Starring: Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska, Naomi Scott, Elizabeth Banks, Patrick Stewart, Sam Claflin, Noah Centineo
“Did you know it takes men an extra seven seconds to perceive a woman as a threat?” asks Sabina (Kristen Stewart) before she makes a simple job of taking down a sleazy rich man. Women are not to be underestimated, according to Elizabeth Banks’s Charlie’s Angels reboot, and the film proves that thesis in spades. Charlie’s Angels avoids the easy traps of lazy remakes, and lively action sequences and a dynamic cast reinvigorate the franchise with as much fury as a kick in the groin.
If there’s one woman who should never be underestimated, it’s Kristen Stewart. After a lengthy tenure in arthouse cinema, she ventures away from the reserved characters she’s known for as the charismatic slice of comic relief and leader of this new team of Angels. That’s the thing about Stewart: she’s a constant surprise in every film she appears. Who could have guessed her preternatural gift for the one-liner? Even when the jokes fall flat (as most do), Stewart’s presence livens up the frame.
Joining Sabina is Jane (Ella Balinska), a stone-cold former MI6 agent who isn’t too happy about being paired up for a mission. Their assignment leads them to the final third of the team: Elena (Naomi Scott, having quite the year after Aladdin), a programmer who has created an energy source that can be weaponised if in the wrong hands.
As thrilling as it is to witness the globe-trotting adventure that takes the Angels from Berlin to a quarry in Istanbul, there is no shedding the Hollywood sheen that can render the frame sometimes dull. It doesn’t help that every conversation seems manufactured to produce corporate feminist mouth-pieces. The opening credits sequence includes stock footage of young girls doing sports and finishing science experiments, and while it might have 19th century audiences clutching at their pearls – this is 2019. Sexism is still not extinct, but there’s an almost palpable smugness to Banks’s script, which includes a line where a security guard tells Elena to “remember to smile”. Of course, that microaggression is part of a daily reality, but preaching Girl Power is hardly subversive.
However, that doesn’t stop Charlie’s Angels from being harmless fun. Though the film retreads familiar steps, the film packs enough ambitious set pieces and star power to overcome its flaws. The electrifying chemistry between the three leads elevates this above the sea of sequels and remakes that have populated cinemas this year. No one really needed another Charlie’s Angels – but this fresh take more than proves its worth.
|What||Charlie's Angels (2019) review|
29 Nov 19 – 29 Nov 20, TIMES VARY
|Price||£ determined by cinemas|
|Website||Click here for more information|