Spies in Disguise
By James Davidson
“Spies in Disguise” is an animated adventure following the world’s greatest spy, and notorious lone wolf, Lance Sterling. When Lance (voiced by Will Smith) is accused of stealing the high tech assassin robot he was supposed to be recovering for his agency, he finds himself a fugitive. He runs to an eccentric lab technician named Walter (voiced by Tom Holland) who was recently fired from the agency by Lance. Walter has been told his whole life that he is “weird” and doesn’t fit in with any of his peers. He has spent his entire career trying to come up with innovative, non-lethal alternatives to apprehending the bad guys after his mother, a police officer, was killed in the line of duty. Something that Lance thinks is ridiculous and thinks that violence is the only option.
Walter claims to be able to make Lance “disappear” using new technology that he has been experimenting with. When Lance inadvertently drinks the technology, thinking it’s a glass of water, he is unexpectedly turned into a talking pigeon. After calming Lance down, Walter explains that pigeons are virtually everywhere in the world and can travel around unnoticed. Unable to immediately concoct an antidote, Lance and Walter must work together to clear Lance’s name while running from their former employer.
After seeing advertisements for this film, I thought it looked amusing and like an interesting concept. I also really like Will Smith’s work and was looking forward to seeing, or rather hearing, him in action.
This movie had a lot of funny moments and was very entertaining for the most part. Will Smith and Tom Holland were great together and the characters that they played worked really well together comedically. I would have liked to have seen a few more scenes of them together to be honest. The film was pretty short at one and a half hours and I think a few more added scenes of Lance and Walter would have taken the film to another level.
Even without those extra scenes, the movie is still very enjoyable. I found myself chuckling throughout most of the movie and really enjoyed the visuals. The animation was very well done and there was plenty of action to keep the pace up. Some of the jokes seemed a bit mature for the intended audience though. There were a few subtle off color jokes that seemed to be thrown in for the parents. For the most part however, the humor was clean and good natured.
The characters were also surprisingly complex. I was really able to follow their development throughout the movie as they learned about themselves and each other. There were a few good messages in the film about working together and trying to find an alternative to violence to resolve conflicts. They are good messages for anyone, especially the children that the movie seems to be targeting. The messagedid get a bit heavy handed though, the writers really felt the need to bash people over the head with the message that you don’t need to bash people over the head.
The one issue I had with this movie was that there were some plot points that were never entirely explored. Like the bad guys origin story. Supposedly Lance had met the bad guy before, and even had a hand in creating him, but the film never fleshed out the relationship, which I found disappointing.
This movie is rated PG for action, violence, and some rude humor. Other than the few slightly off color jokes. I think this is a fun movie that would be great for the whole family. All of the kids in the theater I was in seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
“Spies in Disguise” is a fantastic, fun, family adventure flick. It would be great for a family outing and people of all ages will enjoy it. It has some great humor and great performances by Will Smith and Tom Holland. The plot could be a little deeper, but I would still definitely watch this movie again. It earns 3.5 out of 5 stars.