The unnecessary reboot for a marginal TV series exists for two reasons. Branded properties remain Hollywood’s higher power. Plus, writer/director Elizabeth Banks wanted to send a message about girl power over and over again.
The studio handed her $48 million to do just that.
Banks should have used some of that cash to hire a better screenwriter. “Charlie’s Angels” offers some modest rewards, but the screenplay is so tin-eared it’s like Al Bundy wrote it in a pique of full-on misogyny.
As displayed in the trailer, the film’s opening scene pushes its social justice message by having Kristen Stewart immediately say to a man: “I think women can do anything. I want all my options available so I can decide for myself.”
In another scene, as noted by Toto, Kristen Stewart’s character laments about how “invisible” women have become in a society that has “low expectations” of them.
Over at The Hollywood Reporter, Beandrea July praised the film for “unapologetically raising a feminist flag, championing female friendships and subtly making a point about the urgency of the ongoing climate crisis.”
“These lady spies aren’t leading with cleavage or dumbing themselves down to shore up the egos of their clueless boyfriends like the Angels of the past,” writes July. “Rather, they express their femininity and sexuality in ways that give their characters depth and agency rather than reducing them to objects. The movie also wants us to know that Stewart’s character is queer, but it wisely reveals this without much fanfare or woke sketch comedy.”
“There’s even an opening montage of images of optimistic, powerful girls from every corner of the globe,” continued July. “It feels out of place until you gradually begin to realize that Banks is making a meaningful effort to get young girls to see themselves in the film. When was the last time an action movie did that? Banks puts a spotlight on a wide swath of women and girls that mirrors what the world, not just the U.S., looks like. It’s a touch that effortlessly draws attention to the rarity of experiencing this kind of wide-ranging feminist gaze in big-budget action films.”
Other critics were dismissive of the film for essentially failing to craft believable characters that operate more like political puppets and less like human beings.
“For all of its #MeToo heavy lifting, though, the film still doesn’t work, mainly for the same reasons as before: Constructed as symbols (not human beings), these characters have too much spy stuff to do and yet, not quite enough,” wrote Joshua Rothkopf of Time Out.
“All the feminist virtue-signaling in the world can’t conceal the film’s creative conservatism,” wrote Michael Rowen of Slant.
The big question, of course, is whether or not “Charlie’s Angels” will deliver the box office goods. According to Deadline, the movie is tracking at a miserable $10–12 million dollar opening, though the film’s arguably low $48 million price tag could keep it from being a total box office disaster.
A version of this story appears on the Daily Wire website.