Wingwomen (2023) has so much promise and I thoroughly enjoy many parts of it. But it is difficult to look away from its glaring issues in terms of storytelling—especially a questionable, basic, and boring ending to what is supposed to be a thrilling and heart–warming action spectacular. 

The film, directed by Melanie Laurent, follows a newly pregnant Carole (also Melanie Laurent) as she begins to question her line of work as a thief. Alongside her younger sidekick, Alex (Adèle Exarchopoulos), and a recruited Formula 1 driver, Sam (Manon Bresch), the trio embark on one last heist before leaving the business forever. The question remains though: will they be able to escape crime while their boss, Marraine (Isabella Adjani), remains directly on their tail?

Melanie Laurent’s seventh directed feature film succeeds most when it employs its bright, perfectly choreographed action sequences or fronts the character of Alex. It’s even thrilling and fun when it is able to relish in its own stupidity and corniness. It is okay for a movie to embrace a playful, non–serious attitude as long as it can also follow through while maintaining continuity and an interesting story. 

Past the first act of the film, it isn’t hard to see that the stakes of this story aren’t engaging. Certain seemingly–important pieces of information are abandoned suddenly or made trivial. I was originally made to think that it would be a John Wicktype revenge drama, but it quickly turned into a heist movie—the likes of Charlie’s Angels mixed with 6 Underground. Some of this appears to be done in the name of aesthetics—prioritizing flashy action sequences—but other times, it seems to be the fault of poor writing and structure. 

A lot of this comes down to the film’s ending. My outlook on the structure would have been a lot less critical had the ending not let me down the way it did. For the sake of avoiding spoilers, I’ll keep from disclosing the details of said ending, though the complete neglect of any plausible follow–through from the climax, solely for the purpose of preserving a happy ending, is deeply troubling. After building up complex characters and a dramatic third act (with engaging consequential implications), almost every thread of the story is undone in the last five minutes. This does a disservice to not only the wonderful technical aspects of the film but also the important characterization that unravels during the climax. In this regard, the character of Alex is done the dirtiest.

Exarchopoulos gives a phenomenal performance as Alex and the character is easily the most well–rounded and developed out of the bunch. In terms of modern–age, feminist nuance, Alex is pretty much it for the entire showing. She is abrasive but likable, strong but emotional, hardcore but funny. And seeing who she becomes by the third act is the film’s largest pay–off. Though the audience expects to see this development expand and continue into the resolution, it is quickly overshadowed and almost reversed by the weak final reveal.

Despite inadequate writing, disappointing structure, and a most frustrating ending, Wingwomen still has multiple things to praise. Most of the characters are truly delightful and genuinely funny, though not all can be as stellar as Exarchopoulos’s Alex. The direction by Laurent is exciting and nicely–paced, for the most part. The production design, framing, and color palette that the film employs are unique and assist in making the film pop. There is one action sequence in particular (which includes a threesome, roller skates and the bright lights of a firework show) that is the most entertaining action sequence I’ve seen all year. Yet, unfortunately, these moments don’t save the movie from disappointment. I’d like to think that if only it hadn’t been released on Netflix, it might have been able to avoid the all–too–common curse of the formulaic and poorly–written action–comedy.