DIRECTOR: TROY QUANE, NICK BRUNO / SCREENPLAY: BRAD COPELAND, LLOYD TAYLOR / STARRING: WILL SMITH, TOM HOLLAND, KAREN GILLAN, RASHIDA JONES, BEN MENDELSOHN, DJ KHALED / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Will Smith and Tom Holland team up to save the world in the surprisingly hilarious Spies in Disguise.
With many animated comedies, one would predict that the main target audience would be adolescents or even younger resulting in a sub-par, lacklustre attempt at pandering to said audience - however, Spies in Disguise bucks that trend and is unexpectedly well written with jokes that land with all ages and all-round great voice acting from its stellar all-star cast.
Lance Sterling (Smith) is the world's greatest super-spy and after his agency discovers that someone that looks like him has committed treason, he must turn to Walter Beckett (Holland) a "weird" kid who specialises in science and wacky gadgets, unlike the usual ones a spy would use. The two unlikely partners must work together to prove Sterling's innocence and stop the evil Killian (Mendelsohn) by going undercover... as a pigeon. The story, which is based on the short animated film, Pigeon: Impossible, is nothing entirely new as it borrows the usual tropes of spy thrillers such as James Bond and Mission: Impossible from its gadgets to the classic one-liners - but what it does with these cliches is what makes it stand out.
Directors Troy Quane and Nick Bruno knew exactly what they wanted to make - a satire with a strong message of the positives of teamwork and friendship. The relationship between Sterling and Beckett is strengthed by the performances of Smith and Holland which, even though recorded separately, felt like they were in the same room with electrifying chemistry. Beckett's backstory of wanting to be accepted and save the world is arguably the backbone of the film and firmly placed the audience on his side from the very beginning.
As for the comedy, we found ourselves constantly cackling throughout the almost two-hour runtime which just flew by. From the unique take on the quips (with Beckett referring to himself as Bond, Hydrogen Bond) to the film and characters being self-aware and laughing at their situations, everything fell into place to create an entirely enjoyable experience which felt welcome and refreshing. The only real negative is that the narrative is something we've seen before and did feel predictable in places - but the comedy and performances more than makeup for that in spades.
Expected Rating: 6 out of 10