Will Smith and Tom Holland are like two sides of a coin. Smith is a seasoned film veteran in the movie star arena and pretty much knows how to play the Hollywood game. Holland, on the other hand, is new to stardom and known for revealing secrets for some of the biggest movies of all time because he’s nerdy excited about the movies he’s in. I would love to have really seen these two together on screen and watched their varying presences juxtaposed off one another in clever ways, but instead we got the next best thing.
‘Spies in Disguise’ is a clever little animated spy movie that wishes it was as neat and cheeky as it aspires to be. Well, as clever as a movie that aspires to turn a suave Will Smith (or Lance Sterling) into a pigeon. Yes, that is the conceit here, and it mostly works because of these two fine actors. Sometimes a bit of chemistry in comedy can make any bird brained idea work. I say that as a silly pun, because Lance gets turned into a pigeon in this movie.
Holland plays Walter Beckett, who is essentially the Q to Will Smith’s version of James Bond, and totally obsessed with making all his gadgets ridiculously cute. In fact, I would not really argue that any of his gadgets are particularly cool in the Bond way. They are certainly amusing and possibly useful, but definitely not cool.
The movie is really trying to be cool though, outside the set up of Lance. It’s trying to make kids laugh at silly stuff and that’s where it is successful. When I watched it with my littlest child, she was giggling quite a bit and my older daughter thought it was cute that they made a movie that revolved around a pigeon for a main character. Which the movie does because pigeons are easily able to mix into a crowd, but it’s also because there is a new found love for pigeons amongst young people. Which is weird to me, but to each their own.