A new Charlie’s Angels movie is heading into cinemas around the world – and the general consensus from the critics is taking shape.
If you saw the trailers and felt your eyes rolling, or if you liked what you saw and the idea of a Kristen Stewart-starring and Elizabeth Banks-directed take on Charlie’s Angels tickled your fancy, the good news is that both sides could have what they expected here. Yes, the reviews are in, and they’re highly mixed to middle-ranged. To put it simply, the film sounds like it’s not as horrific as some feared it could be, nor is it as good as some hoped it would be.
Overall middling aggregates are arriving for the new Charlie’s Angels. At the time of writing, Rotten Tomatoes has the film at 66% with 29 critic reviews and the Metascore is at 54 based on 16 reviews.
Reviews range from the positive to the poor, although with most circling the middle scores. Most seem to agree on what’s on offer – only differing by how the elements hit the palette. Reviewers describe a highly feminist approach to the franchise, fueled by the current #MeToo era and the related ideals. Whether the female championing is nicely handled or is cheesy and heavy handed is of contention. Also among the disagreements are whether the film’s sugary and shiny, ultra-easy mainstream approach works as fun or simply hollow.
An unfortunate aspect of the film that does appear to come up often in early reviews is the poor handling of the film’s action; Banks “has trouble juggling the outsized action sequences,” writes Slashfilm and Indiewire says that “the fisticuffs are framed too tightly and the fights can be edited to the point of abstraction.”
Fans of the cast will be happy to know that most seem to be pleased with the performances, particularly that of Kristen Stewart, who’s mentioned by a number of reviewers as one of the film’s standout elements.
Here’s a look at some of the more positive reviews:
Banks brings Charlie’s Angels into the modern age with flair, all while unapologetically raising a feminist flag, championing female friendships and subtly making a point about the urgency of the ongoing climate crisis.
Banks never stops leaning into that “women can do anything” spirit, but she weaves it well into the fabric of the story while also beating the likes of Jason Bourne at his own game. By the time things really get rolling, the movie doesn’t have to tell us that women kick ass, because we can see it for ourselves.
The “rah-rah” feminism of Charlie’s Angels is simple, to be sure, but effective. Maybe the cynic in you will roll your eyes when Stewart declares that girls can do anything, but the optimist in you would gladly give your life to be part of a crew so cool, so empowered, and so well-dressed.
Charlie’s Angels is a highly entertaining action comedy with a winning “close as sisters” leading trio that also gives a big boost to the network of Angels. If I could have walked straight from this movie into a second installment of this iteration of the franchise, I would have.
If you’re a fan of having a good time at a movie theater and/or action movies then you do not want to miss these two hours of pure, silly, cinematic joy. Plus it’s one of the best-costumed movies of the year and is full of non-stop outfit inspiration and women looking great whilst beating up bad guys. What more could you want?
And some of the negative…
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.
The new Charlie’s Angels moves well and at least puts forth a semblance of reality, with a few moments hinting at the tense, moody spy thriller it might have been. Yet the dominant strain of its DNA is the Generic Action Movie, and all the feminist virtue-signaling in the world can’t conceal its creative conservatism. […] This film is so much disposable entertainment. It’s too frenetic, tongue in cheek, and impersonal to extend its vague feminism to true individualism.
The overall look of the film has the shiny, empty appearance of a newly rehabbed condo, and the quips about women’s love of cheese and gigantic closets have a similarly hollow sassy-greeting-card feel.
Charlie’s Angels is undone by overly extended fight sequences, a generic storyline, plus an inability to focus on the parts that actually generate some goodwill and smiles. Elizabeth Banks is a capable director and her writing is on point when it’s not focused on the action/adventure elements, but this is a poor fit for her.
[…] outside of public service announcements good intentions do not necessarily make for an involving viewing experience. Instead of engaging what we get is a plodding, unfocused effort with few genuine thrills to speak of, the kind of movie that would play best on an airplane when you are eager to kill time.
Charlie’s Angels is in cinemas around Australia from November 14 and US cinemas from November 15.