THERE'S NOTHING particularly wrong with The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Guy Ritchie's adaptation of the Ian Fleming co-created spy-fi TV show from the 1960s. And thank god, Ritchie doesn't update it for 2015: U.N.C.L.E. is set in a Kodachrome-tinted version of the Cold War era, a time when Americans and Soviets fought, coldly, on principle and with principle. We get to watch secret agents traipse through exotic European settings, wear luscious period clothes, tinker with space-age gadgets, cruise in vintage cars, and call each other on gorgeously appointed landline telephones. It's all completely fine.
American thief-turned-spy Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) receives instructions to work with KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) to protect Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander), the daughter of a nuclear scientist who's been captured by the evil Victoria Vinciguerra (the toweringly tall Elizabeth Debicki, who's the best thing in the movie). Cavill and Hammer have the combined emotive powers of a matching bureau and armoire, but the requisite buddy-movie tropes don't ask too much of them, apart from Hammer's Russian accent, which is unfortunate but easily overlooked.
There are some good action sequences, and a few bad ones, too (in particular, a rain-drenched jeep/motorcycle/dune buggy chase that Ritchie shoots in vivid, granular color in order to simulate gripping realism is at baffling odds with the remainder of the movie, which otherwise seems to go out of its way to avoid any kind of intensity or suspense). The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a remake of a TV show that isn't particularly beloved, comes at a peculiar time—surrounded on all sides by superior espionage thrillers/comedies, like Kingsman: The Secret Service, Spy, and Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation. And I can't imagine you'll need U.N.C.L.E. to tide you over until the new James Bond movie, Spectre, comes out in November. But here it is.