Note: Article may contain some small plot spoilers in the second paragraph.
It’s time to stop looking at 2000’s Charlie’s Angels and 2003’s Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle through those rose-coloured glasses because it doesn’t take much to see that 2019’s Charlie’s Angels could easily be regarded as the best film of the franchise.
Directed by Elizabeth Banks, 2019’s Charlie’s Angels performs as a great comedic action film and a continuation of the Charlie’s Angels franchise as a whole. While it’s always difficult to let go of our past Angels, get ready to meet the Charlie’s newest recruits—Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) and Jane Kano (Ella Balinska)—as they begrudgingly join forces to protect nervous scientist and Calisto Project member, Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott). The world is once again in a state of fragility as Elena attempts to approach her ignorant and overbearing boss, Peter Fleming (Nat Faxon), about an easily fixable issue with Calisto—an immensely powerful remote that aids in the distribution of clean and sustainable energy. When Elena is immediately dismissed and her project report gets buried, it is found that Calisto’s error amounts to the potential of being weaponised as a deadly EMP, capable of completely wrecking the human body. In an immediate attempt to prevent Calisto from falling into the wrong hands, Sabina, Jane and Elena are assembled by Bosley (Elizabeth Banks) and equipped with some of the most high-tech spy equipment, assigned to do what Angels do best—save the world.
The film starts with Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) on a very sophisticated and intimate date with the insufferable ‘Australian Johnny’ (Chris Pang). Sitting through the nightmare of a conversation that inevitably plays out when a misogynist and a feminist are forced to share the same space with each other, I couldn’t help but think that even my worst expectations for this film weren’t going to be met. However, to my pleasant surprise, I found that the small list of male chauvinistic characters speckled throughout the film—and their distasteful sexist comments—did not distract the audience from enjoying the film’s entirety.
Speaking of Sabina Wilson, if you’re not a fan of Kristen Stewart then I’d like you to forget what you think you know about her. As of right now, Stewart has well and truly beckoned in her new era, and it turns out that this new Kristen Stewart is impossible not to love. While the franchise has definitely dialled down on its signature comedic properties with this 2019 version, Stewart does a great job of delivering a thoroughly enjoyable comedic performance.
Old-time Charlie’s Angels fans may have a hard time opening up their hearts to the new edition of the franchise, but this film incorporates all the necessary changes that are needed to secure its success in the current modern age of cinema. As much as we all hate to admit it, it’s obvious that the over sexualisation and forced innuendos we gleefully sat through in 2003’s Full Throttle clearly wouldn’t be as well-received in this day and age. While this new film did shed a lot of what we had previously known the Charlie’s Angels films to have been, it did retain the terrific disguises, additional dance scenes, predictable explosions, and who could forget, that friendship between spy-girlfriends that we all secretly wished we could be a part of.
One of the main reasons as to why I made the bold claim that this Charlie’s Angels could be the best film of the franchise, was largely because of the realistic fight scenes that were finally perfectly executed within this third film. While I grew up absolutely loving the first two Charlie’s Angels films, it wasn’t until I recently re-watched both of them that I realised how truly terrible those films actually were. The fight scenes that took place within the franchise during the 2000s were inexplicably bad, so much so that it pains me now to admit I remained smitten with those scenes and would watch them over and over again—believing that they were absolutely brilliant and flawless beyond compare. However, it’s safe to say that the one factor of which this new Charlie’s Angels could never hold a candle to, is the nostalgia that is automatically attached to the originals.
But at the end of the day, Charlie’s Angels (2019) shouldn’t be compared to its predecessors because it was never competing with them in the first place. This film serves as the perfect insight into how Charlie and his Angels are doing at present. Ultimately, it provides a nice little update for long-time fans, while simultaneously performing as a great introduction for a new generation that has yet to fall in love with the franchise.
Charlie’s Angels is in cinemas now