The Archies Is A Wholesome YA Movie That Bollywood Needs More Of

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The Archies was one of the biggest Bollywood movies of 2023. The makers of highly acclaimed Hindi movies like Gully Boy and Dil Dhadakne Do come together for an official Indian adaptation of the popular Archie Comics. Along with that existing brand awareness, was how many famous Bollywood star kids were debuting with the film, in iconic roles. The Archies review, while being completely non-spoiler will touch upon why this movie is a great film set in the Young Adult genre, something that the industry has sorely been lacking. Read on…

The Archies Adapts The Classic Comic Book Characters

Archie Comics
Image via Archie Comics.

Directed by Zoya Akhtar, The Archies is maybe one of the most genuine adaptations of the classic comic book characters I’ve ever seen. And I’m including the hit The CW series Riverdale in that comparison as well. And while Riverdale really went off the rails into territory that almost became entirely original, The Archies faithfully adapts the characters, and some plot points from the comics as well. 

Right away, Akhtar replicates the retro aesthetic vibes of classic Archie Comics in the movie by setting the story in a small Anglo-Indian community in India in the 1960s. This allows Akhtar and her team to even closely match the setting, the locations, costumes and atmosphere of the story with that of the source material. Writers Farhan Akhtar, Ayesha DeVitre and Zoya herself also do a really cool thing in the opening of the movie that completely explains how this Indian movie is inhabited by characters and locations with Western origins, despite being set in India. Which was a question I had before watching the movie. 

A Young Adult Bollywood Movie That Lives Up To Its Genre

The Archies review cast.
Image via Netflix.

The Archies is a movie in the Young Adult genre. It’s a small story about a group of high schoolers, and how their care-free days become much more sombre as their town’s history becomes threatened. As these kids go about their lives worrying about crushes and colleges, a larger conflict puts all their teenage drama into perspective. When their small town is the target for commercialization and development, the local shops, jobs and their very history are at stake. The story focuses on how the kids have to put aside their issues and grow up very fast to preserve their town. And learn the impact they can have on the world around them, despite their youth. 

The Archies Review Is Spoiler-Free 

The Archies review girls.
Image via Netflix.

The story leads off with Archie Andrews (Agastya Nanda), a charming young man in the small town of Riverdale. Archie has friends, a great family, and even his own band. But he desires to leave his small town and explore the world. Partly due to the influence of his love interest Veronica Lodge (Suhana Khan), the well-to-do daughter of the richest man in town, who has just returned from London. Archie’s preoccupation with Veronica at times conflicts with his affection for his friend and neighbour Betty Cooper (Khushi Kapoor). 

The Archies is a lot more than this love triangle, which has a wonderfully wholesome resolution here. Especially compared to the jokey way these confrontations usually ended in the comics, more a punchline than an exploration of hurt feelings and bonds of friendships. And this is where The Archies almost enhances the source material. There are aspects of the original that Akhtar builds on, by pointing out the conflict and then resolving it in a way that’s handled incredibly well. A subplot between Dilton and Reggie Mantle especially has a sweet and heartwarming end. 

The Archies Is Young Adult, With Everything That Comes With It

The Archies review protest.
Image via Netflix.

While The Archies isn’t a dramatic movie with powerful performances dealing with life and death, there is enough here to like. The young cast of very inexperienced actors have enough charm and eagerness to make up for anything they’re lacking in skill. Nanda’s performance ranges from charming to cringey at times, but then again, that’s very much in line with who Archie himself is in the comics. While Suhana Khan is pitch-perfect as a rich spoiled brat who begins to understand the cost of being privileged life. Khushi Kapoor as the literal, girl next door Betty is excellent as well. The friendship between Betty and Veronica is also something that improves upon the source material, again, in a way that is very satisfying and fun to watch. 

The standout from the young cast, at least for me, has to be Vedang Raina as Reggie. While Reggie in the comics was a narcissistic dude-bro jerk, in The Archies, he gets more nuance. He is absolutely the suave and abrasive lady-killer, but there’s also a vulnerability to him that is refreshing to see. Mihir Ahuja as Jughead Jones is perfect in with what he gets to do, which is the voice of reason in Archie’s head, while also being the comic relief. Both Ethel (Aditi Saigal) and Dilton (Yuvraj Menda), very much supporting characters in the comics, both get incredible character arcs for themselves in The Archies. 

The Archies Review Conclusion

Overall, The Archies is a great movie that is not going to be for everyone. Unlike the usual ‘family friendly’, four quadrant Bollywood movie, this is very specifically for a certain kind of audience; young adults. The story isn’t doom and gloom, there aren’t melodramatic speeches or tears or action set pieces with lives in danger. It’s a simple story about young kids who end up dealing with very adult concepts of capitalism and how they can bring change to the world around them. It may not be for audiences expecting more than that. But I definitely recommend the movie to younger Bollywood audiences for whom even the latest Karan Johar rom-com may seem problematic. 

The Archies is now streaming on Netflix. 

What did you think of The Archies? Let me know in the comments below. Or follow me on X (Twitter) @theshahshahid for more reviews and discussions about Bollywood. 

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The Archies Is The Kind Of Wholesome YA Genre That Bollywood Needs More Of
  • Acting - 7/10
    7/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 7/10
    7/10
  • Setting/Theme - 8/10
    8/10
  • Watchability - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Rewatchability - 6/10
    6/10
Overall
7.3/10
7.3/10
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