Elizabeth Banks (director)
28 November 2019 (released)
29 November 2019
Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Drew Barrymore starred in two Charlie's Angels films, inspired by the 1970s TV show of the same name, back in the early 2000s.
Now, the franchise has been revived by Elizabeth Banks, who directed, produced, co-wrote, and stars in this new instalment.
Back in the early 2000s, the Townsend private detective agency was a small operation in California but it is now a global enterprise, with Angels all over the world fighting crime at the instruction of many different Bosleys - played here by Banks, Patrick Stewart, and Djimon Hounsou.
The plot follows Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), a scientist who helped build a revolutionary energy device named Calisto. She knows it still has faults and can be weaponised, but her boss insists it's fine to go on the market. Elena plans to expose the truth, so naturally, she needs to be silenced.
Enter Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) and Jane Kano (Ella Balinska), two Angels who have been drafted in to protect Elena. They have also been tasked with intercepting the Calisto devices before they can be sold.
This film is quite a mixed bag - it is a bog-standard action movie in the beginning but then gets better and better as it goes along and really finds its footing towards the end.
The globe-trotting flick focuses too much on plot and driving the action forward than fully developing these new characters and establishing the bond between the trio.
In the previous Charlie's Angels films, the protagonists form a sisterhood and that camaraderie is missing initially.
Elena is a complete newbie, while Jane and Sabina don't initially work well together as they prefer to do things solo. The film became so much better when all three started working as a team and showed so much promise in the end credits montage teasing Elena officially becoming an Angel.
The story starts out quite average but gradually gets more exciting and fun, but the script as a whole needed to be funnier and more light-hearted. Like the first two movies, this one has a twist that reveals the mission wasn't as straightforward as it seemed. The surprise was good and really stepped up the stakes, yet, the plot is over-complicated and it was difficult to follow who was working with whom.
Balinska may be the most unknown of the trio but she is the biggest revelation and the star of the show. We have found ourselves a new action heroine! She is very capable in the action scenes, looks badass and towers above the other two.
Stewart was a surprising addition to the cast, considering she hasn't done blockbusters in a while, though it was refreshing and enjoyable to see her play the light-hearted goof who gets the most jokes. Scott serves as the audience's eyes into this new world and is very likeable, and their chemistry together towards the end shows great potential.
Charlie's Angels had to do a lot to justify its existence and it doesn't quite achieve it, which is a real shame because there is great potential in the new characters and three actresses.