Movie Reviews

Henry Cavill's $60 Million Action Movie Is Better Than Him Playing James Bond

Summary

  • Henry Cavill excels as a comedic and chaotic Major Gus March-Phillipps in
    The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
    .
  • The movie strays from historical accuracy to create an exciting action comedy led by Cavill’s deranged portrayal.
  • Cavill’s versatile talents shine in the film, showcasing his ability to be more than just a serious James Bond-type character.



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Henry Cavill has long been rumored as the next actor to take on the iconic role of James Bond, but his 2024 action comedy The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare proves how limited he would be as that character. From action comedy master Guy Ritchie, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare chronicles the highly-exaggerated story of a real World War II operation led by one of the world’s first military commando units. Cavill portrays Major Gus March-Phillipps, a charismatic agent of chaos and the unit’s leader, as he and his allies attempt to cripple the German U-boat fleet.


While it is technically based on a true story, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare strays about as far away as a movie possibly could from its source material, in this case the real Operation Postmaster from WWII. The scale of the mission, the makeup of March-Phillipps’ team, and the personality of the major himself were all elevated to create an exciting action comedy. By not aiming for historical accuracy, Guy Ritchie was able to create something uniquely entertaining, and the movie is driven by Cavill’s deranged portrait of the real Gus March-Phillipps.


The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare Uses Henry Cavill Better Than Bond Could

Cavill gets to unleash a more fun, wild side


While Henry Cavill could certainly play the part of James Bond as a handsome and charming Englishman with action chops, a role like that wouldn’t use all of his talents. While the older Bond films bordered on cartoonish at times, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig’s runs as 007 have been far more grounded and serious, with limited comedy interwoven into the ongoing spy narrative. Cavill has proven that he’s capable of that (The Man From U.N.C.L.E. stands out in this regard), but it would not take advantage of how devilishly funny Cavill can be when he’s allowed to be.

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
is now available to watch at home via video on demand.


The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare fully unleashes Cavill as the unprofessional and borderline maniacal Gus March-Phillipps, and the 41-year-old actor positively shines. While the ensemble cast around him is great, his upturned mustache and sharp-witted humor dominates the movie, and many reviews noted that Cavill should have had more screentime. As James Bond, Cavill simply wouldn’t have the opportunity to flex his comedy muscles, which would seem like a waste after seeing his performance in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.

Henry Cavill Still Secretly Plays James Bond In The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare

The real-life version of his character inspired Bond’s author

Ironically, Henry Cavill has sort of already played James Bond, albeit in a roundabout fashion. Major Gus March-Phillipps, the WWII commando that Cavill plays in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, served as part of the real-world inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond character. Fleming himself is portrayed in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare by Freddie Fox, occupying the role that Fleming played in WWII as a British Naval Intelligence Officer.


Ian Fleming wrote his first Bond novel,
Casino Royale
, just seven years after the conclusion of WWII at the age of 44.

While no single person can be pointed to as the person Bond is based on, Gus March-Phillipps was undoubtedly a major influence on how the character operates. March-Phillipps code name of “W01” may even be the inspiration behind Fleming’s “double-o” code names in his literary version of Britain’s MI6. By that semi-logic, Henry Cavill has already played James Bond, or at least an action comedy version of the secret agent.

What Henry Cavill Has Said About Playing James Bond

The British actor remains open to it

Henry Cavill as Gus speaking into a radio in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare


Well before Daniel Craig took his final bow as 007 in Spectre, speculation swirled about whether Cavill would be the next choice to play the immortal secret agent. Cavill famously was one of the final few candidates to take the role before it eventually went to Daniel Craig, in fact. There are still plenty of arguments that support making Cavill the next Bond, although there are enough people who have poked holes in the casting, including Cavill himself. Cavill gave an honest response about his 007 casting prospects in a recent interview with Rich Eisen.

I have no idea. All I’ve got to go off is the rumors. The same information you have. Maybe I’m too old now, maybe I’m not. It’s up to Barbara Broccoli and Mike Wilson and we’ll see what their plans are.


Cavill certainly has a point there, as actors who play Bond are typically signed on for at least three movies. At age 41, Cavill could wind up over the age of 50 by the time a third Bond movie was released, and that’s if the process were to start right now. While his age certainly wouldn’t prevent him from fulfilling the role of Bond, it still wouldn’t be the best use of Cavill’s abilities. His role in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare proves that Cavill should be used in more versatile (and comedic roles) as opposed to the relatively one-note persona of James Bond.

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