Charlie's Angels Movie Review
Upon watching the new Charlie’s Angels it’s clear why the Elizabeth Banks-directed reboot flailed in theaters. Yes, the marketing didn’t help, but the underlying problem, the root cause, is that this largely toothless effort is the epitome of studios operating in a different decade, back when generic action and ho-hum humor baked under an outdated brand name was still sufficient to draw audiences away from their TVs and computer screens.
The failure of this new Charlie’s Angels got coughed up as sexism, with director Banks fueling the flames by saying “men don’t go see women do action movies.” There may be some truth to that, but Banks should have turned the blame inward first.
With Charlie’s Angels, what movie did she set out to make it?
Was it an explosive action movie with amazing stunts, intense choreography, and stupendous car chases? Far from it. The action, aside from a few brief moments, is utterly forgettable, relying on bland choreography and film work more reminiscent of a 90s TV movie. In the age of Mad Max, Mission: Impossible, John Wick and Atomic Blonde, why would audiences go see this movie for the action?
Did she make this movie for the humor? Charlie’s Angels hints at comedy, with Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinksa attempting awkward banter throughout, but never does the film elicit anything close to real laughter, let alone a chuckle.
Did she make the movie as a feminist statement? Likely, but that’s not enough. Banks makes a point to showcase the creepy and obnoxious dudes in the Angels’ lives—the boss who doesn’t show respect for the clearly more intelligent women around him, the security guard who flirts inappropriately, the businessman who believes women aren’t suited for certain jobs—all well and good, but hardly enough to build an action franchise around.
The sad thing is, Charlie’s Angels isn’t a terrible movie. Kristen Stewart is inspired casting; she balances sex appeal with a fierce if not vengeful level of feminism that suits her well. The plot, pretty stereotypical but hardly disastrous, is more than good enough to build a decent action film around. The movie is tolerable to watch—but again, there is no defining aspect to it, no reason to state to audiences why they should spend their cash, let alone their time, sitting through this thing.
Charlie’s Angels is certainly more coherent than McG’s efforts in the early 2000s, but it’s shockingly generic take on the material is disappointing through and through. Worse, it shows complete disregard for the state of entertainment today, making an assumption that audiences can’t see better, more compelling fare from their couches any day of the week.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.