It’s a very Henry Cavill week, with spy caper Argylle coming out on Friday, and now the official trailer for The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, a new film from Guy Ritchie in which Cavill stars as a World War II special operations agent. If they will not make him the official James Bond, the filmmakers of Britain will make him the unofficial James Bond, dammit!
The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is a mouthful of a title and looks like a very Guy Ritchie joint—lots of style, action, unserious tone—but it is actually based on a true story, about the Special Operations Executive organized as an off-books intelligence ministry by Winston Churchill at the start of World War II. They really were dubbed “the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare”, as well as “Churchill’s Secret Army” and the “Baker Street Irregulars”, a nod to both their London HQ and Sherlock Holmes’ fictional network of street urchins who doubled as spies. The film is based on Damien Lewis’s book, Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: How Churchill's Secret Warriors Set Europe Ablaze and Gave Birth to Modern Black Ops. (Lewis writes wildly entertaining books about odd corners of World War II history—in 2022 he published Agent Josephine, about Josephine Baker’s work as an Allied spy inside occupied France. If there is any justice in the world, Zendaya will win her first Oscar for starring in the adaptation.)
Cavill stars as Gus March-Phillips, the first person recruited to lead one of these newly created so-called “black operations” teams, which includes people played by Alan Ritchson, Henry Golding, and Eiza Gonzalez (the women of SOE were INCREDIBLE, and deserve their own movie). It’s a bonkers story, I highly recommend the book, and I LOVE the look of this trailer. Henry Cavill having fun!
We only got shades of this guy over the last decade. Fun Cavill would pop out occasionally in stuff like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Enola Holmes, or Mission: Impossible – Fallout, but it seems like free of franchise shackles, Cavill is doubling down on having fun. He’s so wildly charismatic when you let him smile on camera! I will NEVER get over wasting an entire decade of this guy’s career so he could play the dourest Superman of all time. But with films like Argylle and Ungentlemanly Warfare, it’s clear that, finally, Henry Cavill is free to be fun once again.