If Paul Feig’s “Spy” has proved anything, it’s that spy movies are making a real comeback in 2015. It showed that a spy movie can still be taken seriously if the plot doesn’t stray too far from what it wants to deliver. Though action scenes are the prominent parts of the spy genre, most spy movies rely heavily on plots that come with unexpected twists to become a box office success. Without a decent plot, a spy movie may just fall flat even if the character is an incredibly attractive secret agent equipped with high-tech gadgets and expensive suits.
Take Matthew Vaughn’s “Kingsman: The Secret Service“, for example. The movie is said to have turned every fanboy’s wet dream come true by featuring an enticing plot, ridiculous amounts of gore, and an array of impressive spy gadgets. It left people yearning for more movies that could result in the same amount of satisfaction, and we believe Feig has just created that satisfaction with “Spy”.
Having previously worked together on “Bridesmaid” and “The Heat”, Feig teamed up with Melissa McCarthy again for “Spy”. The movie follows the story of McCarthy’s Susan Cooper, who is stuck behind the desk at CIA headquarters as an analyst, despite years of successful field training. English actor Jude Law stars in the movie as Bradley Fine, a suave and charming secret agent who relies on Cooper to get him past sticky situations in his missions. And according to Fine, he couldn’t do any of his actions without Cooper’s clear-headed satellite guidance.
For almost a decade, they worked great as a team. However, Fine didn’t realise that Cooper wouldn’t even work as a CIA analyst if she didn’t have an unrequited crush on him. As compared to her usual brass behaviour onscreen, McCarthy embraced her feminine side through her role in “Spy”. This is, of course, before we found out that her character still has a feisty side later in the movie.
Unfortunately, Law doesn’t have much screen time in the first half of the movie because it focuses on McCarthy’s character development more. An unexpected twist of fate forces Cooper to volunteer herself to go into the field as a spy, despite the protest from a slightly lunatic secret agent named Richard Ford (played by Jason Statham). The CIA chief (played by Allison Janney) reluctantly sends Cooper to a deep undercover mission, but warns her to only “track and report”.
It’s such an exciting moment for Cooper, but it’s also a moment when she realises that her unglamorous appearance caused the Agency to treat her like a hopeless loser. While the other secret agents were given cool aliases, she only gets to play an old-fashioned European tourist or a “cat mom” who is equipped with high-tech gadgets that are sadly disguised as items that a woman like her would carry. Some may find it offensive for Feig to write her off as such character, but his intention is obvious. The comedy here acts as a double-edged sword as Feig aims to let people notice the sort of mentality that would crush McCarthy’s character’s level of confidence.
Cooper’s mission begins in Paris, where she is assigned to track down a Bulgarian arms dealer, Rayna Boyanov (played by Rose Byrne), and a terrorist named Sergio De Luca (played by Bobby Cannavale). The action scenes in the movie weren’t too over-the-top, but they are surprisingly violent and well-shot. McCarthy definitely showed us what her character is capable of and created a lot of priceless moments, including the one that made us go “wow” as she crushes a knife-wielding assassin (played by Bollywood actress Nargis Fakhri). It became obvious that everyone was rooting for Cooper to succeed as we all cheered when she successfully took down her enemies.
This is one thing that Feig has definitely done right in the movie as he is able to make McCarthy’s character feel much more important than the rest. McCarthy delivered a grounded, brilliant performance as Cooper who had to lie her way through a number of ridiculous situations to get closer to her enemies without raising a single suspicion. After working together on “Bridesmaid”, she reunited with Bryne and transformed into a foul-mouthed character while pretending to be a personal bodyguard to Bryne’s character.
Let’s not forget to talk about all the supporting actors, who also created a lot of memorable funny moments in the movie. For once, Statham stayed away of the action spotlight, but still emerged one of the best characters in “Spy”. His tough character is extremely silly, but his comedic chops are surprisingly delightful, especially when he goes on and on talking about the list of outlandish dangerous stunts that he has done in the past. However, he only pops up at very important moments, which almost ruined Cooper’s undercover mission.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” star Peter Serafinowicz, who portrays an Italian secret agent named Aldo, is no less hilarious as he goes all out for a character that is driven by sexual attractions. He’s probably the only one who appreciates Cooper’s figure, but he simply can’t take his hands off her even until the closing credits. Fortunately, Cooper is able to stick to her mission with guidance from her best friend, played by Miranda Hart, who is equally as delightful as the rest of the cast. Hart’s role is the one who supports Cooper the most and she shared a hilarious scene with rapper 50 Cent, who had a cameo appearance.
From high-speed car-chases to gun fights to negotiations at gunpoint, “Spy” has got all the typical scenes that we see in a spy movie. However, Feig managed to punch up these action scenes by featuring a number of ridiculous jokes.
I must say, the movie caught me off guard with its violent scenes and grounded performance from the cast. If this film doesn’t spawn a sequel, I will be fairly disappointed, especially if it doesn’t bring back Statham’s character.
“Spy” is scheduled for release on 21st May 2015.