The 2019 revamp of “Charlie’s Angels” showcases solidarity between women in a fun, lighthearted way. The film feels like a genuine passing of the baton from the hands of the original television series and early 2000s remakes. The premise of “Charlie’s Angels” remains similar to previous installments: a group of three women fights crime as a part of a private organization owned by a mysterious figure known as Charlie — a voice that is only ever heard over speakerphone. In this most recent iteration, the newest generation of Angels — Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart), Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott) and Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) — works at a private detective agency with a handler who goes by the code name Bosley.
Charlie’s Angels are known for their good looks and their ability to seduce men for imperative information; the opening sequence of the film pays homage to the original’s playbook when Sabina uses her sex appeal to trap a villain.
Watching strong and capable women work together to take down villains with their physical and mental prowess is a rare pleasure in the heavily male-dominated film industry. The film seems to imply that men can be malleable if treated properly. In scenes full of hard-hitting fights, explosions and assault weapons, the women of “Charlie’s Angels” know how to use this to their advantage. Thus, the film leaves behind the aggressive male gaze of the original franchise by asserting a wholly necessary and modern feminist vision.
By updating the ‘70s feminist mantra of “you can have it all,” director Elizabeth Banks portrays the Angels as tough, smart and savvy while still rocking a killer wardrobe. “Charlie’s Angels” focuses on themes of curiosity, courage and teamwork to view its newest generation of secret spies as aspirational figures, not sex objects.
Still, it wouldn’t be a “Charlie’s Angels” adventure without an assortment of high-tech gadgets and a variety of wild costumes for the ladies to wear in undercover assignments. In terms of outfit choices, Banks seems to be heavily invested in what clothing symbolizes when you’re a woman and how its exterior image can be utilized as a means of manipulation.
The film is relentlessly fun and exciting. It may be brisk and inherently aware of its silly features, but the pacing slows down enough to allow the audience to connect to the film’s characters.
The film’s pace winds down by portraying sisterhood as an essential aspect of life, one that unites women as powerful and unstoppable forces of nature. Unfortunately, these empowering messages are ultimately undermined by the film’s content hiccups, especially the clumsy montages of massive action sequences that are choppily edited together. The most notably unnecessary sequence is a montage of girls and women doing awesome things around the globe. The scene feels out of place with the rest of the film and doesn’t add any layers of depth to the plotline. Nonetheless, the girl-power vibe of “Charlie’s Angels” is exhilarating to watch.
In a nutshell, the film seems like a greatest hits collection of action sequences from the past three decades. While not perfect, it is still insanely fun. “Charlie’s Angels” packs strong performances from its leading ladies, as well as plenty of surprises. From a soundtrack produced by Ariana Grande to fitting cameos such as one by heartthrob Noah Centineo playing a love interest, Banks has equipped “Charlie’s Angels” with enough hooks to attract its target demographic. The film harmonizes timely messages of women kicking butt with the franchise’s ever-uplifting depiction of female partnership.
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