Okay, let's get one thing out of the way: if you're at all interested in watching Condorman
, you are not treating it as a serious example of the Spy Fiction
genre. Trying to take this movie seriously is Completely Missing The Point
. It's intended to be, and succeeds quite well as, a light-hearted sendup of spy movies and comic book-style superhero antics.
To illustrate, there's a point near the beginning where Woody, recovering from a nearly fatal plunge into the Seine after the failure of his prototype wings, laments that Superman, Batman, and other comic book heroes have the big cities "all sewn up", and he therefore has to come up with some other gimmick for his character. Thus is born his motto - Condorman has to be real
. The kids have to "trust" that he can really do these things.
What carries the movie, therefore, is Woody's absurd self-confidence in the face of dangers that would scare the pants off of a more normal person. You could easily see him palling it up with Inspector Gadget
, except that when the going gets tough, Woody really does start to take things seriously. There's a very powerful moment where he despairs of getting Natalia back, and this is what sparks his true Character Development
. In a way, Condorman
is as much about Woody learning to grow up as it is about the over the top action scenes.
And action scenes there are. It's important to remember the Rule Of Cool
here — of course
cars don't blow up like that in Real Life
. Of course the idea of tooling around Eastern Europe in a racecar that turns into a hydrofoil, or a speedboat chase with rockets and lasers, is utterly ridiculous. And the jail escape sequence, with Harry's Paper Thin Disguise
and the heroes handcuffed to each other is utter camp. But the movie carries these scenes off with such bold panache that you can't help but laugh.
Watch this movie with your kids. You'll see what I mean.