There could be a great female spy movie franchise waiting to happen, but Simon Kinberg's new thriller The 355, sadly, isn't the start of one.
Jessica Chastain plays an American secret agent who must team up with other female international operatives (Diane Kruger, Lupita Nyong'o, Fan Bingbing), as well as an endangered therapist (Penelope Cruz), to stop a decryption drive from falling into the wrong hands. If the bad guys get it, they can use it to do things like crash airplanes, destroy power grids, etc. (sort of like the MacGuffin from the far superior 1992 film Sneakers).
Action movies depend on having strong villains. Even if the audience knows the hero/heroine will likely win, they have to feel as if the villain is too strong/smart to defeat. But The 355's baddies are bland, dull non-entities. It never feels as if the heroines are up against impossible odds. The staging of the action scenes is also largely forgettable and the outcomes seem like a formality. Of the cast, Kruger acquits herself the best as the German operative.