The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ★★★½

What a pleasant surprise. I really wish I'd seen this in the theater.

It's immediately my favorite Vikander film of 2015: She won an Oscar for the Oscar-template role, and Ex Machina was something special, but this role gives her a fuller range of notes to play, and breaks her bondage to seriousness, hinting at a spark of Audrey Hepburn's wit.

It's immediately my favorite Guy Ritchie film, which is saying something (I like his Holmes films): It's his most refined exhibition of style, his most playful work of direction, and his most impressively restrained work when it comes to violence—it's almost as if he no longer feels desperate to proclaim some kind of supreme masculinity.

Also, regarding the dudes on the poster: I can finally name a Henry Cavill performance I'm excited about. And, as one of those rare animals who liked The Lone Ranger, I think Hammer's a hoot.

Extra points for introducing a Hugh Grant character I really want to spend more time with.

Everything here works together beautifully... until the last 20 minutes, which feels slightly less inspired. But I don't mind: I want a sequel that delivers on the promise made by the conclusion of this one. And with this team, I think it can happen. Unless I have to count to post-apoc sci-fi monster Fury Road in the competition (and I'm inclined to say it's in another genre altogether), this is the most satisfying adventure-movie entertainment that 2015 has shown me yet.

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