I had a lot of hope for Spies in Disguise. Seeing that the voice cast included Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones, Reba and more was a very good sign. While the voice cast is top notch and the animation is pretty well done, the makers of this film forgot something rather important… the story quality. Unfortunately, the story is very run of the mill and actually pretty boring, it all feels 100% recycled without any sort of new pizzazz. The comedy is also a problem here, hardly any of it works… I think I chuckled once during the whole thing.
I mentioned in my opening that the cast is all top notch and that’s completely true. They all do their best for this film, unfortunately they don’t have a whole lot to work with. I liked Will Smith’s charisma, he has that voice that just brings a certain vibe and it worked when it was supposed to. While Smith did a good job with the voicing, I did have an issue with his character. I found his character very unlikable, even when I was supposed to like him. He has such an off putting personality and it permeates every scene he’s in, and it doesn’t really change.
Tom Holland does an alright job with his voicing but I didn’t care for his role either. Holland’s character is just too silly and irritating all the time. I spent most of the film rolling my eyes at him because the things he says are overly cheesy and dumb and his constant antics are too over the top and none of it lands. Also, these two characters as a pair don’t have any chemistry at all. They just don’t work as a team, it’s not funny or organic in any way so seeing them together for the majority of the film is tiresome.
The only cast member’s character I actually liked was Reba McEntire. She plays the head of the spy agency and her voice fits the role very well. The animation is overall very nice and all the action scenes look good. There’s one car chase that’s pretty high octane and is probably the best scene in the film. The actual content of the story is troublesome because everything is so recycled and dull. Every single spy film trope is pulled out and the writers don’t add in anything to spice things up, so it’s just boring. I really didn’t think I’d be bored in this film but that’s exactly how I felt. When the characters are unlikable, the story is just a bunch of recycled tropes with nothing interesting, and the comedy falls flat, there isn’t a whole lot to enjoy. Oh yes, that’s another thing… the comedy, or should I say the attempt at comedy. This film is like a kid that tries to be really funny and just ends up overdoing it and telling lots of really lame jokes. I cringed at just about every joke or sight gag.
The ending has some brief moments of excitement, especially when Lance (Will Smith) and others are all fighting off the villain. Unfortunately, this positive leads me to another negative. The villain in this film is really poorly constructed and is the cheesiest most predictable antagonist one could come up with. I love a good creative villain in animated films like this, but they really dropped the ball with this one. He or she could have been interesting and had some sense of intrigue, but it becomes clear real fast that this film is just interested in a cardboard cut out villain. I like that the villain doesn’t come in a lot because he’s weak but I would’ve liked more villain screen time with a stronger villainous character.
Unfortunately, the bottom line about Spies in Disguise is that it’s boring and poorly constructed. The characters are either extremely stereotypical or just irritating, the comedy is all really grating and low bar, and the story isn’t interesting at all. Skip this one, so many better animated films out there.
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