2016
I'm not criticizing your opinion, it's just that I wasn't too impressed or had as much fun with Spectre, Spy, and/or Kingsman like I did with the other three.
I'm not criticizing your opinion, it's just that I wasn't too impressed or had as much fun with Spectre, Spy, and/or Kingsman like I did with the other three.
11:57AM on 09/08/2016
Spectre a superior spy movie? Spectre was garbage
Spectre a superior spy movie? Spectre was garbage
-1
10:41AM on 09/08/2016

underappreciated..?

Every comment I've read and heard was positive and personally, I really enjoyed this film.

Although, I have to be honest, I wasn't sold on the Henry Cavill role. He is just too buff to be the "suave guy". IMO Matthew Bomer would have been a much better casting choice. He would be perfect actually!
Every comment I've read and heard was positive and personally, I really enjoyed this film.

Although, I have to be honest, I wasn't sold on the Henry Cavill role. He is just too buff to be the "suave guy". IMO Matthew Bomer would have been a much better casting choice. He would be perfect actually!
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:23AM on 09/08/2016

Truly underappreciated

It's funny you did an article about this today. For the past few days, I've been ranoting and raving about how this movie was unjustly received and ignored.
It's funny you did an article about this today. For the past few days, I've been ranoting and raving about how this movie was unjustly received and ignored.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
View All Comments

Latest Entertainment News Headlines


Top
Loading...

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting