While 2019’s version of “Charlie’s Angels” still follows the plot of three female spies joining forces to beat an evil mastermind with humour laced into the script, it bids farewell to theme of women objectification for the sake of the male gaze- something the original film and the 1970’s show, of the same name, was rigged with. Though even this revamped version has its flaws and never tries to rise above the norm of typical action films, it still manages to hold your attention for its 118 minutes of the screenplay.
It has been nearly two decades since the first Charlie’s Angels movie was released, which primarily thrived by putting across its precious female spies as objects to be ogled at. The reason that 2019’s Charlie’s Angels is watchable despite a weak plot is that it stands on the stronger plot of the power of sisterhood. Even though the chemistry between the three lead characters remains strained throughout the majority of the film, the empowering energy the ensemble manages to produce is hard to be ignored.
Of course, we shouldn’t call “Charlie’s Angels” a reboot or a remake as on paper it is a continuation of the previous two films and the ‘70s series. The 2019 version of the film sees how the Townsend Agency has expanded worldwide and has been employing the “Angels” (spies) from every corner of the world. There is a senior spy, known as “Bosley” to whom the spies report to. The new recruits and the old spies practice amidst military-level surroundings and cool gadgets without which every spy film would be incomplete.
So, like every spy thriller goes, there is this amazing environment-friendly gadget that has the capability to provide clean energy. Son the tech savvy Elena (played by Aladdin’s Jasmine a.k.a. Naomi Scott) comes across the device but things go awry when her boss disappears and the situation soon worsens to the point that… CLICHE SPOILER ALERT… some ‘bad guys’ get dead serious about getting it from her so that they can weaponize it. And BAM! Enter two ‘Angels’ Sabina and Jane (Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska) from the Agency and they start slamming the guys left and right. As the super spies soon sort the situation, Elena inadvertently ends up becoming a part of the agency.
The spies report to two Bosleys- one is played by Patrick Stewart and the second is Elizabeth Banks herself, playing the part of the mentor of new Angels and an avid lover when it comes to wine. She has also written, directed, and produced “Charlie’s Angels.”
But while Banks as the Angels’ boss is perhaps one of the best things in the film, when it comes to its screenplay…well, let’s just say she sorely lacks in that department. Although there are enough fun elements in the film, a few twists and turns in the narrative, it doesn’t deviate our attention from the sub-par seen-a-thousand-times-before script.
Hopping from one location to another, unnecessary action sequences, the thinly veiled disguises- all have been done-to-death in countless action films. The twists are predictable and the climax can be deduced by a 5-year-old- that doesn’t fare well for a film which primarily relies on the surprise factors to survive.
Though, undoubtedly, we are were positively surprised the see Kristen Stewart effortlessly sliding into a role, which kind of shakes our memories of the her stiff-faced human-turned-vampire character from the era of “Twilight” film series. The removal of sexual objectification from the film’s plot, something which the earlier instalments thrived on, was undoubtedly a plus point, not to mention some parts of the film are actually funny (remember how we said it was watchable?) But even then, the punishing pace of the plot and the forever gnawing hole of ‘it could have been better’ is hard to let go of.