Charlie's Angels (2019) an Object Lesson in Killing Franchises

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Charlie's Angels 2019

It's not uncommon that a film have a theme. In fact, it's expected. You watch the film, you digest the plot, and you come away with the idea that, "This was a metaphor for this particular idea."

With CHARLIE'S ANGELS (2019), the theme is explicitly stated up front, and then slowly moves on from there to hammer that idea home. And that idea is this: Men are bad.

In this Elizabeth Banks take on the CHARLIE'S ANGELS franchise, the Townsend Agency has been taken international, just as John Bosley (Patrick Stewart) is retiring. As a tribute of sorts, every agency's lieutenant is given the rank of "Bosley," which doesn't get confusing at all. So Elizabeth Banks' character in this film is called Bosley as she directs the activities of her Angels while also directing the actors playing them.

The Angels in this case are Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) and Jane Kano (Ella Basinska). The case they're assigned to is to protect a tech-wizard whistleblower named Elena (Naomi Scott) whose bosses are about to put their version of Alexa on the market. The voice-responsive device can power homes -- but Elena has discovered it can also be weaponized to blow things up, which is exactly the purpose her bosses have in mind for it.

Assassins and heists ensue, but someone always seems to be a step ahead of the Angels, leading them to believe the organization has been compromised. Well, it has been, and it's a plot ripped right out of the first MISSION IMPOSSIBLE film, the one that angered fans (but didn't seem to dampen the franchise any).

The plot is twisty to the point of being needlessly complex, and the characters are self-pampering in many ways when not active in the field. There's a certain appeal to Elena's eagerness to become a part of the agency, but it turns out she was being recruited the whole time anyway, which sort of takes away from that aspect of the story. In the end, the bad guy loses, the devices are recovered, the day is saved, and we see that the Townsend Agency is larger than it ever was -- and has always been run by a woman with a voice modulator. Yas, slay queen. That was a needless modification to the franchise that helped to make this effort a box office bust.

There's a bright bit at the end (other than it being, you know, the end) where you get to see other Angels in a montage, including Jaclyn Smith reprising her role as Kelly Garrett, and training sequenes with Danica Patrick as a driving instructor, Ronda Rousey as a fight trainer, and Laverne Cox as a trainer in defusing bombs. You'll also see future 'recruits' such as Hailee Stanfield (BUMBLEBEE) and Lili Reinhart (RIVERDALE).

Overall, this version of CHARLIE'S ANGELS is best purchased as a pay-per-view rental or a clearance sale pick-up.

2.5 / 5.0