So the concept of a debonair spy or agent who takes on a bumbling newbie under his wing isn’t new. Take, for example, Kingsman and Men in Black. In the films, Colin Firth and Tommy Lee Jones take on Taron Egerton and Will Smith and mold them to become a dashing figure. Spies in Disguise follows their lead but forges its own path. It’s an excellent decision that results in a fun and heartwarming comedy.
In Troy Quaine and Nick Bruno’s Spies in Disguise, we are introduced to Lance Sterling, a super spy working for HTUV (Honor, Trust, Unity, and Valor). He’s suave, elegant, and cool, and quite popular in the entire department. Joining him is Walter Beckett, a geeky inventor who creates gadgets that are effective for espionage while causing no harm. An example? He created a grenade that explodes with glitter and creates a visual of an adorable kitten. According to him, it releases serotonin and makes the viewer feel happy. I’ll leave it up to the viewer to see what I mean about following the traditional master spy-student formula and flipping it over its head.
When a series of adventures forces Lance to go into hiding, he runs to Walter to look for help. Instead of finding a solution, he accidentally drinks an experiment that turns him… into a pigeon. The two must work together to solve an important case and get Lance back into being human.
What endeared Spies in Disguise to me is that it is a legitimate spy movie. Sure, it may seem strange that the lead is a pigeon but it’s snappy, engaging, and fun. The film is drizzled with spy essentials like exotic international locales, dazzling cinematography, big action set pieces, and futuristic gadgetry. It’s a Bond film with lots of heart, laughs, and some lol-worthy inventions. I happily suspended my disbelief as I watched Lance and Walter get into zany adventures.
What grounded the film was the voice performances of the actors. Will Smith shone as Lance but it was Tom Holland who stood out as the geeky Walter. They really were just playing themselves, which is great because it seems like the roles were written for them. The two are joined by Rashida Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Reba McEntire, Rachel Brosnahan, Karen Gillan, DJ Khaled, and Masi Oka.
Spies in Disguise may be animated but there are a lot of laughs and wisdom to be gained by adults. Even at surface level, the film is entertaining and hilarious. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.
Spies in Disguise will premiere on January 22, 2020. This story is in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox. For more information, visit the website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.