There are many right and wrong ways to write a screenplay. Here is the way Argylle was probably written, complete with director’s notes (in this case, Matthew Vaughn or MV here) and SPOILERS.
Title: Not Another Kingsman Movie.
MV: I see what you did there. We’re doing another quasi-spoof spy movie that isn’t Kingsman. Har-har.
Screenplay by: Jason Fuchs
MV: I mean, it’s not NOT another Kingsman Movie. I’ll explain later.
Premise: Spy novelist Elly Conway is caught up in a real-life spy thriller that mirrors her books.
MV: We need a hook. This premise has been done before. I know this because I finally got around to watching The Lost City. I wonder if we can get Sandra Bullock to play Elly?
Movie Poster: Features a backpack with a cat in it.
MV: Great hook. People love cat videos and the cat will be the lynchpin of the entire movie.
Note to MV when he reads this: The cat has nothing to do with the plot. It’s not even named Argylle, which is what people will think when they see the poster. The cat is just going to be the butt of a few jokes, at least one of which might be funny and several of which will be based on the fact that the cat is still there.
MV: Sooo…the cat isn’t a spy? Or a bomb? Or some kind of gadget?
Undercover, Secret Agent Argylle enters a club in Greece. He walks to the table where Lagrange sits. Lagrange is wearing a cocktail dress that leaves little to the imagination, distracting Argylle’s attention. <Insert cheesy dialogue that leads to them dancing>. They dance.
MV: I imagine Argylle as Henry Cavill. He has John Travolta’s hair from Face/Off and Broken Arrow, but taller, flatter, and more pointy. Like he could cut glass by tilting his forehead forward.
Lagrange knows Argylle is really a spy and everyone in the club points a gun at Argylle. Argylle’s tech gal Keira helps him escape and defeat the crew, but Lagrange escapes. Chase scene ensues. Argylle’s other partner Wyatt thwarts Lagrange and the three sit down for a chat.
MV: What if, and I’m just spit-balling here, Wyatt is played by John Cena and he literally lifts Lagrange off a speeding motorcycle as she tries to speed by? And he’ll just hold her there dangling for a minute because he’s John Cena and the audience will know it’s THAT kind of movie.
Fade to black and crosscut to a bookstore where a crowd applauds Elly as she finishes reading an excerpt from her latest spy novel, Argylle.
MV: Ooohhh! Super early twist. Me likey.
Ten minutes of filler establishing Elly is a recluse living in a mountain cabin, loves her cat, and is putting the finishing touches on her upcoming fifth Argylle book.
MV: Sandra Bullock won’t return my calls.
Elly hops on a train to Denver to go to her parent’s house to work out the ending of her book. Her mom did not like the ending. A man, Aidan, sits down across from Elly. Before she knows it, Aidan says he’s a spy and is battling a bunch of people he labels the bad guys. Action scene ensues. Elly is freaking out, but also literally imagining Aidan is Argylle. Elly’s cat is there, too, in her backpack. They escape and board a private jet to London.
MV: You get me. We’ll shift between Aidan and Argylle while the fight is happening. Argylle will smirk and wink and suave while fighting it out. Elly will be confused. I’ll get Sam Rockwell to be Aidan. He is the opposite of Henry Cavill in the muscle and hair department.
Next scene. Aidan explains that Elly’s books have predicted the spy world’s future and everyone, good and bad, has been monitoring her as she writes her next book. “Tell me where the <insert MacGuffin> is to take down THE DIVISION.” They land in London, Elly puzzles out their next location, they find a clue there, another shootout ensues. Elly suspects a double-cross.
MV: The Division. What a great name for an evil organization. The Division. I just like saying it. The Division.
Note to MV when he reads this: Stop saying The Division.
MV: Sorry. Let’s get Bryan Cranston to be the evil mastermind in charge of The Division. We’ll call him Ritter. And another twist with the double-cross. Love it. LOVE. IT.
More twists. More action. More exposition. Everyone’s a spy! Aidan isn’t double-crossing Elly, he just wants his soulmate (and spy partner), back. Cat still there.
MV: I can’t believe Sandra Bullock gave me a fake phone number. Good thing I just watched The Help and Jurassic World back-to-back. Like sane people do. Watching Bryce Dallas Howard kick off her heels and tie her shirt in a knot is more than enough to convince me she is believable as an action star. This won’t be like that time we thought Kristen Stewart could be a Charlie’s Angel (probably).
Elly remembers where <insert MacGuffin> is. Alfred Solomon (Aidan’s boss) says “time to dress the part” and sends them to see “The Keeper of Secrets.” Dun. Dun. Dun!
MV: Weird tonal shift in Jason Fuchs’ screenplay. If I hadn’t read Jason’s screenplay for the original Nickelodeon movie Rags, I’d almost think Jason is a crazed AI.
Ritter’s secret headquarters is an oil tanker.
MV: That’s odd. How did Jason know I wanted to name the villain Ritter? Jason, are you an AI?
Rit…I mean, evil villain tortures Aidan for location of Alfred. Villain has Elly’s cat in his office. Elly shoots Aidan. Three more twists. Shootout in belly of tanker. Elly ice skates on floor covered in oil, killing every henchman as she zooms and twirls.
MV: LOVE!! IT!!
If you love that, how about mashing in a scene where Aidan and Elly do a dance number in a corridor filled with a menagerie of different colored smoke while killing a bunch of henchmen?
MV: You really do get me, Jason.
Climax featuring final battle and one more twist. And cat.
MV: Did we forget about that whole juxtaposing the characters from Elly’s book over the real characters? I feel like that was a really fun story device. Is that the final twist?
MV: Add a mid-credit scene that is definitely not related to The Kingsman. *snickers*
Rating: Ask for all of your money back and for screenplays to always be written by humans.