Guy Ritchie is clearly a fan of the original TV series that this stylish remake is based on. The question is, will his take on it win over any new fans to the world of Cold War espionage and 1960’s politics?

Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) is a C.I.A. Operative with a murky past. Having turned over a new leaf, he is keen on preventing global catastrophe by finding Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander), an East German mechanic who also happens to be the daughter of a missing rocket scientist. Having tracked down Gaby to Berlin, Napoleon is about to take her into his protection when he encounter Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), a hulking KGB agent who is on a similar mission.

After a less than cordial introduction, the two men are forced to work together by their respective bosses. Their differences have to be put to one side as the threat of nuclear proliferation hangs in the air. Their only lead is Gaby, and so she is the becomes the key to finding her father and the evil organisation behind the sale of deadly weapons.

The plot and indeed the film ends up spending a huge amount of time in Rome, which certainly makes for a visual feast. This version of the Cold War era is clearly filled with high fashion, and although the ladies (Vikander and Aussie Elizabeth Debicki) get to try on plenty of great outfits in iconic locations, it’s Cavill who gets to be the prima donna of the piece.

The camera loves him. He looks great in all the suits and casual wear he is given. It’s a deliberate contrast to the drab attire Hammer is given. You can certainly see why Cavill was in the running to be 007 before donning the red cape of Superman, and why he remains a favourite for Bond once Daniel Craig eventually retires.

Unfortunately the Man of Steel star is hampered by having to put on an American accent. He gets it right, but it feels like he is spending so much effort on sounding right, his delivery is an after thought. The stilted nature of his lines are at odds with the action and humour elsewhere in the script.

Debicki could have been just another forgettable femme fatale, a character quite common-place in the spy genre, but she is actually rather good as the villain of the piece. Vikander is a known quantity now, and she certainly seems to be having a lot of fun here. It’s actually Hammer, though, who comes out of the film with the most credit. His straight-laced Illya is well played, giving us a chance to view both sides of the American/Soviet divide in way that Hollywood tends to avoid. The relevancy of such a discourse is back in sharp focus, so the timely nature of the films release isn’t lost on the viewer.

Those familiar with Guy Ritchie’s style, the blend of humour and action that he has developed since the ‘mockney’ gangster days, are in for more of the same. Like the rest of the cast, the director is clearly in love with the location and setting, probably more so than the script. The originality comes from the music and modern character development, and less so the plot which is purely functional.

Ritchie does perfect a way of making the 1960’s setting appeal to modern sensibilities. The series itself feels dated, but the film keeps things moving. By working as an ‘origins’ film, and even teasing a sequel with the late arrival of Hugh Grant, there is room for the franchise to grow.

The real question is, can The Man from U.N.C.L.E succeed in the increasingly-crowded spy genre? With comedies, thrillers and action movies evolving from basic espionage set-ups, there is a danger of the throwback shenanigans here getting lost in the crowd.