‘Hit Man’ Review: Should You Watch Glen Powell’s New Movie on Netflix?

Richard Linklater made his return to Netflix but should you give it a watch?

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Hitman

Hit Man – Cr. Brian Roedel/Netflix © 2024

Acquired by Netflix after a strong debut on the 2023 film festival circuit, Hit Man strikes at the perfect time for burgeoning leading man Glen Powell. After taking to the skies with Tom Cruise in 2022’s blockbuster smash Top Gun: Maverick, Powell’s stock has continued to rise in the past two years with his roles in the Korean War film Devotion and, of course, his major breakout role opposite Sydney Sweeney in the romantic comedy Anyone But You.

The latter film really connected with audiences as it took in nearly 220 million dollars at the worldwide box office and became a staple of the Netflix Top 10 upon its streaming release on the platform. With a major summer theatrical release in Twisters coming in mid-July, Powell drops a crime-based comedy in Hit Man to satisfy his audience who seemingly just can’t get enough.
Co-written by Powell along with the prolific, Oscar-nominated director Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise, School of Rock), the film adapts the 2001 Texas Monthly magazine article of the same name by Skip Hollandsworth that profiled the real-life story of Houston-based college professor Gary Johnson, a man who posed as a professional killer and worked with the local police department to take down his would-be clients.

In this iteration of the story, the setting has changed to New Orleans as philosophy professor Gary (Powell) helps out as part of the technical staff on sting operations for the local police. However, when the regular undercover officer Jasper (Austin Amelio) doesn’t show up, Gary is called upon to step in and pose as a prominent hitman in the area to arrest those trying to hire him.

Using his philosophy background and experience with law enforcement, Gary discovers that not only does he have the skills to pull it off, but he also has the talent and know-how to theatrically match the expectations of his “clients,” often with costumes, makeup, and accents.

However, while undercover as the charming, composed, yet deadly hitman “Ron”, Gary encounters Maddy (6 Underground’s Adria Arjona), a woman seeking to escape from her abusive relationship with her husband Ray (Evan Holtzman); empathizing with her story and developing feelings for her, Gary advises her to seek out better options instead of taking her down and the two soon become romantically involved.

Just as their courtship starts to truly blossom, the police inform Gary that Maddy’s soon-to-be ex-husband Ray has been found dead, and Maddy is the prime suspect. Torn between his obligation to his police colleagues and his love for Maddy, Gary must find out the truth and do what he thinks is right.

Hit Man Netflix June 2024

Picture: Netflix

While the movie is not flawless in its plot construction or pace, not a soul who came for its stars or the resurgence of the crime comedy genre will care. Powell & Arjona ooze sex appeal and lead a charm offensive that would take down the ‘85 Bears defense. The film comfortably blends wish fulfillment, meditations on identity, & exposing the underbelly of society in a package of silliness, raw magnetism, & charisma.

While Powell & Arjona steal the show, it has to be stated that this is an odd choice that strangely works for co-writer/director Richard Linklater. Delighting in character-driven sight gags with an undeniable star at the center of the frame hasn’t really been seen much from Linklater since unleashing Jack Black on us in full force with School of Rock almost 2 decades ago. One could definitely imagine that the more sophisticated & thought-provoking moral/philosophical themes added to a more straightforward genre could be the added flavor of an artist who made the “Before” trilogy & Boyhood.

Hit Man Coming To Netflix In June 2024

Hit Man. Glen Powell as Gary Johnson in Hit Man. Cr. Matt Lankes / Netflix © 2024

Hit Man openly shows that it was acquired by a major studio but not made by one. Its unique form takes the shape of the personality of its creators without the zip & pop sensations of a studio-noted bounce.

The only thing that could potentially push audiences away from completely embracing the film is the increasingly dark tone that culminates in a more divisive conclusion. Battles of Id and Superego come to a sharp head that may surprise its viewer after riding with sexy montages indulging all of our senses for most of its runtime. While this viewer found it jarring at first, it’s hard to see a different conclusion that would satisfy our feelings for our leads and not take us in a far more drawn out & less comedic finale.

Overall, Hit Man is a surefire win for Powell, Linklater, & Netflix. Laughs, sex appeal, a little philosophical debate, & a darkly playful moral quandary make the film intriguing all the way through. While the ending may feel a bit too breezy or divisive considering the subject matter, the talented cast & creators will help you smile through the potential unease. It’s Powell & Arjona at their absolute best with Linklater doing his most entertaining work since Everybody Wants Some!.


Watch Hit Man If You Like

  • Grosse Pointe Blank
  • Fletch
  • Out of Sight
  • Where’d You Go
  • Bernadette
  • Anyone But You

MVP of Hit Man

Hit Man Netflix Movie Coming In June 2024

Glen Powell

While his stock has been on a meteoric rise, Glen Powell hasn’t truly got to do one thing: make HIS movie.

With co-writing, producing, & starring in Hit Man, Powell has officially done just that. Better, he’s done it with a critically-accepted festival darling that will blast him out to a massive Netflix audience.

And boy is he having fun doing it. Costumes, accents, wigs, and the biggest smile on his face throughout. Toss in incredible chemistry with his love interest Adria Arjona and so much sex appeal that co-star Retta exclaimed “I’d pull out my IUD for Ron!”

Action star. Rom-com heartthrob. Now, credible comedy lead. The sky’s the limit for Powell’s incredibly bright future.

4/5Good
★★★★☆

Hit Man proves “Any Powell is Good Powell”. A star on the rise meets a script full of charm, humor, & intrigue that shows off all of his talents.

Written by

Andrew Morgan is a film critic & podcaster with 20 years of experience on the sets & offices of film & television. Current podcast host of the entertainment review show, Recent Activity. He lives in the Northeast of the United States.