3:30 pm EDT, August 23, 2019

‘Angel Has Fallen’ movie review: Mike Banning is my kind of action hero

There’s a reason why Olympus Has Fallen became a series and White House Down didn’t. Mike. Fucking. Banning. And he’s on his most desperate mission yet in Angel Has Fallen.

Before I even begin to get into reviewing this movie, I need to say this: I love these movies. No one’s going to convince me that they’re garbage. I have loved Mike Banning and his cowboy, textbook action movie heroics since I first saw Olympus Has Fallen, and I will not apologize.

In a world where people are always complaining about there being too many remakes and adaptations and comic book movies and not enough original filmmaking, the Fallen series has never let me down. Olympus Has Fallen trashed the White House in epic fashion, London Has Fallen took Banning off his home turf for some explosive adventures, and Angel Has Fallen has provided the ultimate swan song for the best Secret Service agent in the biz.

Honestly, I think Angel Has Fallen is the best the series has ever been. Not only were they able to build a believable narrative in which Mike Banning could betray his president and his country, but they did so without sacrificing a lick of the comedic relief we’ve come to love about these movies. The end credits sequence is the perfect finishing touch, especially if they never return to this series again. (But if they do, I will absolutely be there on opening night.)

But, yeah, this movie burns bright from start to finish. There’s hardly a dull moment as Banning moves from his job, to escaping his captors, to evading everyone who tries to track him down on the run, to breaking into the most secure place in the country, to convincing an old ally that he is on his side, and, finally to helping a friend regain his sense of lionhood.

I don’t know if there are more Fallen movies coming down the pike. Hell, I didn’t even realize they were doing this one until it was well into production. But I will always show up for Mike Banning and his brand of heroics. He’s definitely the best of us, in all the best ways.

Action movies, once the explosions are done, have a tendency to employ some very particular kinds of score as they wrap up all the loose plot threads. I felt it refreshing that Angel Has Fallen avoided that trap a bit. I can’t say there was no score for any of the closing scenes, but one or two in particular stood out to me as being remarkably silent — especially as Morgan Freeman is laying into a high-level government nitwit who thought he could take down Mike Banning. Idiot.

So, consider this my solemn thank you to Gerard Butler and everyone who’s been involved in bringing this series to life. In a time when it’s not always clear that the bad guys will eventually lose in reality, I find great comfort in watching them go down time and time again on screen. And it doesn’t matter whether the perpetrators are foreign or domestic, Mike Banning will always be there to keep his President alive. No matter what.

Angel Has Fallen is playing now in theaters nationwide. Enjoy the ride!

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