Being Women

Beyond The Hype, Nepotism and Nostalgia: A Fan’s Unfiltered Review on ‘The Archies’

Netflix recently dropped its adaptation of the hugely promising Archies comic. Since its release, it has been the target of hate and total disregard by the general public. I gathered the courage to watch because I have been an ardent fan of comics since my childhood.
Directed byZoya Akhtar
Written byAyesha Devitre Dhillon Reema Kagti Zoya Akhtar Farhan Akhtar (dialogues)
Based onCharacters by Archie Comics
Produced byZoya Akhtar Reema Kagti Sharad Devarajan Jon Goldwater
StarringAgastya Nanda
Khushi Kapoor
Suhana Khan
Vedang Raina
Mihir Ahuja
Aditi “Dot” Saigal
Yuvraj Menda

Beyond the Nepotism Debate

Netflix recently dropped its adaptation of the hugely promising Archies comic. The movie was embroiled in the nepotism debate as soon as its cast, which boasted Suhana Khan, Khushi Kapoor, and Agastya Nanda, among others, were announced. Since its release, it has been the target of hate and total disregard by the general public.

I gathered the courage to watch because I have been an ardent fan of comics since my childhood, hoping to be hugely disappointed going by the negative reviews on my feed. As it turned out, I am in the minority, as usual. I might not be singing paeons of the movie, but I enjoyed it. That is not too put off, as all my Facebook friends seem to be.

Portrayal of the much-loved characters

I loved Vedang Raina as Reggie. But even in my childhood, I admired that character. I was never one for bumbling, good-hearted average kids. No, give me a snark. So Jughead is my favorite. Reggie comes in second. He is shown to be an achiever in the comic books, too. Good in studies and sports. Probably debate too. Don’t remember that. It seems the writer concurs with my views regarding Reggie. Thus, he has the meatiest role in the movie, and he does full justice to it. With not much meanness thrown in.

Archie is true to the comics. Sweet, undecided, and bumbling. However, what worked thirty years ago doesn’t now. And that is why many are flagging his behavior. Betty and Veronica are portrayed well. Their friendship, which flourishes despite their rivalry, is portrayed well on the screen. Jughead, Dilton, Moose, Ethel, Midge, and Smithers all get a worthy mention.

No Weatherbee, No Grundy….

I felt the seniors got left with the short end of the stick. No Mr.Weatherbee ruing the latest ruckus of the Archies. Or Ms.Grundy silencing the whole class with just a well-placed observation. Other than being the cue for the Politics song, which I adored. Kids need to learn to take a stand instead of continuing the ‘I am not bothered by what is happening in the country’ stance.

Pop Tate’s cafe was ditched for Green Park which is a smart decision, I should say. But the worst was reserved for Mr. Lodge who is quite caring and loving in the comics, not a ruthless businessman whose daughter has to go through his PA to talk to him. He is guilty of being absent though. 

Depiction of friendship and love

I also liked that the movie was not totally about the love triangle that Betty, Archie, and Veronica find themselves in. And the resolution of the whole drama was hilarious. It would have been much better if Betty and Ronnie had ended up together to bring in inclusivity instead of showing Dilton as a gay person. It strengthens the notion that all kinds of differences can be clumped together. That is, ‘If he is a geeky nerd, he will be gay!’

The remixed version

My biggest grudge is the character assassination of Jughead. Instead of the shivering and snivelling Jug in the movie, he is the smartest of the lot and is hardly scared of Veronica. Instead, she is the one who avoids a head-to-head with Jug. She is a smart girl.

Ethel has got too much screen time, but that girl acted much better than the lead pair of Suhana and Khushi. The two of them seemed scared to even move their lips and thus ended up speaking like a ventriloquist’s dummy. However, in my opinion, they did justice to their roles, with Khushi sighing. and singing lovelorn songs, and Suhana going through a complete character arc to be able to confront her father for his ambitions.

Notable mentions

Aly Khan as the villain of the story is impactful. Reggie’s father, Archie’s father, and the mothers are good. However, the elders in the movie who are not there in the comics are fun, especially the evil councilman Dawson. I just loved the smirking evilness of Vinay Pathak. Councilman Gomes, who saves the day, is great too.

Focus on issues

The Archies’ does a good job of throwing light on a variety of issues, including climate responsibility vs.Corporate greed is the most important. It also shows the conflict between a parent and child where the choice of profession and the desire of a child to leave home come into the picture. It makes a half-hearted attempt at inclusion, which, however, falls flat as it diverges too much from the original and seems like a thought thrown in at the last minute. 


Other than ‘Politics,’ there aren’t many memorable songs. For a musical that has to break into a song every five minutes, it proved a bit disappointing. Va Va Voom was good, and Plum Pudding does a good job of portraying the Anglo-Indian culture. Suhana delights with her skates and her dance moves.

Costumes and set

‘The costumes were on point for the period and the society. It felt like the characters had jumped from the comic books to our screens with flared frocks, sheath dresses, Archies pants, and Betty’s sweaters. The set was full of nostalgia with the European-style buildings in pastel shades and bright dresses, and particular care was given to little details like lace doilies and vintage wallpapers to bring in a feel of authenticity.

Notable lines from the movie

The best line from the movie:
– The grass is not greener on the other side. 
– It is green where you water it. 


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