Follow TV Tropes


Film / The Gray Man (2022)

Go To

The Gray Man is a spy/action film directed by The Russo Brothers, based on the 2009 novel by Mark Greaney, centered on Court Gentry, the titular "Gray Man": a CIA black ops operative who, after uncovering incriminating secrets about the agency, becomes subject to a manhunt by international assassins led by Lloyd Hansen, a psychopathic former colleague.

Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans play Gentry and Hansen, respectively, leading an All-Star Cast that includes Ana de Armas, Regé-Jean Page, Jessica Henwick and Billy Bob Thornton. Frequent Russo collaborator Callan Mulvey plays a key role kicking off the plot, while Julia Butters plays the Morality Pet for our protagonists.

The Gray Man was released in theaters on July 15, 2022, a week ahead of its July 22 release on Netflix. A sequel is in development as well as a spin-off.


The Grey Man includes examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Gentry's dad was this, beating Gentry's brother to the point where Gentry killed him. It's also the reason he was in prison until Fitzroy pulled him out.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • During the shootout in Prague, Lloyd says, "Extra ten million to the first guy to put a bullet in this Ken Doll's brain". Ryan Gosling is set to play Ken in the upcoming Barbie movie.
    • Julia Butters once again plays a little girl who is captured by a villain completely willing to hurt her, although the situation is very much real this time around.
  • Advertising by Association: The trailer would like to remind you that this is from the directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.
  • All for Nothing: The plot was kicked off by Dining Car/Sierra Four trying to expose the crimes of Denny, whose dirt is coded in an encrypted drive, hoping that Sierra Six takes over the hunt instead by appealing to his sense of morality. By the end, despite the massive trail of bodies all over the world, Denny and Suzanne were able to retrieve the very same disk and destroy it, keeping the former's dirty laundry secret.
  • Advertisement:
  • Ambiguously Gay: Hansen drops a lot of LGBTQ+ jokes when snarking, as well as praising other men's attractiveness often.
  • Ax-Crazy: Lloyd, who isn't above putting innocent civilians and cops in harm's way just to kill Gentry.
  • Badass in Distress: At one point in the movie, Six remarks on the fact that Miranda has had to save his life multiple times.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Lloyd shoots one of his pilots when he explains he can't land in Vienna without losing his license. He later regularly threatens all of his subordinates.
    • Denny is this, given the fact they used the agency and their operatives as a hit squad to carry out their own orders.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While Suzanne manages to leverage Gentry/Sierra Six and Miranda to cooperate with her in pinning the blame for all the body count on the dead Lloyd, this does mean they were able to retrieve and dispose of Denny's black ops dirt encrypted drive. At the same time, despite nominally keeping Gentry on a leash, he manages to escape and once again rescue Claire, with them Riding into the Sunset—either for this or a Sequel Hook.
  • Blackmail Backfire: Sierra Four found evidence of Denny's crimes and tried to blackmail him. It got him labelled as a black market dealer targeted for elimination by Sierra Six.
  • Boxed Crook: All six of the Sierra project field agents were criminals that Fitz recruited out of prison. If Denny is to be believed, all of them except for Six reverted back to their criminal behaviors and had to be killed or sent back to prison, with Six's going rogue being covered up as him inevitably following in the footsteps of his fellows.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Suzanne has this style of hair, which Lloyd mocks as making her "look like a bitch".
  • Brick Joke: During the hospital fight, Six throws Miranda an unloaded gun and she assumes its loaded and runs off. When she protests, he notes that 'no one throws a loaded gun'. When Lloyd is holding Claire at flare gun point, he demands that Six throw him a gun. Six unloads the gun and throws it. When Lloyd protests, Six replies that 'no one throws a loaded gun'.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Claire laments "Just another Thursday" after her pacemaker has acted up and forced her to be rushed to a hospital. Six returns the line a couple of minutes later after — almost casually — defeating an assassin in the Fitzroy house. Six also repeats this to her before his climactic fight against Lloyd.
  • The Cameo: Joe Russo of The Russo Brothers, the directors, cameos as a government official reviewing the events of the film.
  • Character Title: The agents of the Sierra program are referred to as Grey Men, with Gentry serving as the titular single "Gray Man" due to the others getting wiped out.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Claire has a pacemaker which is mentioned to have a tracking chip in it so that EMT responders can be summoned in an emergency. Gentry later tracks her down after she is kidnapped by sneaking into a hospital and using their pacemaker tracking app.
  • The Chessmaster: Suzanne is a last-minute example. Watching Lloyd and Gentry fight, she realizes she can use Lloyd as a scapegoat for all the events of the film and explains as much to Gentry after shooting Lloyd. She also threatens Claire's life if Gentry doesn't become a CIA operative, though this backfires later as he escapes and reunites with Claire, escaping the agency's grasp.
  • Classified Information: A rare inversion of the classic “heavily redacted file”. Gentry’s file is blank, and it is implied the same goes for all the other Sierra operatives. Later on we see a more standard example when Gentry and his allies see the contents of the encrypted hard drive, revealing a document completely covered in black ink to highlight just how much Denny’s allies are able to cover up.
  • Convenient Misfire: Gentry claims as much during the opening mission, though it's clear that he didn't fire due to the presence of civilians near his target.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The credits have metal statues reenacting of scenes of the movie, entering Video Credits when the cast comes through specific ones for each actor.
  • Credits Gag: Earlier in the pursuit, Lloyd was disabled by Miranda by shooting a tranq round in his ass. Later on, Chris Evans's listing in the Creative Closing Credits focuses on Lloyd's ass with the round too. Possibly also doubling as an Actor Allusion, especially considering how his biggest role was subject to Memetic Mutation in Avengers: Endgame.
  • Cue the Sun: As the final battle between Gentry and Lloyd begins, the sun slowly starts to rise.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Practically everyone is this. Not surprising, given The Russo Brothers tenure at Marvel. Chief among them, Claire, as shown during a flashback of Gentry babysitting her.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Played for Drama. Suzanne has this reaction when Lloyd's squad causes the death of Margret, the former head of the UK agency.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Possibly doubling as both Margaret and Fitzroy's motivations for their Heroic Sacrifice: with the latter dying of cancer and he already bleeding out from a stray gunshot, they decided to go out on their own terms.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Both the leads immediately show what kind of people they are in their first missions shown on screen.
    • Six directly disobeys orders from his superior and jeopardizes his mission’s success for the sole reason that a civilian child might be in the line of fire. A Hitman with a Heart who very much stuck to his recruiting pitch of only going after the "bad guys".
    • Lloyd electro-tortures a man with jumper cables attached to his face, waxing faux-philosophical between charges, and referring to the torture in creepily semi-sexual terms when he takes a call. All in all, a sadistic, ruthless, gleefully amoral monster who's in it for the power trip as much as the paycheck.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Lone Wolf noticeably grows conflicted when he learns that Lloyd was preparing to kill a young girl. It later serves as the reason for his Heel–Face Turn, handing the drive to Miranda while saying that Lloyd is not honorable.
    • Played for Laughs when Lloyd protests to Gentry's attack on the mansion/castle, expressing annoyance at the fact they're destroying such an ancient historical site.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Fitz asks one of their operatives to make the assassination of Gentry painless after getting forced to call the hit by Lloyd, who has his niece hostage.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Chris Evans absolutely hams it up playing Lloyd Hansen.
  • Exact Words: Miranda questions Six about what Four gave to him before he died. Six replies that it's an encripted drive, yet he again makes himself clear that it cannot be accessed when she demands to know its content.
    Miranda: What did he give you?
    Six: An ecrypted drive.
    Miranda: What's on it?
    Six: It's encrypted.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Lloyd Hansen is a raging psychopath willing to commit horrific acts of violence to achieve his goals. He's also a grade-A Hunk, with a Lantern Jaw of Justice and a sculpted physique. In the finale, he uses his innocent-looking blue eyes to beg Claire not to shoot him point-blank, and it works: Claire hesitates long enough that he disarms her and takes her hostage (again).
  • Family of Choice: When babysitting Claire, Gentry says that Fitzroy is the closest thing he has to family, which Claire responds to by saying that that makes them family too.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Lloyd is cordial toward both Fitzroy and Claire, while holding them hostage and threatening them every step of the way. He loses semblance of an affable persona after the disaster of a Prague mission and when Suzanne chews him out.
  • Fingore: Lloyd uses a pair of pliers to torture Fitzroy by tearing off several of his fingernails. Later during the final battle, Claire shoots a flare gun at Lloyd which tears several of his fingers off.
  • For the Evulz: Lloyd all but states that gratuitous cruelty is his sole motivation in general.
    Lloyd: That's the beauty of the private sector. I don't care about reasons.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: During the pliers-to-the-fingernails torture scene, we don't actually see the nails get ripped out, or the bloody fingers afterward. There is, however, a close-up of the bloodied nails after the fact.
  • Handicapped Badass: Lloyd loses several of his fingers just before the final fight. He's still very deadly but the impairment is remarked on by Six.
  • Hedge Maze: The final fight takes place in one located near a Prague mansion.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Doing triple-duty with Mentor Occupational Hazard and Taking You with Me, no less:
    • Margaret chooses to stall for time to let Gentry and Miranda get away by blowing up her own flat through a gas leak, taking the mercenaries that perforated her flat with her.
    • Later, Fitzroy, already bleeding out from a stray shot, also chooses to stay behind and attempt to blow up Hansen and his goons with a grenade. While Hansen still survives this, this definitely helps to injure and wind him down enough for the later fights.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Six and later revealed, Lone Wolf, as a stark contrast to the Psycho for Hire Hansen. Both are completely unwilling to harm children, to the point of jeopardizing their standing with their employers. The former explicitly tries to clear out (not just minimise, clear out) civilian casualties from danger, while the film never shows the latter killing non-combatants.
  • Homage Shot: Gentry was shot at with high-calibre automatic gun inside a tram while holding a protective shield. It's an ironic, near shot-by-shot replication of Chris Evans' bus scene in Captain America: Winter Soldier. Of course, the latter plays the antagonist who orders the attack in this movie.
  • Honor Before Reason: In the finale, Six refuses to bait Lloyd into Miranda's line of fire, instead intentionally disarming himself so the pair can have a fistfight. Though, it's also implied to be because he also got pissed against Lloyd when he fired the flare gun close enough to Clarie's face, as a demonstration of his utter willingness to kill her on a dime, to give her a minor burn.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: After Gentry fatally wounds Dining Car in a fight, he gives Gentry a drive containing incriminating evidence involving the CIA.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Lampshaded by Lloyd during the street shootout in Prague. To emphasise it, Six is currently in the middle of a shootout between hired mercenaries and armed SWAT police and handcuffed to a bench:
    Lloyd: My God, how hard is it to shoot somebody?
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Demonstrated countless times by both Gentry and Miranda. The former performs near-miracles with handguns aimed solely through reflections or through split-second improbably-small targets, while the latter waves around an RPG like it's a sniper rifle.
  • Ironic Echo: When Hansen is torturing Fitzroy by ripping off his fingernails, he replies with “Boring” whenever he doesn’t get the answers he wants. Just before Fitzroy dies later on, he tells Hansen “Boring” when he and his goons have him cornered at gunpoint, and Fitzroy blows them all up (minus Hansen) with a grenade.
  • It's All About Me: After Carmichael assumed she was covering for him and got suspended as a result, Miranda initially took it upon herself to turn Six over to the CIA in order to salvage both her career and reputation. However, she has a change of heart when Six manages to convince her otherwise.
    Miranda: They pulled me from field duty. They think I'm into whatever you're into. You're gonna tell them I'm not.
    Six: What gives the impression they care what I think?
    Miranda: This is my career, you understand? You're just an asset, but it's my career, my reputation.
  • It's Personal: Hansen openly acknowledges his opportunity to have walked away from the conflict at any time, but by the end he must prove he is better than Gentry for all the trouble the latter caused him. It's implied that Six reciprocates at the end, both because Lloyd burned Claire with a flare gun right in front of him to force him to drop his weapon, and his mentor/father figure just pulled a Heroic Sacrifice against Lloyd's pursuit not long before. Lloyd's implied similarities to Gentry's similarly macho father are implied to have a hand in it as well.
  • Karma Houdini: Denny and Suzanne appear to suffer no punishment by the end of the film. Their boss, known only as "The Old Man", isn't even identified, much less brought to justice, only alluded to as the probable reason they have been able to pull off such brazen monopolisation of the agency's assets.
  • Lady in a Power Suit: Miranda wears a gaudy and extravagant suit in the opening mission, lampshaded by Gentry. Played straight with Suzanne, which makes sense given the fact she works for the CIA.
  • Large Ham: Lloyd. Chris Evans seems to be almost channeling Nicolas Cage at times. He is clearly relishing his chance to play a no-holds-barred (but pretty cheerful) psychopath, after years of playing Captain America.
  • Laughably Evil: Lloyd is a sardonic, oddly cheerful sociopath who never lets up on the wisecracking even when he's torturing and murdering people.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Gentry, Hansen, Miranda, and Lone Wolf take copious amount of abuse and get back up the very next second. Special mention to the Tamil assassin because he took an RPG to the face and comes out not much worse afterwards.
  • Made of Iron: And how! Gentry suffers from a massive fall, multiple close-range explosions, and multiple major stab wounds – along with the standard hand-to-hand beating all the other characters get throughout the movie. He still manages to not only complete his objectives to satisfaction, but keeps enough awareness and recovers fast enough to fake unconsciousness, breaking out of a heavily-secured military hospital the first chance he gets.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Denny's atrocious track record is being covered up by someone very highly-placed, but we never find out who that is or why they think it's worth covering for Denny.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Fitzroy, Gentry's mentor and surrogate father, gets severely wounded and dies, though not before taking a few of Lloyd's men with him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Suzanne has one when she sees Miranda aiming a rocket launcher at the room she's in.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Denny comments on Miranda's attractiveness, invades her personal space in a way not justified by trying to get her to give up information and later calls her "clever girl", seemingly for no other reason that to highlight that he's a prick.
  • Porn Stache: Lloyd's facial hair, appropriately dubbed a "trash-stache" by Gentry.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Suzanne repeatedly disapproves of Lloyd's actions, because they are splashy, destructive, and counterproductive for a government organization that is supposed to handle things quietly.
  • Psycho for Hire: Lloyd is referred to as such repeatedly, a sadistic sociopath who's able to indulge his bloodlust by selling his services through a private military company.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: Hansen acts very much like an immature middle-school football player who switched out his pads for guns and henchman (and in actuality is someone who went to Harvard to play football), and even whines line he’s still on 6th Grade.
    • Denny isn’t any better; while less outwardly psychotic and staying well away from the action, his undisciplined and reckless command style is basically just a decaffeinated version of Hansen’s. He adds to it by acting like a spoiled rich kid who employs Hansen in the first place.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: In an interesting inversion, the protagonist Gentry is the calm, almost emotionless Implacable Man, while the antagonist Hansen is the boisterous Psychopathic Man Child. The former was an ex-convict who killed his own abusive father calmly, while the latter was a CIA dropout who's rejected after his emotional instability was apparent since the start.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Gentry's aide who betrays him in Vienna is rewarded with a few gunshots to the chest, courtesy of Lloyd.
  • Running Gag:
  • The Scapegoat: Dennis threatens to do this to Suzanne to escape the blame for all his actions. In the end, Suzanne decides to cover her and the CIA's ass by blaming all of Denny's rogue operations on Lloyd, a clearly out of control outside contractor.
  • Shot in the Ass: Miranda shoots Lloyd there with a tranquilizer dart, much to his consternation.
    Suzanne: Why are you limping?
  • Shout-Out: Gentry namedrops 007 when questioned on his alias, Six.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: The presence of Fitzroy's niece, Claire, and her significance to the story is barely shown in promotional material.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Not only does Denny have all the qualities listed in his Smug Snake entry, but when he and Suzanne discover that Gentry has escaped, Suzanne immediately starts giving orders which the soldiers obey without checking with him even though he's her nominal superior, suggesting that he's not respected by any of his subordinates.
  • Smug Snake: Denny is totally confident in his own abilities, boasts about how his rapid rise is due to him not letting himself be compromised by the weakness of others, and later tells his Only Sane Woman subordinate that thinking for herself could be risky. The entire film is one long parade of his misjudgements and mistakes, and the protagonists figure out quite early on that the only reason he's not in jail for his long history of excessive force is because he's being protected by someone very highly-placed.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Gentry and Hansen indulge in this during a fight, with Gentry mocking Hansen’s mustache before a grenade is dropped.
  • The Sociopath: Suzanne describes Lloyd as this. It's difficult to argue with her in that regard, especially after he kidnaps and gleefully threatens a teenage girl. He's even introduced torturing a man by attaching jumper cables to his cheeks.
  • Storming the Castle: Six and Miranda storming the mansion to take down Lloyd, recover the drive, and rescue Fitzroy and his niece.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Lloyd orders a hit squad to assassinate Six after he is detained by the police in the middle of a public square, in spite of the fact that several armed police officers including a SWAT team are present. The result is a chaotic gunfight where the assassins are so preoccupied with fending off the police that they're unable to get a clear shot in at Six, and most of them wind up being killed.
    • During the hospital fight, Six throws Miranda a gun, which she only realizes is unloaded when she attempts to fire at Lone Wolf. When she calls out Six, he points out that throwing a loaded gun is insanely reckless and questions why she'd assume a highly trained black ops operative such as himself would engage in such a flagrant violation of gun safety.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Lloyd clearly doesn't think much of his subordinates or his supposed partner Suzanne, and treats them with barely disguised contempt.
    Lloyd: [as he angrily beats a dead mook's corpse] MORONS!
  • Taking You with Me: Margret Cahill pulls this on a squad of Lloyd's mercenaries by flicking a lighter and setting off the gas on a stovetop. Fitzroy later does this with a hand grenade to take down several of Lloyd's men after he is mortally wounded.
  • Token Good Teammate: Suzanne is the only one to object to Denny and Lloyd's techniques. Then again, the only reason she protests is due to the concern that the turn of events would be blamed on her. Pretty much subverted by the end, where despite the fact she executes Lloyd, she also threatens Claire to get Gentry to comply with her orders.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Lloyd was already mentally unhinged from the start, but he grows even more impatient and angry the more his men fail to take down Six, shooting and beating their corpses. His fingers getting blown off by Claire just prior to his and Gentry's fistfight seems to be the point he decides he has to make all the trouble he's gone through worth it by beating Gentry to death, even when he lampshades that he does have the option to just walk away from it all regardless.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Despite calling Six out for unintentionally getting her in trouble with Carmichael, Miranda nevertheless decides to help him out rather than bring him over to the CIA. If not for Six's words, she could've made a big mistake, not only for having Six brought over and killed, but also for nearly endangering a kid's life caused by her own selfishness.
  • World of Snark: As expected from a movie directed by The Russo Brothers, there's no shortage of dialogue involving the protagonists and antagonists sniping at each other (be it about their competence or their shared history). Hell, even the Morality Pet Claire and the dying Margaret gets in on it (admittedly to the people they trust).
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Lloyd kidnaps Fitzroy's young niece Claire in order to get him to comply with his demands, and on multiple occasions threatens to harm or kill her. Him giving her a minor burn by firing a flare gun close to her face seem to piss off Gentry enough to the point he actually complies with Hanson's insane wish for a fistfight to the death, despite having the option to just let Miranda shoot him with a rifle.
    • By the end of the film, Claire is a hostage for Suzanne who has also threatened her, and she is being guarded by people who are not violently abusive, but are entirely aloof and uncaring for the traumatised and lonely child.
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: The plot is set in motion by Six refusing to kill his target in the way originally ordered because a child would be collateral damage. He completes the job in a different way after the kid leaves, which leaves him face to face with the dying target, who turns out to be a fellow Sierra agent.
    • Lone Wolf, the Tamil mercenary, ultimately declines to kill Miranda and chooses to return the drive because he overhears Lloyd ordering his men to kill Claire, a line Lone Wolf would not cross.