Lance Sterling is the world’s greatest spy. When a mission goes awry he is forced to work with Walter Beckett, a tech in the gadgets department, and to make matters worse Walter turns Lance into a pigeon.
Troy Quane and Nick Bruno direct Spies in Disguise as each of their feature film directorial debuts. This fact is noticeable as the film starts off slow, but once it finds its footing it becomes a fun, action-packed, adventurous ride. The cast includes the likes of Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones, Reba McEntire, Karen Gillan, Been Mendelsohn, and a surprising standout of DJ Khaled. It’s probably pretty obvious who voices the villain of those names. If not, it’s Mendelsohn. But back to DJ Khaled, he has some of the best one-liners and is incredibly funny. So not only does this film have a star-studded cast but it has a surprising and delightful message.
This film is lead by Will Smith and Tom Holland, who may have never even recorded audio for this in the same room, but their chemistry is fantastic. Their two characters are the complete opposite of one another. Smith’s Agent Sterling is about getting the job done no matter what, with Holland’s Walter preferring efficiency and precaution. This creates an interesting back and forth between them, which leads right into the overall message of the film.
The message of the film is that violence begets violence. It wants to show that you don’t always have to fight fire with fire. You don’t have to stoop down to the level of your enemy. A direct quote from the film, ”when you fight fire with fire everyone gets burned”. Spies in Disguise wants to show that there’s another way. This is demonstrated in the film in two different ways. Agent Sterling has to learn that mayhem and destruction is not the only way to get justice and stop the bad guys. While Walter exemplifies this by showing that when the world treats you like you don’t exist or that you’re different you should stand strong in what you believe in and not engage and continue to be yourself.
Overall, Spies in Disguise is a fun ride for children and adults alike. After a weak first act, the film becomes an amusing and charming adventure about friendship and serving justice in a better way, being better than your enemy. Spies in Disguise is a recommended family-friendly movie you can go see after you’ve seen Star Wars several times. And the pigeon gimmick isn’t as detrimental to the film as it looked in the trailer.