Elizabeth Banks directs a crowd-pleasing girl power flick in Columbia Pictures Charlie’s Angels. The second big-screen adaptation of Aaron Spelling’s iconic crime drama television series, Charlie’s Angels, serves as both a sequel to the original seventies television series as well as the McG directed films from the early 2000s.
The new version opens up with loose cannon angel Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) on a mission to take down an international smuggler. When former MI-6 agent and now angel Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) shows up, it’s apparent she has a different style from her counterpart.
Meanwhile, senior operative and Charlie’s assistant John Bosley (Patrick Stewart) is nearing retirement and happily obliges the “Bosley” code name to former Rebekah (Elizabeth Banks). A year later, scientist Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott) has unequivocal evidence that her boss has devious plans for an energy conservation project that she’s created. Elena decides to reach out to the Angels for help, and the fun begins.
I can’t ever recall watching “Charlie’s Angels” growing up, however, I’ve always held a soft spot in my heart for the first two films, due to the chemistry between the cast. In the same vein of television series and the previous films, the newest adaption in the franchise works off the strength of the cast. Director Elizabeth Banks’ screenplay gives each the girls a distinct personality and character traits, which allows for their chemistry to flow naturally.
Kristen Stewart’s Sabina uses sex appeal to get her mark, but when the mission is over, she’s all about the fun. Ella Balinska’s, Jane is a tough as nails agent who can hold her own in any gunfight or hand to hand combat against a male foe, while Naomi’s Scott’s naive Elena has book smarts for days. Elizabeth Banks is also reliable as the girls’ mentor and new Bosley. Banks, who is one of my favorite actresses, is not only easy on the eyes but has a natural screen presence.
While just about all the men in the cast are primality antagonists, Banks’ script allows them to shine, especially with Jonathan Tucker, standing out as henchmen, Hodak. The character is very reminiscent of Crispin Glover’s Thin Man from the previous films.
Banks also makes the sapient choice to show the Townsend Agency as a global crime agency with numerous divisions. One of my favorite moments in the film involves the retirement ceremony of John Bosley (Patrick Stewart) as we get a chance to get look at different Bosleys around the world. It’s a great set up for a possible Charlie’s Angel’s multiverse. In terms of the direction, Banks does a great job with her second feature and her first time as an action director. Instead of rehashing the wirework martial arts style prevalent in the previous films, or the more commonly used shaky cam in modern cinema, Banks gives the action sequences a realistic approach.
For the most part, I had a fun time with Charlie’s Angels. However, there are issues in the film, which were vital in my final grade. The primary antagonist of the film will be easy to figure, twenty minutes into the film, and Banks’ script should’ve gone a different direction. Also, while I enjoyed the cast a more recognizable name as a third Angel would’ve helped. Ashly Scott’s character doesn’t become an “official” Angel until the end of the film. Given this plot element, a more well-known actress should’ve been part of the team and passed the reigns on to Scott’s character. Alternatively, all three Angels could’ve been in training the entire film, and the result would be the same.
Nevertheless, the latest addition to the Charlie’s Angels franchise is a harmless time at the cinema. With impressive action sequences, genuine laughs, and a great cast, here’s hoping we can hear “Good Morning Angels” on the big screen once again.
Final Grade B-