Is it just me or is 2015 becoming the year of the spy-film revival? First we had Kingsman, a goofy, action-filled spoof of James Bond-style spies. Later this year we have an actual James Bond film, another Mission Impossible, and in between there is a Cold-War spoof in The Man From U.N.C.L.E, as well as an actual Cold-War drama in The Bridge of Spies. Spy, the latest film from Paul Feig, is the silliest and most fun of this bunch of films, separating itself from the macho, sexed-up thrillers we have come to be so used to.
In what is your generic spy plot, a nuclear weapon has gone missing and the world needs saving. But instead of the suave, competent agent, it is up to Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy,) a talented but nervous handler who has never been in the field before, to save the day. With a hilarious cast that meshes together excellently,
McCarthy does her thing exceptionally well, in what is perhaps her best role that allows for a great character arc. She takes the lead and maintains a badass, yet believable persona as a woman who is capable of a lot more than she thinks she is. While she delivers a lot of the films funniest lines, it’s Jason Statham, in a surprisingly gut-busting role, who steals the scene away from her the minute he appears on-screen as a turtleneck sporting British spy. Also along for this globe-trotting adventure are Rose Byrne, the villain with the wickedly bizarre hair cut, Jude Law as the perfect spy, and Allison Janney, as McCarthy’s boss.
While it is fun to watch, there aren’t every really any surprises. We can predict pretty quickly who the villains are, who will end up being a double agent, and who will come out on top at the end. This predictability, as frustrating as it is, allows for you to get into the jokes easier instead of trying to focus too much on the plot, so in a way its a bit of a double-edged sword. Spy may have an unoriginal plot, but it makes the most out of it with clever throwbacks, creatively funny gadgets, and spies who shouldn’t be spies at all.
If thrillers, shoot-em-ups, or otherwise are not your cup of tea and want something on the lighter side of the spy genre, then you can do no wrong with Spy. Something tells me this won’t be the last we see of Susan Cooper, she might just become the female Bond we have all been waiting for, though we probably didn’t expect her to be this funny.