The Archies Review – An excessive and overlong musical

By Adam Lock
Published: December 7, 2023
The Archies Review
The Archies | Image via Netflix


The Archies is a multilingual musical teen romantic comedy addressing political ideas and coming-of-age concerns. It’s overstuffed and overlong, and a little too cheesy to be seen as charming. The musical numbers can be vibrant and entertaining at times, but the plotting is far too simplistic and predictable to be engaging.

The Archie Comics have been adapted into a handful of surprisingly successful TV shows over the years, with Riverdale and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina both finding a home and an audience at Netflix. But the franchise hasn’t really made a name for itself on the big screen just yet. Netflix hopes to turn the tide this December with this sixties-set Hindi teen musical, The Archies.

The Netflix original film tries to offer a fresh and unique take on the much-loved franchise, mainly with its left-field location and odd genre choices. Unfortunately, this ambitious setup ends up turning into an over-stuffed and overly long musical instead. The Archies has its moments and is likely to divide critics this winter, but it can be quite a slog at times.

The Archies review and plot summary

The Archies centers on a gang of 17-year-olds who live in Riverdale, India. This gang of happy-go-lucky, starry-eyed students is led by the suave singer and cocky womanizer Archie Andrews (Agastya Nanda), who plans on hooking up with the two most popular girls in town before he departs for London.

See, Archie has the hots for best friends Betty Cooper (Khushi Kapoor) and Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Lodge (Suhana Khan), two teenagers from entirely different walks of life. Betty helps out at her father’s struggling bookstore, whilst Veronica is the spoilt daughter of a rich businessman, Mr Lodge. As the film progresses, Archie starts to two-time both of these besties, dating both at once.

The gang is rounded out by the comics’ regulars: Jughead, Reggie, Ethel, Moose, and Dilton. All of these secondary characters are given their very own subplots, character arcs, and a chance to shine. This in itself is one of the major downfalls of the movie, going someway to explain the film’s hefty runtime. The Archies somehow clocks in at a whopping 2 hours 21 minutes and you feel every second of it.

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The film’s simplistic storyline revolves around Mr Lodge’s plans to build an extravagant hotel in the town’s beloved Green Park. Mr Lodge manipulates the Town Council to win the necessary votes and then he spends the rest of his time buying up the local shops in the town square for his other business venture. With so much change going on in Riverdale, the teens decide to make a stand, hoping to save Green Park and stop the construction plans from going ahead.

The Archies weaves these basic, political ideas into your standard teen rom-com, dotting every other scene with an inoffensive musical number. The music is quite catchy at times but again suffers from excess. There are far too many songs, with only a couple of standout bangers on the soundtrack. The choreography is fun and the cinematography is vibrant, which is effective early on. Yet this too becomes a tad repetitive over time.

And the same goes for the rather wooden narrative. Characters reiterate the same, tired speeches over and over again, broadcasting their emotions and motives in a terribly simplistic manner. The main players go through many ups and downs throughout the film and their problems are always resolved quickly and efficiently, draining all of the film’s tension and drama in the process.

Is The Archies worth watching?

The Archies is a total misfire hindered by unwarranted excess. The runtime is far too long. There are far too many songs, subplots, genres, and characters crammed into the film’s 141 minutes. This movie is in serious need of some editing. And yet even if those changes were to be made, the storytelling still leaves a lot to be desired.

Light on subtlety, The Archies is an unfortunate byproduct of its time, mixing multiple genres and subplots to keep the audience’s constant engagement. If you are losing interest, well hey, they’ll throw in another musical number to drag you right back in. This may work well as background noise or easy viewing, but just like a few hours spent scrolling through social media, it is easily forgotten about afterward.

What did you think of The Archies? Comment below.

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