Kingsman: The Secret Service started a beautiful new wave of James Bond satire films. It's been done before but never quite as meta as it was in Kingsman, actively referencing how similar the plot and archetypes are to James Bond while still having a refreshing novelty factor and interesting characters of its own - creating this whole new world for the over-the-top James Bond-esque adventures to take place while the real James Bond canon continues its serious, grounded story arc.
While Kingsman was about setting up this elite organization and showing off their penchant for ridiculously elaborate action sequences, Spy has little exposition and throws you right into this hysterical world where Jude Law is the super suave secret agent and Melissa McCarthy acts as his eyes and ears back at headquarters. Jason Statham comes in later as a rogue agent who is as arrogant as he is oblivious. The movie doesn't itself seriously but it never goes into parody territory. These characters, as overblown and ridiculous as they are, still have relatable personalities, and you're willing to go on this crazy adventure with them right from the start.
Spy is very much an action comedy - whether you view it more as an action movie or as a comedy is completely up to you. I found it hilarious within the first minute and was laughing heartily throughout the entire movie, but there's no denying that the action sequences are incredibly well done. Specifically, the fight between Susan Cooper (McCarthy) and a female assassin in a kitchen, the opening sequence of Cooper alerting Bradley Fine (Law) where enemies are while Fine sweeps them up in a rat maze full of baddies, and the scene with the car where Cooper mops the floor with a handful of terrorists with little to no effort. If you aren't laughing at the jokes, you can laugh at how insane and over-the-top the action is - either way, it's an incredibly fun time.
What I find most compelling about Spy is how likable each character is. It's not just McCarthy, Law, and Statham with a bunch of stoic supporting characters. No, even the supporting characters are hilarious and interesting. Miranda Hart plays Cooper's goofy friend who does dumb things with the best of intentions, Rose Byrne plays the villainous daughter of a rich terrorist and has some excellent back-and-forth bickering with McCarthy, and Peter Serafinowicz plays Aldo: a sleazy Frenchman who absolutely loves women and especially their boobs. They all have moments of hilarity; even the main antagonist played by Bobby Cannavale who is supposed to be a classy businessman has quirky one-liners and the funniest villain run I've seen in recent memory. Oh, and 50 Cent is in it playing 50 Cent. Yeah, it's as crazy as it sounds.
As far as lead performances go, this is the funniest Melissa McCarthy has ever been. This is the ideal role for her because her character has a serious job and a serious mission juxtaposed with McCarthy's snarky personality and usual shenanigans, making for some truly hysterical situations. Jason Statham, however, is the real highlight here. The man is brilliant in this role. He's a tough-guy agent that goes around bragging about how badass he is and goes on to do the stupidest things ever while still keeping a straight face and menacing persona - essentially a parody of his usual roles. His rants are comedy gold simply because it's Statham doing them. He proves here that he's not only one of the greatest action stars working today but also one of the funniest. The fact that he even agreed to this movie says a lot about Statham's attitude - he's a great sport and isn't afraid to make fun of himself, and I really hope this earns him more comedic roles in the future.
Spy was everything I wanted it to be and more. I laughed harder at this movie than I did at most comedies in the past decade. The production value was fantastic, the pacing was perfect, and director Paul Feig clearly knows how to do comedy but now can add action to his resume. Everything about this movie works. It also allows James Bond to continue its serious endeavors, Kingsman to handle the classy yet gritty side of secret agents, while Spy focuses on the campy and silly nature of the whole affair. I sincerely hope this gets a franchise because there are too many great things happening for it not to get a sequel. On it's own however, Spy is an absolutely brilliant, perfectly casted satire that should not be missed by fans of action, comedy, or fun.