They just don't make movies like Glen Powell and Richard Linklater's Hit Man (out in theaters on May 24 and Netflix on June 7). Both are uber-talented in their respective fields. Together, they made a masterpiece.

Maybe not as profound as Richard Linklater's Before trilogy or as revolutionary as Dazed and Confused, Hit Man soars because movies like this aren't made anymore. It's not afraid to be fun and also have something to say about self-identity.

Hit Man review

Adria Arjona, Glen Powell.
A still from Hit Man courtesy of Netflix.

Gary Johnson (Glen Powell) lives a life as harmless as his name suggests — even his Goodfellas-like voiceover acknowledges his mundane life. He's a college professor who falls somewhere in between Indiana Jones and Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting. His students mock him for preaching to “live life on their own terms” as he drives a Honda Civic.

Little do they know that in his off hours, he is a part-time staff member of the New Orleans Police Department. After one of the team members, Jasper (Austin Amelio), gets suspended, Gary lands the role of posing as an experienced hitman. He goads those who try to hire him into being arrested.

Turns out, he's pretty good at it. Gary preys on the others' insecurities over the matter and plays offense, not allowing them to overthink his legitimacy.

Richard Linklater has always had a knack for dialogue-heavy scenes (just see Before Sunrise), but Powell's charisma propels the first scene where Gary is a hitman to new heights.

As a fake hitman, Gary racks up dozens of bodies (Hit Man features a fun compilation of the dozens of faces he arrests, posing as a different man for each).

A tangled web

Everything changes when he encounters Maddy Masters (Adria Arjona), a woman stuck in a manipulative relationship.

He somehow gets her to step off the proverbial ledge and she opts against ordering a hit on her husband, Ray (Evan Holtzman). That doesn't stop their encounters, though, as Maddy falls for the hitman, Ron.

Gary, as Ron, then has to balance his two lives. Of course, it'd be unprofessional to have a relationship with someone you nearly got arrested. But Ray begins entering the picture and both Gary and Maddy are in for a wild ride.

A superhero's responsibility

Hit Man deals with the classic superhero — how does Gary balance real life and fantasy? Maddy loves Ron, after all, and has no idea who Gary is (and would she even like him?). Gary begins practicing what he preaches: living life on his own terms.

But such a balancing act can only be maintained for so long. As the house of cards starts toppling, Hit Man only kicks into another gear.

This creates an even more interesting dynamic that Hit Man explores. Maddy doesn't think that Ron is capable of killing, while he knows she's at least capable of ordering someone to be killed. This becomes very prevalent as the film goes on. By the end of it, it's clear that they are meant for each other.

You'd think a movie like Hit Man would lose steam once the jig is up. Linklater and Powell, who co-wrote the script together, found a way to only intensify it.

Glen Powell, leading man

In an outdated cliché, Hit Man attempts to pose Gary, aka Powell, as an ugly, impotent man. Gary dons greasy, slicked-back hair and dull button-down shirts whereas his various aliases go from hippy, to hillbilly, to everything in between.

It's as if they want Gary to be an NPC in his own life. And yet, Powell's charisma still breaks through the screen.

His star power as a leading man hasn't been in question since Top Gun: Maverick, but Hit Man further solidifies it. He has both the charm and easy-going nature of Matthew McConaughey. It almost goes without saying that Powell's performance in Hit Man far succeeds his in Maverick and Anyone But You.

Adria Arjona is the perfect dance partner for Powell in the movie. There are layers to Maddy that begin peeling as she gets close to Ron. While she did star in Andor, hopefully, Arjona gets her deserved big break soon as well thanks to Hit Man.

Rounding out the cast are Austin Amelio, Retta, and Sanjay Rao. Amelio delivers the best performance of the bunch as the most corrupt of the bunch. Retta and Rao are largely there for comic relief but succeed in that.

Should you watch Hit Man?

Glen Powell, Adria Arjona.
A still from Hit Man courtesy of Netflix.

There aren't many movies like Hit Man these days. Netflix finally has a movie that they can hang their hat on. The streaming service can keep their Gray Mans and Red Notices on the shelf if it means more movies like Hit Man.

It has been a while since Richard Linklater has hit like this. I guess adding Glen Powell to the mix brought the very best out of the Boyhood director.

Grade: A

Hit Man will be released in theaters on May 24 and Netflix on June 7.