It’s been over 40 years since the original Charlie’s Angels, a show about three crime-fighting women working for a billionaire named Charlie in his Los Angeles private detective firm, aired on television and nearly 20 years since the start of the rebooted movie series. A lot of things have changed since the 1970s, and what was socially acceptable then is social suicide today. Of course, the same could be said for the last 19 years. If you were to ask me if the noughties movie series (Diaz, Liu, & Barrymore) could hold up today with its new standards of what a woman should be, I would tell you no. In fact, the idea of today’s society dictating what a woman should be is no better than what they dictated in the early noughties and 70s. Society is still dictating their opinion. Let women be themselves.
The one thing I seem to agree with about the Charlie’s Angels’ lifespan is that the core has always been the same. There are three strong, independent women who work together, helping and supporting each other to get the job done. That’s something that can’t be said with today’s feminism, as women fight with one another about their interpretation and who’s right.
The one thing that the television series and noughties movies did was combine action with sexuality. Be it bikinis or slightly revealing dresses with Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Jaclyn Smith, or Cameron Diaz shaking her butt at the camera in just her panties and spaghetti strap. Depending on how you look at it, it could be seen as exploitation or celebration of the female body. Something that the new reboot has done away with entirely.
This is partly due to the fact that Charlie’s Angels wasn’t aimed at men and lesbian women, but at teenage girls, strutting down to their own version of Heart’s Barracuda, a garbage remixed version of Donna Summer’s Bad Girls (which, why?). The movie is so over-the-top with women empowerment, every single guy in this movie, except for Patrick Stewart, is either an idiot, demeaning, or sexist, to the point where it’s alienating. I am vaguely reminded of Captain Marvel‘s non-stop pro-woman message that Marvel assaulted into all its viewers, except this was worse. The narrative that all men, except for the one you decide isn’t, are bad, is bananas.
The movie’s plot is about this energy company that created this device called Callisto that can produce clean energy but can easily be hacked and be turned into a weapon of evil. You would think that the billion-dollar company would install something like Norton Antivirus to prevent something like this from happening, but then we wouldn’t have this movie. Elena (Naomi Scott), an engineer turned rookie spy, tries to blow the whistle on the issues with Callisto, which earns her the attention of a tattooed assassin (Jonathan Tucker) and other baddies. This would put her in contact with Angels Sabina (Kristen Stewart) and Jane (Ella Balinska) and together, along with Bosley (Elizabeth Banks) the three travel to lavish locations around the world to save it.
Despite the all-star cast, this movie spends most of its time around Stewart’s Sabina. This was a bit of a let down from the noughties films as those three girls got pretty even time on the screen. As alienating as the film was for me, all the girls did have pretty solid chemistry. I enjoyed Sabina and Jane’s bickering with one another. The action is pretty solid as well. It’s no Fast & Furious but the comedy laced in with that women empowerment had some pretty decent lines that had me chuckling. I did enjoy Elizabeth Banks turning Bosley from a name to a title, which would explain why her character, as well as Patrick Stewart’s, and even Full Throttle‘s Bernie Mac’s, was named Bosley.
In the end, as I said at the start of this review, this movie is perfect for teenage girls. As for everyone else, it’s just another sub-par action/comedy film. I understand what Banks, who not only directed but also produced, starred, and wrote the film, was aiming for. Sometimes things have to evolve to get better, and there is a direction that this series can go that will make the sequel even better than this film, but only time will tell.