Spies in Disguise mostly succeeds due to its zippy chemistry between Will Smith and Tom Holland and the animation is also bright and energetic. The rest of the movie is formulaic, more or less, and that keeps it from being completely memorable.
Smith stars as Lance Starling, a cocky secret agent who mostly acts nonchalant about his work. Tom Holland is Walter, a nerdy scientist who works at the same agency and is always experimenting on new gizmos.
His latest is one called Biodynamic Concealment which has the capacity to shapeshift anybody into another living thing. Lance accidentally drinks the substance and transforms into a pigeon. From then on, Lance is anything but a happy camper.
Ben Mendelsohn is the voice of Killian, a technological criminal mastermind who has framed Lance for treason after his last mission went wrong. Together Lance (as a pigeon) and Walter embark on a globetrotting journey to apprehend Killian all while being pursued by a special forces agent (Rashida Jones).
Spies in Disguise works well enough as a diversion for little kids and adults may appreciate its clever tone with a dash of its good-hearted message about the importance of teamwork when the going gets tough.
That works effectively well, but the rest of the plot is mostly on autopilot due to the fact that we can see certain things coming a mile away. For instance, when the villain is sending a missile to kill off Walter, is he really going to meet his end or do you think one of his absurd inventions will save the day?
Smith and Holland embrace the material and the movie is punctuated by sight gags and pop culture references which consists of a lot of their chemistry. I only wish the film wasn’t so derivative in that fashion and I felt like there could’ve been more to offer.
Still, I recommend it for the voice work and the animation and action are entertaining enough. Plus, there’s also a wonderful message about needing others to make things go right.
At the end of it all, at least this movie can say it’s not Playmobil.