Charlie’s Angels Review: The Female-Centric Origin Story Expertly Adapts To The Modern World

Before nostalgia ruled and brought countless reboots, select properties were given the remake treatment. Chief among them iswasCharlie's Angels, which had a long tenure in TV before the movie version hit theaters in 2000, followed by a 2003 sequel. Since then, there was an unsuccessful TV reboot, and now the Angels have returned to the silver screen with Elizabeth Banks' Charlie's Angels. Banks directed, wrote, and produced the new action comedy, in addition to appearing onscreen as Susan Bosley. And she's managed to bring the Angels to the modern world in a big way.

Like the other version before it, Charlie's Angels focuses on a trio of female agents from the Townsend Agency. But rather than being a group of besties who have been working together for years, the new adaptation serves as an origin story. We meet three very different women and watch as their relationship grow throughout their first adventure together.

By Focusing On An Origin Story, All Three Of Charlie’s Angels Are Fully Fleshed Out

While the 2000 version of Charlie's Angels and its sequel Full Throttle focused heavily on the friendship between the three women, Elizabeth Banks took the story in a different direction for her reboot. Instead, we watch as one mission goes sideways, and three women are forced to work together to get through it all. This includes Kristen Stewart's Sabina, Naomi Scott's Elena and Ella Balinska's Jane.

Sabina and Jane are two Angels who are looking for their place in life. By contrast, Naomi Scott's Elena isn't an actual Angel, but a scientist who attempts to blow the whistle on her company's dangerous new device The Calisto Project. But the bad guys come knocking, and the three women must lean on each other (and Elizabeth Banks' Bosely) for their comedic and action-packed adventure. We really understand what makes each Angel tick and the different skills each one brings to the table.

The supporting cast is full of familiar faces, including Patrick Stewart and Djimon Hounsou as two other Bosleys in the organization. Stewart gets to flesh his comedic muscles in the movie, and there are some hilarious sight gags about his long tenure in the organization. Other supporting actors include Noah Centineo, Jonathan Tucker and Chris Pang. There are also a variety of exciting cameos, which Elizabeth Banks expertly drops into Charlie's Angels, without allowing them to derail the main story.

Charlie’s Angels Is Purposeful With Its Action Sequences, Which Make Them More Powerful

Obviously Charlie's Angels is going to include plenty of action, and the new version certainly didn't disappoint when it came to that. But Elizabeth Banks was also careful not to include too many fight scenes or gunfights. Each one moves the story forward, with the comedic beats and snappy dialogue helping to buoy the movie during its lulls.

As for the action itself, it's not mindless or saturated. I recently spoke to the cast of Charlie's Angels ahead of its release, where the three stars revealed that director Elizabeth Banks wanted women to fight "smarter, not harder." That's certainly the case, and movie is selective about when firepower and guns are used, and when the women are able to use their bodies as the weapon. And you'll never look at an Altoids case the same way after seeing the movie.

What's more, the new Charlie's Angels has action sequences that are more based in reality than the previous films. The 2000 movie and its sequel essentially gave the Angels superpowers, and utilized slow motion and 360 visuals that had recently became popular from the Matrix franchise. That stylistic choice was abandoned for the new sequel, allowing the action to have real stakes.

Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott And Ella Balinska Have Palpable Chemistry, To The Movie’s Benefit

While Elizabeth Banks assembled a killer cast for Charlie's Angels, it's the trio of leading ladies that really stand out. Actresses Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska have killer chemistry throughout the movie, especially as their respective characters become closer. This helps to keep the movie's pace up, as their witty dialogue takes center stage.

Kristen Stewart's Sabina steals the show, as the character constantly takes the piss out of the serious situations of the movie. Stewart was actually given the chance to ad lib throughout the course of the movie, with many of Charlie's Angels' funniest lines being improvised. Good on Elizabeth Banks for the casting and knowing to give the Twilight alum the chance to have some creative freedom on set. As for the scripted lines, Banks slyly addressed the #MeToo movement and current conversation around gender inequality. She does it hilariously and selectively, as her Charlie's Angels is far from a political movie.

Charlie's Angels is a strong contemporary take on the property, and Elizabeth Banks should be praised for wearing so many hats (and wigs) on the project. The movie delivers everything it promises and perfectly adapts the property for today. It also has the potential to expand to a sequel, depending on the box office performance. I'd personally be down for another adventure with the same cast, but only time will tell how the movie is received by audiences.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.