Movie Guru: ‘Charlie’s Angels’ an entertaining, girl power romp
Rated PG-13 for action/violence, language and some suggestive material
Screenplay by Elizabeth Banks, story by Evan Spiliotopoulos and David Auburn
Directed by Elizabeth Banks
Starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Elizabeth Banks, Patrick Stewart, Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, Jonathan Tucker, Nat Faxon, Chris Pang and more
Grade: Three and a half stars out of four
Girls just want to have fun.
Luckily, this weekend’s “Charlie’s Angels” reboot has what they need to do just that. It’s a charming action romp with a strong girl-power message, highlighted by some delightful performances. Though a tendency to meander keeps it from being perfect, it’s an entertaining way to spend an evening.
The movie highlights the angels as a global organization, with agents all over the world and several different handlers who go by the title Bosley. The trio featured in the movie are called together when a young programmer comes forward as a whistleblower for her company. The energy devices she just made for them can be turned into EMP bombs, information someone is willing to kill to keep quiet.
The main goal of the movie is empowering and supporting women. It takes care to dismantle a variety of stereotypes, from the idea that tough girls don’t have feelings to the idea that non-fighting women have less value. It focuses on the importance of female friendships, even between very different women, and punctures the idea of women automatically being catty to each other.
Thankfully, it makes sure to have a ton of fun doing it. The action scenes are great, with great fight choreography and even a solid chase scene. There’s also a good amount of comedy, just enough to add spice but not enough to cheapen the plot. The movie also does plot twists the right way, with hints buried earlier in the story that you may or may not pick up on. Even if you do, seeing them play out is satisfying rather than disappointing.
Kristen Stewart is the best thing about the movie, filling the screen with energy, humor and charisma. It’s clear she’s enjoying every moment, and she makes sure the audience is enjoying themselves as well. She’s blossomed as an actress since mainstream movies saw her last, and I hope more big budget films manage to lure her into sharing her talents with the masses.
The rest of the cast adds their own sparkle to the movie. Naomi Scott leans into her comedy side as the programmer, doing a great job balancing fish-out-of-water humor with scenes of real competence. Patrick Stewart is a treat, chewing scenery in a way only a master of his craft really can. Sam Claflin is surprisingly hilarious as the head of the energy company, and Elizabeth Banks is a solid anchor as one of the many Bosleys.
There’s a little more world-building here than is necessary, particularly in the set-up of each base of operations. At the same time, it’s also the most well-realized version of the “Charlie’s Angels” concept I’ve ever seen. If that means the pendulum sometimes swings too far the other way, I’m willing to take it.
Stay through the credits for this one, which is full of famous names and one really big easter egg for fans of the original show. The very last scene brings it all back to the show’s main theme, which is that if women work together they can do anything.
And what’s more fun than that?
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at email@example.com.