The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Maybe because I had low expectations going into it, and/or maybe because I just like Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, I thought The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was brilliant. There are so many hilarious scenes, and the timing and delivery of the lines is (frequently, although not always) dead on. The plot is less than inspired, but it looks slick, and the soundtrack really stands out.

I didn't have high hopes for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. It got pretty mixed reviews. People like to pick on Guy Ritchie for some reason. I liked Snatch, and I wasn't impressed with Lock, Stock, although I can't remember either movie anymore at this point. But Sherlock Holmes was great. I need to see RocknRolla. I wanted to see The Man in the theater, but circumstances prevented me from doing it, the first time it came in from the library I flat out didn't have time to watch it, so I've been wanting to see it for forever.

I *thought* I hadn't ever seen Henry Cavill in anything until I just checked and found out he was the super hot guy from The Tudors. He's still super hot, and I love his voice. Solo reminded me a lot of Neal from White Collar. They're basically the same guy - a thief who got caught and is now working for the government. Although Neal wasn't in the Army. Henry's acting wasn't exactly perfect. There was something a little *too* mannered/deliberate/campy about it. But it did work most of the time. 

The only thing I'd ever seen Armie Hammer in was The Lone Ranger, but he was great in that. So I was basically just interested in The Man because of the two lead guys. And the trailer had some great lines. I liked the idea of these two guys who hate each other having to work together. I'm sure it's not the first time it's ever been done, but it looked interesting anyway. It was really tough at first to buy Armie as a Russian guy, though. I don't know how authentic his accent was, but I just kept thinking, "this guy isn't Russian and I know it." He and Henry did absolutely kill it a lot of the time in terms of comedic timing/delivery/tone, though.

I loved the scene when they first meet (such a good use of - I don't know, something - when Sanders says "what I'm about to feed you may leave a bitter taste in your mouth" as he's urinating; and it's always good to see Jared Harris in anything), and Illya tries to get under Solo's skin by asking how humiliating it is to know his balls are on a very long leash held by a very short man, and Solo gets back at him by basically calling his mother a whore. And it was funny when the entire patronage of the café got up and left so they could talk.

I liked that Illya was so unpredictable and freaked out all the time. It added some humanity to the character and made you wonder if he was going to mess something up. And then line when he tells Gaby they're engaged and says "congratulations" - brilliant. The scene where they were arguing over what Gaby should wear was good, but I don't know how much sense it makes that Solo would have such terrible taste. He dressed well enough, after all.

The movie as a whole was pretty slick right out of the gate. I really liked just the dynamics of Gaby sliding out from/back under the car. The car chase was great, especially the part where she spun into a parallel parking spot. And they actually did that stunt with her in the car for real. She wasn't driving; they had a guy mounted in a cage on top of the car who was driving it; but it's still cool that someone actually did that. And it was also awesome when they were going down the alley, and then *foomf*, the car is just stuck, wedged between two buildings, and then Solo reaches over her and she's just like "wtf" and then he goes, "and now make another left through the window."

And the part of that chase where Illya is running after the car, and then actually trying to stop it, and then the lid of the trunk comes off, and he throws it at the car...brilliant.

I did enjoy the rivalry between Illya and Solo. I liked it when they found all of each others' trackers. I guess Russia must have been ahead of the US in terms of technology at the time, since Illya's was always better (which was also funny, like the scene with Solo's tiny bolt cutters and Illya's laser). It was great when Solo was eating lunch in the truck, and we just saw the speedboat and the guards chasing it going around and around in the background. And before that, when Solo goes flying out of the boat, and then Illya says, "Hold on, Cowboy," and he's not even in the boat anymore.

I loved the scene where the torture doctor was getting electrocuted, and Solo's just standing there pontificating forever; seeing the light from the fire on their faces was especially cool, and then he just ends it with, "Damn. I left my jacket in there."

Victoria was a great villain. I loved how she carried herself. I think I saw a review where someone was lamenting that Hugh Grant should've had a bigger part. I didn't think he was that great or needed to be there more than he was. It was a cool surprise finding out that Gaby was a British agent. I didn't like how we had to go back and see a couple of scenes over again, though. That was weird every time they did it.

And I was pretty much over it by the time they got to the dune buggy chase; definitely didn't need to see that. Although it was great seeing Solo's skim over the water. I actually thought he was driving on sand when I watched it, and it wasn't until I saw the featurette that I found out it was water. When I watched it I was like "why are we holding on this shot for so long; this is boring; but the music is great so it's okay"; and then when I found out it was a lake I was like "oh, that was really cool, then." Maybe it would've been clearer if it hadn't been such a brown lake.

Speaking of the music, the soundtrack/score was amazing. Whoever put it together has a real ear for that kind of thing. It added the perfect ambiance and level of energy. The end of that chase was interesting though, when Illya wound up under the motorcycle. I don't know how far away from the fight he was exactly, but it seemed unlikely that he would've been like "I think I'll just carry this motorcycle with me over to the fight." It was pretty striking imagery when he threw it at the Italian guy, though.

I also liked that Solo and Illya didn't fight over Gaby. And the tension between Gaby and Illya was good. It was perfect that they never even kissed. The writing was really well done, like when Illya's adjusting Gaby's tracker and Solo asks if they're all turned on. I loved the gag when Illya said he was going swimming, jumped out of the window, and you hear this "thump" and know he hasn't hit the water, and then Solo turns around and does the exact same thing.

I wasn't a huge fan of the whole '60s thing. Some of the costumes were pretty ugly. But I eventually stopped noticing it. I was surprised I didn't get more of an Archer vibe from it. But I guess that's really its own thing/more based on Bond.

I wasn't 100% following the plot, like how Gaby even really knew her uncle since she hadn't talked to her dad for 18 years, or what they were all going to Italy for, but it mostly sorted itself out eventually. I didn't have anyone to ask what was going on because I wound up having to watch it by myself, which was good and bad. On the one hand, it's no fun watching things by yourself. But on the other hand, then you're totally free to react however you want without someone judging you. And I get a more honest read on my own impressions of the movie if I'm not trying to figure out what flaws the other person might find in it, too.

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