This past week saw the release of “Kingsman” director Matthew Vaughn’s newest spy film, “Argylle.” The movie follows a spy novelist, Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard), as she gets thrust into the same world of espionage, discovering shocking truths about herself and those around her along the way.

The marketing for the film, which centered around the mystery of who the “real” Agent Argylle is, sparked speculation about multiple aspects of the movie leading up to the release date. Despite this, “Argylle” is reported to have done poorly at the box office on its opening weekend, earning only $18 million domestically on a budget of $200 million. Unfortunately, though “Argylle” had so much going for it between Vaughn’s proven track record and a star-studded cast, it still wasn’t enough to make up for its many shortcomings.

Though “Argylle” may not be great overall, the film still has potential. Before the big twist is revealed, the first hour of the runtime is incredibly fun and features some incredible moments showcasing the talent of its cast. The dynamic between Elly and Aidan Wilde (Sam Rockwell) brings levity and helps make even the less stellar latter part of the movie more watchable. If viewers were going to the theaters for other actors, though, such as Henry Cavill, Dua Lipa and Samuel L. Jackson, they may be disappointed to learn that their screen time is much shorter than what was suggested — especially given the film’s heavy advertisement of their roles.

After the big twist of the movie is revealed — something that could probably be guessed by a viewer less than 20 minutes into the runtime — the film takes a turn downhill. Any cleverness or intrigue slips away into clichés. The dialogue throughout the last hour of the film is especially repetitive and exposition-heavy, pulling one out of the film and creating a sense of boredom as all the momentum of the beginning is quickly lost. The second half became standard and uninteresting, almost as if the filmmakers were simply trying to get the plot done rather than tell a story.

What is most surprising about this film is that Vaughn actually directed it. Some scenes feel like his distinct style, especially one or two visually distinct action sequences, but most scenes feel as though someone else tried, and failed, to replicate him. This could possibly be due to the PG-13 rating, as it feels very much like a toned-down version of Vaughn’s R-rated “Kingsman” films. Vaughn’s involvement also muddles the film’s ending as in a credit scene there are new reveals out of nowhere that seemingly conflict with the movie as a whole and create confusion, which also appear to be the studio’s attempt to fold “Argylle” into a successful franchise.

The most egregious aspect of this film is its borderline infuriating ending. While the film may have hoped to end with a full-circle moment, it’s rather confusing and makes so much of the film seem pointless. The first and second halves of the movie might as well have been written by different screenwriters, because the quality across the board is night and day. The film clearly thinks it’s saying something and riffing off the modern spy film, but all it does is replay familiar elements, often without anything of its own to add.

Overall, if fans enjoyed Vaughn’s other spy films like “Kingsman,” they may want to give “Argylle” a try. The best experience would be going in with no expectations so that the big twist will be intriguing when it’s revealed. A viewer couldn’t be blamed for wanting to walk out after that point, though — and if they’ve seen pretty much any modern spy movie they could more or less guess where things will go in its third act without having to sit through it.

A few fun moments and even an incredibly well-done first hour just weren’t enough to make up for what follows. The film’s plot clearly depends on the sequel it sets up, but “Argylle” probably won’t prove to be the franchise hit that the studio was hoping for.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars