Spy x Family Code: White review – ingenious espionage antics with special-power family

<span>The dog’s name’s Bond … Spy x Family Code White</span><span>Photograph: PR</span>
The dog’s name’s Bond … Spy x Family Code WhitePhotograph: PR

After a successful TV adaptation, the popular characters of the bestselling manga Spy x Family are ready for their big screen closeups. Directed by Takashi Katagiri from an original story, this highly entertaining film maintains the ingenious blend of espionage escapades and slice-of-life shenanigans that has made the series a smash hit, all while expanding its set pieces to a more spectacular scale. To achieve this delicate balance between comedy, suspense and action thrills is no easy feat and for the most part, the film accomplishes this mission well.

The lovable Forger trio of spy papa Loid, assassin mama Yor, and telepathic daughter Anya, are swiftly reintroduced; this fake family embarks on a hilarious adventure involving an elusive dessert, stolen negatives and a villainous colonel. Brought together by a top-secret assignment, the Forgers must hide their special powers from one another, a conundrum made even more comical by the inclusion of their fluffy pet Bond, a lab dog that has the ability to see the future.

Although modelled after cold war conflicts, any hint of politics is a mere MacGuffin, adding a touch of the pastiche to the film’s universe. From the jazzy score to chic gadgets and disguises, the tactile details are a welcome change from other movies that prioritise action over elegance. Spy × Family Code: White doesn’t always get the balance right; compared with the first half which, like the TV series, sees child-rearing as its own kind of mission impossible, some of the later scenes are bogged down by lengthy showdowns between the Forgers and their foes. The wacky humour, however, re-emerges in a surreal, gorgeously animated daydream dedicated to the god of poop. It is this full-throated commitment to silliness that makes this film, and Spy x Family as a whole, a singularly delightful experience.

• Spy x Family Code: White is in UK cinemas from 26 April, and in Australian cinemas now