- Katie Bell
Charlie's Angels - 2019
Updated: Apr 26, 2020
Good-morning/afternoon/day/evening/morrow, Angels! ....And also everyone else who is reading this review.
This reboot of Charlie's Angels, makes some really nice and very relevant changes to Charlie's classic agency. First of all, as of 2019 (or sometime between 2003, and 2019) the agency has expanded to include more than four employees. I definitely do not have a business degree, but I feel like this is a move Charlie should have made years ago. There are more angels, more Bosleys and it makes way more sense. Additionally, I like that the angels that we get in this film aren't utopian best friends forever. They are employees of a spy agency who are told by their boss to work together on a mission. They don't hate each other. They don't love each other. Their relationship grows throughout the film and it feels more like a normal workplace...if that's something that can be said about an agency for lady spies...
In terms of performances, I want to give a massive shout out to the Stewarts. And yes, I know that they technically aren't related. But honestly, Kristen Stewart and Patrick Stewart deliver the best performances in this film. Kristen owns her character from the first second and her angel, Sabina Wilson, is probably the main reason I'd invest in seeing a sequel. Patrick Stewart...is awesome...I mean, do I have to explain why?
I do have to explain why I think the producers needed to invest more money in this film though (neat segue, right?). First off, I know this thing was written and directed by Elizabeth Banks, but I really wanted them to invest a little more in the writers. There are some neat throwbacks to earlier versions of Charlie's Angels, but one of the villains (don't worry, not a spoiler, established in the opening shot), is named Jonny Smith. I mean sure, it isn't the classic spelling, but it's still Jonny Smith. Obviously, the casting department was well funded though, because Jonny Smith is played by Australian actor, Chris Pang (Yay! Australia!). The other place where money was desperately needed was the make-up department. Yes, the eyeshadow is always on point, as are the perfectly contoured cheeks of every angel. However, I saw these women get shot, crash vehicles, fall onto beds of rocks, have more rocks fall on them and get blasted by explosions. I will admit that one of the car accidents causes some kind of damage to a shoulder, but other than that I witnessed ONE SMALL SCRATCH. I don't care that they are wearing protective vests, unless you're Luke Cage, your arms probably bleed/bruise....even a little dirt on their faces after the explosion would be nice. I'm assuming they ran out of funds, because I know that angels aren't impervious to dirt (as evidenced in Exhibits A & B).
When I went to see Zombieland: Double Tap a few weeks ago, the lady in the Columbia Pictures' logo came to life at the beginning of the movie and took out some zombies. I assumed that this film would begin in a similar ilk, being another Columbia film. However, no animation occurred. I was confused. Isn't this film about strong, empowered women? Why not bring back the strong empowered Columbia Pictures woman? I shortly found out why. This film is laden with sexism and female discrimination. Not for the purpose of being sexist, but for the purpose of fighting sexism/building awareness of it. It is essentially the #metoo movement on the screen. We are subjected to males who say things like: "well...you don't know what I know," "pastel colours for the ladies," and "if you want to bake a cake, you have to break a few eggs". Of course, one of our female protagonists corrects the misuse of this classic idiom. We also grimace through men repeatedly referring to women as girls, saying things like, "grow up little girl," and "good girl". Finally, we have men in powerful positions, leaping out of their seats to scan Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott) through security, or "comfort" her by putting their hand on top of hers, or at one point even putting her on a leash and collar (for degrading prisoner reasons, not consensual sexy reasons). For me, it was too much. I'm not saying it doesn't happen. It does. It's happened to me. It's happened to most women (I hesitate to generalise by saying "all", but I'm VERY tempted to). The thing is though, the target audience for this film, is women. The men who see this film, are supporters of women. The men who just happen to see this film and aren't supporters of women, aren't going to listen anyway. It's possible to make films about feminism, but you're more likely to get through to people who are sexist, by writing protagonists who are strong and awesome and show their awesomeness through their actions. And yeah, this film has that, but at times it was overshadowed for me, by the repeated sexist dialogue. Once would have been enough, (consider Jurassic Park and the way Dr. Ellie Sattler handles Dr. Ian Malcolm). I prefer films that deliver their messages in more nuanced ways. And I'm not just referring to feminist messages. Any message on any topic is much better delivered with subtlety. That's my opinion anyway. You're welcome to disagree.
All in all, this film was okay. Like I said before, I'll watch the sequel, provided there is one and it involves Kristen Stewart...or one of the angels from the 2000 reboot. But I'm not sure I'd watch this one a second time.