Tuesday 31 March 2020

Charlie's Angels (2019)

I watched Charlie's Angels some time ago, when it was first released in cinemas. And I kept delaying my attempts to review the film. I knew that I'd enjoyed it more than I expected to, but I also struggled to write down my problems with it. So I waited, and waited. And waited. I waited so long that I ended up having to rewatch the film recently. I'm glad that is the way things worked out, because it turns out that most of my problems with this take on the classic trio of kick-ass young women aren't enough to stop me from recommending this, especially to the target viewers demographic.

Naomi Scott plays Elena Houghlin, a young woman who has created a device that could potentially replace the need for any major wiring and national grid. It can supply electrical power to a whole building, at the very least. Unfortunately, it can also misfire, killing anyone nearby with the human equivalent of an EMP. But people still want the device to be sold, which puts Elena in danger, and that is how she ends up under the protection of Charlie's Angels, mainly Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart), Jane Kano (Ella Balinska), and one of the main Bosleys (Elizabeth Banks). They all know what has to be done, but it soon starts to seem as if someone on the side of the baddies is getting some inside information.

As well as giving herself a major supporting role, Banks also wrote (Evan Spiliotopoulos and David Auburn get a story credit) and directed this incarnation of Charlie's Angels. That means that she got all the blame when it didn't perform as expected. Although I know not everyone will enjoy this as much as I did, I think it's a shame that people decided not to give it their time, and I think it mainly stems from the fact that a) people still don't really want to see Kristen Stewart in movies, and b) the recent movie versions of the Angels doesn't seem that long ago. Hey, that doesn't matter for Superman, or Batman, or Spider-man, I know, I know. I hear you. I just think it worked against this film more.

Speaking of Kristen Stewart, let's keep . . . speaking of Kristen Stewart. She's great fun in this, showing a decent flair for the mix of physicality and comedy given to her character. I was laughing aloud during the first main sequence, which has Stewart yelling out "you swiped right, I'm your girlfriend now" before headbutting a villain, and I was often smiling, at the very least, whenever she was onscreen, either being slightly behind everyone else as plans unfolded or acting dumb to put people off guard. The other leads work just as well in their roles. Scott is the newcomer, the one who can be shown everything along with the viewers, learning all about how the agency works, and how far-reaching they can be. Balinska is impressively fierce, and her working relationship with Stewart improves every time she sees her colleague get results, or at least try her hardest in her attempts. Banks is a good Bosley, Djimon Hounsou is another good Bosley, although hid role is a much smaller one, and Patrick Stewart is his usual wonderful self as a Bosley shown just at his time of retiring from the agency. Sam Claflin is the kind of businessman you know will want everything to go his way without him having to get his hands dirty, and Jonathan Tucker is excellent as the kind of tough "employee' always willing to get his hands dirty. There are also a number of familiar faces in smaller roles, and a selection of nice cameos (mostly throughout the end credits, which are at least worth sitting through once).

Banks has nothing to be ashamed of here. The film isn't perfect, mainly because it leans so hard into the idea of the Angels network being available everywhere, when needed most, but it's absolutely ideal for those who want to see an action thriller, with some comedy sprinkled throughout, that showcases young women who can take on their enemies with a mix of brains and fighting prowess. The action sequences are the best choreographed ones yet, for this particular brand, and things move breezily from one set-piece to the next, en route to an energetic ending that keeps the stakes high.

If you don't like the idea of another Charlie's Angels movie then I am not going to try to convince you that you should give this your time. You may still end up hating it, could think my rating and review too kind, and just be annoyed at me once you've given it your time. I will just say that it's better than the general consensus would have you think. And you MIGHT, just might, end up having as much fun watching it as I did.


You can buy the movie here.
Americans can buy it here.


  1. I was looking forward to this one but ended up missing it in the theaters. You have given me a good reason to check it out on video. Thanks!

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