Mike Banning returns in Angel Has Fallen (2019), but what does the title of the film actually mean?
Angel Has Fallen is the third installment in the Fallen series, which began in 2013 with Olympus Has Fallen, followed by London Has Fallen in 2016. The series follows United States Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) and his efforts to keep President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) safe from various threats. Or, in the case of the second film, keep all world leaders safe.
According to Screenrant.com, the series hasn’t done well with critics, who have mostly pointed out its lack of creativity and use of clichés, but praised Antoine Fuqua’s direction in the first film and the cast performances in both. However, they did pretty well at the box office, which was more than enough for a third film to be green-lit. Angel Has Fallen follows the same general plot of the previous films, but with one twist teased in the title, which can cause a bit of confusion.
Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen have pretty self-explanatory titles: the first one was about the White House, as “Olympus” is the secret service’s code for it, and the second one referred to the setting of the story, as all world leaders were supposed to gather in London for the Prime Minister’s funeral. Angel Has Fallen is also a very direct title, but it can be misleading at the same time. Most people believe it’s a reference to the official aircraft of the President, the Air Force One, as it’s sometimes called “Angel”, but it’s actually about Banning himself, as he is the President’s “guardian angel”.
Banning will face a much bigger issue than before in Angel Has Fallen as he is being framed for an assassination attempt on newly-elected President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman). With his own agency and the FBI going after him, Banning will now be in a race against the clock to prove his innocence and find who the real terrorist is (and if they have any more targets). That way, the title is a reference to Banning’s situation as suspect and fugitive, and not so much about the Air Force One.
Aaron Eckhart’s absence from Angel Has Fallen and Morgan Freeman’s character becoming President are not the biggest changes in the series, but how Banning is now the primary target instead of the President (who is still in danger, but Banning’s situation is top priority this time). Whatever the future holds for Angel Has Fallen in terms of critical reception and box office numbers, at least they were a bit more creative with the title while keeping the essence of the series.