After the identity of every active agent in the CIA is revealed, a desk bound analyst volunteers to venture out into the field to stop a deadly arms deal and prevent a probable nuclear attack.
Melissa McCarthy and director Paul Feig collaborate for their third time and it's their best film to date. After the booming success of Bridesmaids and The Heat, Melissa McCarthy is put center stage as Susan Cooper, a CIA analyst turned Agent who might be the CIA's best chance of stopping a nuke from falling into the wrong hands.
I've never been a huge fan of the work between Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig, I found Bridesmaids and The Heat to be average at best but Spy is a blast to watch, the comedy hits as do the very well put together action scenes.
Feig knows McCarthy's strengths and weaknesses and by this point, he's really perfected their relationship. In all three of their films, McCarthy plays strong characters, both morally and physically. Susan Cooper (McCarthy) at first, looks like an innocent, timid and laughable character but soon proves otherwise as she has some of the most impressive action scenes in the film; one exceptionally directed scene set in a kitchen was a standout. Cooper is a quick thinking, tough, nimble and intelligent operative who belongs in the field.
In their previous films I've always felt like McCarthy's weight was being mocked, intentionally or unintentionally, but in Spy, her size is used for the comedy, but it's never made fun of and that's why a lot of the psychical humor works. In Bridesmaids and even in The Heat, a lot of the comedy was centered around her size but not here, a lot more focus is put on her excellent comedic timing rather than her weight.
Spy shows that there is a lot more to McCarthy than her physicality, she's excellent with her lines, has a definite presence on screen and can really carry a film, even one that contains a fair amount of action.
Were you expecting a lot of fat jokes in Spy? Well prepare to be surprised as there's little to none here. More focus is spent on the ridiculous and unappealing disguises that Susan is assigned with; a mother of four who enjoys knitting and a crazy cat lady are Susan's covers. A time comes in the film when Cooper tires of these absurd disguises and she models herself to be attractive and appealing, even winning over a few of the male characters who before wouldn't bat an eye at her. Her characters grows in confidence and becomes a much more formidable force in the field.
The cast is great here, Jude Law as a Bond-esque super spy, Jason Statham as the bumbling and brash Ford, Rose Byrne as the spoiled and petulant villain and Peter Serafinowicz as the sleazy European agent who's got the hots for Cooper all get their moments to shine.
The standout here has to be Statham who uses his tough guy persona to great advantage here. He plays Rick Ford, a CIA Agent who perhaps thinks too highly of himself. He'll often go on rants as to how bad-ass he is, similar to a slew of Chuck Norris jokes. The character was surprising, hilariously vulgar and one of the film's biggest surprises. He certainly talks a big game, but whenever the time comes for him to save the day, he screws it up almost every time.
One cast member who didn't really impress was British comic Miranda Hart who was clearly overdoing it for her big screen debut.
From the get go, Feig sets out to make this as much of an action film as it is a comedy. Agent Fine's (Jude Law) stealthy and ultimately explosive mission into a villain's mansion was a great opening scene. Feig shoots the action incredibly well, no shaky cam or quick cuts are used. Feig plays Spy as an action-comedy more so than the spoof film a lot of us were expecting. The film does mock the genre in a number of warranted ways but never falls into spoof territory.
Spy was a big surprise, it's funny, exciting and an absolute blast to watch. I never even thought of this before the film, but I'd be more than up for a Spy 2.
Have you seen Spy? If so, what did you think about it. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97