Glen Powell and Adria Arjona in a bathrub together in Hit Man
(Netflix)

‘Hit Man’ Is the Right Kind of Rom-Com for 2024

Rom-coms are so back, and we have Glen Powell to thank. Well, with Hit Man, we have Powell and director/co-writer Richard Linklater. The new Netflix movie really brings a change to the genre that will leave you screaming the entire time. You won’t regret it.

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Gary Johnson (Powell) is a psychology professor as well as a man who moonlights for the New Orleans police department. When Jasper (Austin Amelio) can no longer play their undercover “hit man” persona, Gary is forced to step in, and thus begins the Gary Johnson school of theatrical undercover work. Through a series of performances, we get to see as Gary comes into his own as a fake hit man, and the rest is history.

Hit Man, as a film, would have been interesting even if it had not been a romantic comedy. Just a movie about a real-life man who tricked people into admitting to premeditated murder? Fascinating! But where Linklater and Powell found the magic of this story is in the love between Gary and Madison (Adria Arjona). In the true story, Madison doesn’t exist. In fact, there is a note at the end of the movie that they “made up” a specific turning point of the film because … well, it’s a movie.

The love story is really what makes Hit Man stand apart. We’ve seen viral news stories turned into movies, and for the most part, they’re fine. Hit Man elevates the idea, and it all boils down to the chemistry between Arjona and Powell. Without them working together, this movie wouldn’t have kept me nearly as invested as I was. And yet somehow, I found myself screaming at multiple points. This is, for all intents and purposes, the kind of rom-com I want to see.

Just two people, matching each other’s freak level

Glen Powell and Adria Arjona dancing in Hit Man
(Netflix)

From the jump, Gary and Madison’s relationship is built on an absolutely baffling premise: Madison wants to have her ex-husband killed, and Gary, posing as a hit man named “Ron,” talks her out of it. Then “Ron” and Madison start dating, and the rest is history. Gary has to keep pretending to be a hit man within their relationship, and Madison really seems to like that her new boyfriend murders for a living, and if that’s not the kind of freak-level that deserves each other, I don’t know what is.

Throughout the film, there are little nods to how Gary prepares for cases, one being someone who clearly loves the film American Psycho, and I was gifted with a perfect Patrick Bateman (a.k.a. Christian Bale) impression from Glen Powell. But seeing how Powell shifts from Gary to Ron and how the two begin to merge into one man is what makes Hit Man special.

To be honest, everything about Hit Man has me wanting to see it again. The little nuances, the way that Linklater films this as both a romantic comedy and a detective story, and Powell’s ability to switch between Gary and all the hit men he takes on make this one of the best movies of the year. And yes, I could watch Powell and Arjona being in love for the rest of my life.


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.