I’m so glad movies like “Charlie’s Angels” exist. I don’t mean reboots, but rather big-budget movies that have no hesitation to push their genre tropes to the extreme.
The premise is simple: It’s a “girl power” spy movie. Writer/director/supporting actress Elizabeth Banks took that and ran with it.
The plot is nonsense and chock-full of action movie cliches and gibberish, but that’s no surprise, given the franchise’s history. What makes this movie so enjoyable is that it shamelessly leans into its cheesy aspects, for better or worse.
Interestingly, however, “Charlie’s Angels” never really boasts that it is in on the joke. The movie simply plays out in full ridiculousness as if it is being played straight, which is a welcome relief from the “Deadpools” of the world.
Comparing the 2019 reboot to the 2000 “Charlie’s Angels,” Banks did a strong job of staying faithful to the absurdity of the franchise while effectively scrubbing away the nastier male gaze qualities of the earlier iteration. The reboot has no underwear or bikini shots and attempts to give the Angels more rounded personalities.
Unfortunately, character development is fairly surface-level, and while Banks tries to make the titular spies interesting, their traits mostly disappear by the third act.
In fact, pacing overall is a bit uneven, with the attempted character moments bringing the movie to a halt after intense action scenes. Additionally, those action sequences are incomprehensible at times due to some overly choppy editing.
All that said, “Charlie’s Angels” is still very much worth its run-time.
While the girl power aspects certainly feel like a selling point, they’re so genuine and bombastically displayed at times that it makes the end result highly entertaining.
For example, the opening credits take place over generic stock footage of women and young girls going about their daily lives. It’s a strange montage but does a strong job of setting the movie’s tone and attitudes very early. This is very much a movie by women, for women.
Ultimately, the most interesting aspect about this movie is that it feels like it’s from another time while also heavily dating itself as a 2019 movie through its dialogue.
The action is frantic and loaded with moments of levity to keep the sequences from getting too serious, which creates a strange mishmash of tones, especially considering the occasional random bouts of graphic violence.
The bizarre tonal combination between suspense, comedy and action, where each is held in constant stasis rather than letting one come to the forefront at an appropriate time, make the movie feel straight out of the 90’s.
“Charlie’s Angels” is, in many ways, a mess. But as a cheesy action movie, which in many ways feels like it is intended to be, it is highly entertaining and enjoyable.