I don't know if anyone was clamoring for a movie version of the '60s TV show "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." - those Cold War themes feel kinda lukewarm now, huh? - but it's surprisingly entertaining sandbox for director Guy Ritchie to play in.

I don't know if anyone was clamoring for a movie version of the '60s TV show "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." - those Cold War themes feel kinda lukewarm now, huh? - but it's surprisingly entertaining sandbox for director Guy Ritchie to play in.

The film version of "U.N.C.L.E" isn't transcendent or anything, but Ritchie shows some of the same knack for a modern take on a period that he showed with his slickly fun "Sherlock Holmes" movies with Robert Downey Jr.

We meet C.I.A. super-agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill of "Superman" fame) in Berlin in 1963. His mission is the extraction of Gaby (Alicia Vikander), the German daughter of a Nazi scientist. His mission soon overlaps with a (gasp!) Russian agent, Illya (Armie Hammer), and (double gasp!) a larger threat means they need to cooperate.

As with most movies of this nature, most of the fun is in the reveal, so I won't reveal any more. Suffice it to say it's a mix of the familiar and enough of the unexpected that you won't necessarily know how everything plays out the moment it starts to do so.

I enjoyed "U.N.C.L.E" quite a bit, even if there's nothing revolutionary about it. I mean, there's not much room for revolution in the spy genre, but Ritchie has enough fun with it - it's both an homage and sometimes parody of early Bond - to make it worthwhile.

A lot of this will make or break on how you feel about the cast. I felt that Cavill - the most recent Superman - is pretty well suited for the sort of smug super-agent at play here. Armey - who played the WASP-y twins in "The Social Network" - is remarkably funny toying with the stereotype of Cold War Russian stoicism. And Vikander adds a sly twist on the tropes of the traditional female role (i.e. lust object/damsel in distress) in spy movies. (She also starred in my frontrunner for movie of the year, "Ex Machina").

Richie's own unchecked excess is blessing and curse, but he's got a steady hand, some great ideas and a hell of a knack for keeping things funny. This is killer popcorn fare, and I like that.