Action Adventure Animation comedy Family Fantasy

Spies in Disguise

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Will Smith flies like an eagle with positive messages and good energy.

I can’t guarantee a straight forward answer, but I’m pretty sure there is a difference between Will Smith’s recent family films and his recent action flicks. The action flicks have added “Suicide Squad” and “Gemini Man” to his filmography, and they were real downers compared to his recent pieces of children’s entertainment like the guilty pleasure “Aladdin” remake and Blue Sky Studio’s next animated comedy “Spies in Disguise.” Yes, they aren’t classics, but they, at least, allow Smith to provide his “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Men in Black” energy that help made him such an iconic actor.

In “Spies in Disguise,” the topic of this article, he voices Lance Sterling, a special agent, who looks and acts like the actor, while possessing James Bond’s flexibility and Mr. Incredible’s independence. To put it bluntly, he flies solo.

He comes across the terrorist Killian (voiced by Ben Mendelsohn), who covets a deadly weapon to destroy humanity. Hey, what’s a bad guy to do? He has a robotic hand and cyborg eyes, which becomes a problem, considering that Killian copies Lance’s face, and sullies him a traitor to his country.

The movie wants to give kids a positive message that violence never solves anything, and that’s why we have Walter Beckett (voiced by Tom Holland with Peter Parker’s accent), the agency’s pacifist tech nerd, who develops weapons that won’t kill anyone, but makes them all glittery. He finds a way to turn Lance invisible, given the circumstances, but when the lad tests a pigeon feather in it, the agent carelessly drinks it, and becomes a pigeon himself.

The kid must try to help Lance overpower his cynicism, while fixing up an antidote, by showing him the advantages of having wings.

There are also supporting characters, like Lance’s boss Joy Jenkins (voiced by Reba McEntire), who criticizes him for being reckless on missions; the internal affairs agent Marcy Kappel (voiced by Rashida Jones), who pursues Lance, along with her assistants Eyes (voiced by Karen Gillan with her regular Scottish accent) and Ears (voiced by DJ Khaled); and Walter’s cute emotional support pigeon.

There are gags that lay eggs and make its animation appear silly, and certain elements are predictable, so “Spies in Disguise” is no animated classic. But on a positive note, it does allow Smith and Holland’s voices to get with their animated selves, and adds a sweetness inside them. One thinks violence never solves anything, and the other thinks it does. I think you can tell who’s who.

The animation, most of the way through, do stretch the characters out, and make them attractive. I like how Lance looks like Smith in his human appearance, and I liked his aqua head in his pigeon form. And Walter’s gadgets are fun when they make people feel boneless, when they spray adorable cat images, and when they spray pink goo.

But really, it’s the pacifism attitude and crazy energy that merge together from Point A to Point B. Consider this parkour, once you acknowledge that. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” may make more money than “Spies in Disguise,” but it’s still fun for kids and adults.

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