On The Wings Of New Angels: A Review Of 'Charlie’s Angels'
‘Charlie’s Angels’ (2019) is a savvy blend of comedy and action that knows it shouldn’t take itself too seriously—but executing the balancing act does have its price
It would seem that Hollywood believes every generation needs its own set of Charlie’s Angels. First we had the 1976 TV series, followed by the 2000 film that ran on the star power of Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu, who were all at the prime of their careers when the film dropped.
And now, in 2019, we get an Elizabeth Banks-directed reboot that tries its hardest to fit in a #MeToo environment—hence, the somewhat irrelevant woman empowerment montage that follows the opening sequence, and precedes the title credit. Good intention, but somehow doesn’t connect with the rest of the film.
Having said that, Banks certainly does her best, and earns every single penny, by multitasking as screenplay-writer and acting as one of the Bosleys. In this reboot, Townsend Agency has gone global and there are several Bosleys heading each country’s Angels. Several have been recruited; but our focus are on Angels Sabina (Kristen Stewart) and Jane (the statuesque Ella Balinska).
The potential new recruit is Elena (Naomi Scott), a whistle-blowing systems engineer, whose concern on the safety of the cutting-edge power technology the company she works for is developing, leads her to approach the Bosley in her country. The main Bosley (portrayed by Patrick Stewart) is retired at the film’s start, and this plays into the story’s development in a big way. That’s about all the plot you need to know, as the film runs on the power of this one-strand narrative of who is after said technology, which can be weaponized, and whether the Angels can keep the world safe.
The two who seem to be having all the fun, and got the memo about the film’s tonality are the two Stewarts—Kristen and Sir Patrick. Kristen plays it nonchalant and quippy, providing much of the film’s humor and tongue in cheek comedy. As for Sir Patrick, in a much needed departure from playing the likes of Professor Xavier (X-Men film franchise) and Picard (the Star Trek franchise), he goes for a flippant, sarcastic Bosley in the latter half of the film, obviously having a lot of fun.
The other two Angels, strangely enough, both hail from England. Balinska carries a lot of the action scenes, and the fact that she’s fashion model-tall adds to the impressive manner in which she executes these scenes. We last saw Naomi Scott earlier in the year as the feisty Jasmine in the live-action Aladdin. Technically, she’s a non-Angel here, and it’s through her eyes that we see the world of Angels.
The film is pure popcorn and enjoyable on that basis. Banks seems to be trying too hard to play a balancing act between comedy and action. As a result, neither element really gets to shine. We'll see if these Angels return for a sequel and turn this into a new film franchise.
Charlie's Angels is currently in theaters nationwide.