Spies in Disguise Movie Review

(L-R): Tom Holland voices Walter Beckett, and Will Smith voices Lance Sterling, in directors Nick Bruno and Troy Quane’s animated comedy, ‘Spies in Disguise.’
Photo Courtesy: Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox Animation

Title: ‘Spies in Disguise’

Directors: Troy Quane and Nick Bruno

Voice Cast: Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Reba McEntire, Rachel Brosnahan, Karen Gillan and DJ Khaled

Subtly teaching children important life lessons in a relatable, humorous way is often times the most powerful form of delivery. The vital message of accepting everyone for who they are, and not solely relying on violence as a way to solve conflict, are the essential themes in the new computer-animated comedy, ‘Spies in Disguise.’

The adventure movie, which marks the feature film directorial debuts of Troy Quane and Nick Bruno, is being released in theaters nationwide today, courtesy of 20th Century Fox. Inspired by the animated short movie, ‘Pigeon: Impossible by Lucas Martell,’ screenwriters Brad Copeland and Lloyd Taylor penned ‘Spies in Disguise’s script.

‘Spies in Disguise’ follows super spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) and scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland), who are almost exact opposites in almost every way, but are inadvertently forced to work together on a top-priority project. Lance is smooth and sophisticated, while Walter is a geek genius who graduated from MIT when he was just 15, and invents gadgets for espionage purposes.

But when an international job take an unexpected turn and leaves Lance as the top suspect of a major crime, he’s forced to team up with Walter for the ultimate mission. The job will require an almost impossible disguise: transforming Lance into a brave, fierce and majestic pigeon, much to his dismay. Walter and Lance must suddenly learn how to work as a team, or the whole world will be left in peril.

Copeland and Taylor’s story uniquely and smartly infuses the importance of pacifism into the family-driven comedy. The plot not only relies on witty banter about forgoing continued disturbances to propel the enthralling action sequences, but also learning and accepting the idea that talking through conflict can actually resolve more of the issues that plague the world than always resorting to violence.

Smith and Holland were rightfully cast alongside each other to voice the stylish Lance and driven Walter, who both must learn to appreciate the other’s distinct methods of achieving their goals. While the suave Lance always believes his methods are the best way to successfully complete a mission, and the young Walter is learning how to connect with his colleagues while using his smarts to create his unique tools to overtake America’s enemies, the actors’ equally amusing and heartfelt voice deliveries prove their comparability on screen.

Crafting an emotionally and visually stunning and memorable animated spy action comedy that’s aimed to the whole family isn’t always the easiest task, especially for first-time filmmakers. But with stellar voice performances by Smith and Holland, which are captivatingly interwoven into an important, compelling story, ‘Spies in Disguise’ proves how on target it is, in a relatable, humorous way. Bruno and Quane validate that just like Lance and Walter, they’re a top-notch duo that can successfully bring people of all backgrounds together.

Technical: A-

Acting: B

Story: B+

Overall: B+

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'Spies in Disguise'
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Karen Benardello: As a life-long fan of entertainment, particularly films, television and music, and an endless passion for writing, Karen Benardello decided to combine the two for a career. She graduated from New York's LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic. While still attending college, Karen began writing for Shockya during the summer of 2007, when she began writing horror movie reviews. Since she began writing for Shockya, Karen has been promoted to the position of Senior Movies & Television Editor. Some of her duties in the position include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, producing posts on celebrity news and contributing reviews on albums and concerts. Some of her highlights include attending such festivals and conventions as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, SXSW, Toronto After Dark, the Boston Film Festival and New York Comic-Con.
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