If you've been to any cinema screening in the past few months you may be aware of Argylle, the latest film from director Matthew Vaughn.

Its trailer has played in front of almost every film I've seen since about September last year, and to be honest it became a slight annoyance.

Despite not looking particularly special, I had hopes it might turn out okay (I'm a big fan of Vaughn's Kingsman: The Secret Service).

Whilst the film avoided being outright annoying, it turned out to be a surprisingly generic and tame outing for all concerned.

Argylle's plain and tired story

The plot of Argylle concerns a rather introverted spy novelist called Elly Conway (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) who has earned enormous success through her Argylle spy novels.

In snippets, we see sections of her books play out, following the almost-perfect iteration of a spy in Aubrey Argylle (Henry Cavill)  working alongside his team to foil dastardly plots.

However, Elly soon finds herself caught up in real danger after her recent novel starts mirroring real events, and a secret organisation tries to capture her.

It's a perfectly fine premise for a film to build on, and I was expecting so much more from Vaughn and company.

However, despite numerous twists spliced throughout the narrative it just ends up being a version of a story we've all seen told countless times before.

Overall, there's very little tension.

The film does start to pick up the pace towards the end with some entertaining action sequences, but it is ultimately very tame by Vaughn's standards.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: Bryce Dallas Howard and Sam Rockwell are the two main leads of the filmBryce Dallas Howard and Sam Rockwell are the two main leads of the film (Image: Apple TV)

The decision to have this film at a 12A rating hurts it in my opinion, as the flourishes that Vaughn could incorporate into his Kingsman films are completely absent without any obviously nasty bloodshed being visible.

It all lacks character, and whilst it goes by at a decent clip it at the same time feels stretched out longer than it needed to be.

Sam Rockwell does his best to keep this afloat

Most of the acting here is perfectly fine, but the one standout in the cast was Sam Rockwell, doing a reliable job as ever.

Playing an intelligence operative in Aiden Wilde, he helps Elly escape the clutches of the organisation known as the Division, and his kind of world-weary but also pepped-up performance works very effectively.

Howard works fairly well as our main character also, whilst Cavill does a solid enough job in his very brief moments as the fictional title character.

Whilst the overall cast is star-studded, with the likes of Bryan Cranston, Catherine O'Hara, Samuel L. Jackson, John Cena, Sofia Boutella and Dua Lipa appearing, most of them are only in it for a handful of scenes, making very little impact.

It comes across as a group of great actors being vastly overqualified for the material they are actually performing in.

Filmmaking leaves a lot to be desired

Certain sections of the film are quite slick, and use little tricks here and there to spice up the visual presentation of specific sequences.

However, a lot of the film looks jarringly awful, especially during sections of the opening action sequence and much of the second half of the narrative.

The visual effects are noticeable, are not integrated well and give everything this fake rubbery quality that takes you out of the moment.

A failed marketing gimmick

If you've seen the trailer you would have been made aware that they play up the mystery of who 'the real agent Argylle' is.

However, back when the film was first announced as being in production in 2021, the way the premise was written spoiled this outcome.

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Due to the way the film was marketed, I thought they might have changed exactly how the narrative played out and added a clever spin to it.

Unfortunately, this didn't prove to be the case and made an already underwhelming experience that bit more banal.

If you have enjoyed Matthew Vaughn's work previously you may get some enjoyment out of Argylle but overall it doesn't do enough to justify rushing out to go see it.

Score: 4/10

Argylle is available to watch in cinemas right now