Ben Pearson: Susan Cooper in Spy

Not enough people have seen Spy, Paul Feig’s 2015 action comedy starring Melissa McCarthy. And I get it: the trailers were underwhelming, and the film was not far removed from McCarthy starring in nonsense like Tammy and Identity Thief. But Spy is her best movie yet, and Susan Cooper – McCarthy’s CIA desk-jockey-turned-field-agent character – is the best, most well-rounded character McCarthy has ever played.

Susan Cooper has spent her entire career remotely guiding a slick super agent through dangerous missions, but when he’s assassinated, she’s chosen to save the day because no one will recognize her in the field. The character knows she has what it takes to get the job done, but is constantly undervalued by everyone she knows, including her boss (who makes her go undercover as a sweater-loving cat lady) and arrogant field agent Rick Ford (the wonderful Jason Statham, who you’ll see elsewhere on this list). Part of the reason Cooper is such a great character is because she’s determined to prove herself not only to the bad guys, but to the good guys as well; she’s fighting a major uphill battle, and comes through in a clutch.

Susan Cooper doesn’t make this list solely because she’s a great McCarthy character – her spy bonafides are also legit. She holds her own in a big knife fight and slips into multiple personas throughout the movie, nearly all of which are hilarious – especially when she takes on the identity of a brash, foul-mouthed bodyguard (which sounds hacky and stupid, but is thankfully a joy to behold). By the end, she’s reached full-on Black Widow status, taking part in hand-to-hand fight sequences and kicking ass with the best of them. If you skipped this movie a couple of years ago, do yourself a favor and check it out as soon as you can.

Matt Donato: Rick Ford from Spy

My favorite secret agent who’s not James Bond? There’s no debate past Jason Statham’s “Agent Rick Ford” from Paul Feig’s funny-for-days Spy. Note, he’s not the titular hero – as you’ll recall, Melissa McCarthy stars as new-to-the-force Susan Cooper. Ford assumes that Cooper will be helplessly inept in the field, so he stalks her with professional intent. Always two steps behind, either screwing up or saving the day.

So how does this make Rick Ford the greatest movie spy of all time? Because he’s jumped from a high-rise building using only a raincoat as a parachute and broke both legs upon landing; and still had to pretend he was in a fucking Cirque du Soleil show. Because he’s swallowed enough microchips and shit them back out again to make a computer. Because he had this arm [points to left arm] ripped off completely and re-attached with this fucking arm [points to right arm]. Because he drove a car off a freeway on top of a train while it was on fire. Not the car, he was on fire.

I’m sorry, but has James Bond put the bottle down long enough to do any of that?!

Rick Ford is the kind of agent who’s always there, whether you want him or not. He makes a habit out of doing things that people say he can’t do: walk through fire, waterski blindfolded, take up piano at a late age. Imagine Dos Equis’ mascot – this self-proclaimed “Most Interesting Man In The World” – and add an even greater sense of danger. That’s Rick Ford. Immune to 179 different types of poison, a known fact because Ford ingested them all at once while deep undercover in an underground poison-ingesting crime ring. A man who –

Ok. Sorry. I’m done quoting ridiculous Rick Ford lines from Spy. JUST HURRY UP AND GIVE ME MORE FORD, PAUL FEIG. I DON’T CARE HOW. I NEED TO KNOW IF HE’S EVEN TELLING THE TRUTH.

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