Many apologies, but I actually wrote this review about two months ago and never got around to posting it in the mayhem that was CHOC Walk and real life. But the movie is coming out on DVD next week. Think of this as your prep to decide if you're going to rent it or not.
What Is It: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is based on the 1960s NBC television series staring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum. The character of Napoleon Solo (played by Vaughn in the television series and Henry Cavill in this adaptation) was conceived by James Bond creator Ian Fleming. Another fun fact? The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is technically a sequel to the original Sherlock Holmes stories, as U.N.C.L.E.'s arch-nemesis (T.H.R.U.S.H.) was founded by Sebastian Moran following the death of Professor Moriarty.
This film works as the origin story for both U.N.C.L.E. and the partnership of CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (portrayed by David McCallum on television and Armie Hammer in the film). The rights to the film were initially purchased in 1993, but passed through the hands of many directors and screenwriters before ending up in the care of Guy Ritchie. It was finally released on August 14, 2015.
My Experience: I saw it in a relatively empty theater (are theaters ever full aside from midnight showings anymore?). Often to my embarrassment, some of the comedic moments didn't quite land with the other people I was sharing the theater with. I did find the experience enjoyable overall. The film was entertaining with bright pleasing visuals. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer both have charisma to spare and their easy chemistry makes up for anything lacking when it comes to plot lines.
Why You Should See It: While most films of the spy genre have gone the way of over the top action sequences and dark intellectual back stories, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. embraces the cheesiness of the genre it comes from. It sticks to the original 1960s setting. In the way few can do, Guy Ritchie is able to make the setting feel modernly retro rather than just old. Even Cavill's American accent seems drawn mostly from 60s television. It's a fun film and definitely a good way to spend an evening.
The Future: All involved in the film definitely appear eager to turn the film into a franchise, but whether or not this happens remains up in the air. Next year we will see Guy Ritchie's version of the King Arthur legend on the big screen. Armie Hammer has three films coming up (The Birth of a Nation, Free Fire, and Nocturnal Animals). Henry Cavill will be appearing on the big screen next in a little film called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. You might have heard of it.