Writer-director Guy Ritchie knows how to entertain, and here he tones down his signature rapid-fire editing and convoluted plots for a fun, straightforward thriller. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. revels in its setting and the Mod eyecandy of its stars; although Illya calls Napoleon "Cowboy," Cavill -- who's ridiculously dapper as the suave American spy -- is more of an old-school-Bond-meets-Thomas-Crown-like character, with bespoke suits and perfectly coiffed, well, everything. Audiences may start to wonder when he'll slip into his native English accent, because a "Cowboy" he is not. But it doesn't matter, because Cavill is a distractingly attractive smooth operator. Hammer, on the other hand, must play the "heavy," a psychologically fragile, strapping work of Soviet precision who has trouble keeping his temper in check -- particularly when he feels humiliated.
For all of the beautiful women in the movie -- and Napoleon's reputation as a womanizer -- there's not a Bond-level of romantic tension in the movie. Vikander and Hammer keep their sparks simmering on low, and it's really the two men who banter and tease. At least Vikander's Gaby isn't just a pretty accessory; her character (a gearhead) is just as valuable as the men, even if she's not in as many of the high-octane action sequences. With its elegant cinematography and editing, fabulous soundtrack (Roberta Flack, Nina Simone, Solomon Burke), and gorgeous costumes, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is amusing popcorn fare that's fun, if not particularly filling.