The latest sequel in the Charlie’s Angels franchise acts as both a continuation of the original story and an attempt at world building since it emphasizes on a new trio this time around. It may lose the camp value that made the first two films so appealing. Also, the absence of Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu is certainly felt. Yet in a way, Charlie’s Angels still captures the fun spirit the previous pictures possess.
The newest trio, or technically duo, consists of Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) and former MI6 agent Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) who team up with Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), a computer programmer that initially becomes an aid to the Angels before joining forces with them in order to prevent a powerful electronic device from being weaponized. In addition, all three women are aided by a new Bosley (Elizabeth Banks).
With a typical “device in danger of falling into the wrong hands” storyline in play, one can probably expect where this story goes. But thankfully, the biggest selling point for these films is the chemistry between the three leads and these actresses possess it in spades. As Sabina, Stewart is a never ending source of spunky charisma. Meanwhile, Ella Balinska is a breakout as the incredibly straight-laced yet resilient Jane. Although Naomi Scott isn’t as well-utilized as the other two actresses, she still proves she has a gift for comedic timing.
As for multi-hyphenate Elizabeth Banks, she is in reliable comical fashion as Bosley while offering a deft directing and screenwriting hand. By letting the voice of Charlie remain largely absent throughout, Banks heightens the feminine themes of the storyline even if the screenplay goes a tad overboard with its expositional dialogue about how women are capable of anything and are always underestimated.
Also, there’s the biggest Achilles heel to any action film and that is underdeveloped villains. In the last two films, the villains were not only charismatic but had genuine motivations as to why they were awful. The ones in this, though, are evil because, well, they’re bad and they want to take over the world.
Clearly, Charlie’s Angels isn’t meant to change the face of action movies nor does it entirely reinvigorate the franchise. However, it still does its job at being comical fun thanks to the electric chemistry from the three main leads. It even thrives on its progression with a female filmmaker taking the reign this time around and two women of color making up the Angel trio. In closing, anyone expecting escapist thrills from Charlie’s Angels might just be in Heaven.