The beauty of casting Rowan Atkinson is that no matter how tried and tired a character or concept may be, his intrinsic qualities make the two hour investment of watching him push the boundaries of idiotic entertaining.
With his third foray into Johnny English in 15 years, Rowan Atkinson proves that the charm really is in the man.
Despite enjoying the movie and laughing my way through the bulk of it, the truth is that the spy-spoof trope is dead. And it has been dead for a long time. 2011’s Johnny English Reborn was pretty much a sequence of events barely held in place thanks to a great cast, but was so predictable that it was as forgettable as it could get.
While 2003’s original wasn’t entirely groundbreaking either, Atkinson’s play against John Malkovich, as well as the general humorous take on the Britishness of, well, the British, made the experience one that caught you off-guard and entertained you genuinely.
Unfortunately, the trope was largely maxed with 2008’s Get Smart, which was not only arguably superior (the casting alone pretty much sealed the deal) but was also of greater significance to the spy-spoof genre thanks to the TV show on which it was based.
It also doesn’t help that 2015’s Spy further subverted whatever that was yet to be subverted, resulting in a truly delightful movie, but quite possibly the end of the genre.
Thankfully, Johnny English Strikes Again does manage to narrowly avoid the same problems of its predecessor, while somewhat still being relevant largely thanks to the world’s political climate.
That’s right, I just used the term “world’s political climate” in an article about Johnny English.
With the onset of Brexit and Europe’s latest political and financial woes, the global perception of the once great Empire is quite possibly taking a left turn. Throw in eyebrow raising leadership and questionable decision-making (along with the fact that the Royal Family seems all but uninvolved in these ongoings), the Brits, for the first time since Monty Python, may justifiably be the butt of the joke,
While neither Johnny English nor I will pretend that the movie was an exercise of witty-commentary, it is possible that there is more thought in the script than one would assume of an aging franchise that only occasionally pops-up in theatres lest it be entirely forgotten.
While I am certainly not craving another Johnny English, (though I’d be surprised to not see one), I dare say that the movie may have an interesting direction to explore given the rich content provided by the nation’s current climate.
Johnny English Strikes Again at all theatres, but you’d probably be better off getting hit on Netflix.