Charlie's Angels Review: Kristen Stewart's comedic chops & Ella Balinska take center stage in the action flick

Charlie's Angels Review: Kristen Stewart is the dark horse in this Elizabeth Banks directorial as she shows off her hidden comedic chops while Ella Balinska is a revelation, in spite of being a newcomer. Also starring the effervescent Naomi Scott, Charlie's Angels draws a balanced line between being part preachy and a wholesome action entertainer.
Charlie's Angels is slated to release in India on November 15, 2019.
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Charlie's Angels

Charlie's Angels Director: Elizabeth Banks

Charlie's Angels Cast: Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska

Charlie's Angels Stars: 3/5

The opening credits of Charlie's Angels is a montage of women taking over the world and proving that a girl can really do ANYTHING they put their heart, mind and soul into. That's the exact mantra that Elizabeth Banks pours into the reboot version of a beloved franchise while adding a fresh perspective to the same old story, which is part preachy but also a pure and wholesome action flick. It's the way you take it, really! However, the question on everyone's mind - does the end product justify the means? Let's find out.

As a young working-class woman myself, Charlie's Angels comes across as a delightful surprise as it sheds light, with a pinch of humour, on sexism women have to face in everyday work life - whether it be at a corporate office or even being an equally skilled spy. But fear not because Elizabeth puts a fine balance between being a preachy cheese-fest and a solid action entertainer. Charlie's Angels, as a storyline has nothing "new" to offer. In Evan Spiliotopoulos, David Auburn and Banks' Charlie's Angels version, we have Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), creator of the Calisto project, which proves to be extremely fatal when held in the wrong hands. Enters the Charlie's Angels, who enlist Elena and team her up with the feisty, awkward and witty Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) and the tough, bold and beautiful former MI6 agent, Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) to fight the bad guys not just with force, but smartly too.

The strong point that makes Charlie's Angels a fun watch is the 'sis'mance (I just invented the word) shared between the trio that delivers in spades and is reminiscent of the original trio (Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu). It's the girl squad you wish were your friends! Twilight (2008) star Kristen Stewart was an unconventional choice but the actress uses her cloddish sense of personality to her advantage and shows off her hidden comedic styling. At times, it can get a bit unnerving when the actress tries her hand to be too Diaz-ish, especially when Sabina tries to sexually draw in Jonny Smith (Chris Pang) into a trap as her introductory sequence, but once the hideous blond wig comes off, Kristen is allowed to be herself, and it's a wonderful decoy! Ella may be a newcomer but eventually becomes the hidden treasure, which was neatly packed away in the trailers. Balinksa proves to be just as efficient as the other two angels and it's her intricate action sequences that really keep you at the edge of your seats. Naomi, who comes fresh off the success of Aladdin has lots of fun playing someone like the effervescent Elena, who is nurtured to become an angel. Towards the climax, you're rooting for her to become an angel as well.

When it comes to the supporting cast, Elizabeth is as much of a badass as the new Bosley while Patrick Stewart adds his gentlemanly charm to the mix. Sam Claflin's diva act and Nat Faxon's stereotypical white-collar leader act is entertaining to watch as well. However, the buzzkill is one Noah Centineo, who becomes the temporary good looking object of affection, which is usually relegated to a woman. At least he's really handsome to look at, so that fits the purpose, I guess.

ALSO READ: Charlie's Angels Review: Kristen Stewart's comedic chops & Ella Balinska take center stage in the action flick

Charlie's Angels is not the kind of film where content will be queen. There are certain sequences that could have been avoided or let go of and made into a more crisper action flick, as it was intended to be promoted in the first place. However, when it comes to the action moments, the blend between the beautiful locales of France and Germany and the skillful action choreography is perfectly captured by the cinematography of Bill Pope and editing by Alan Baumgarten. The action sequences, in particular, feel more like a dance and less like the gruesome tactics used in superhero and Bond movies and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Fighting isn't always about the bullets, sometimes, tranquil guns work wonders too! Even the soundtrack by Ariana Grande is used to full effect and helps elevate certain scenes like the dance sequence with Kristen and Ella. The costumes deserve a special mention as each angel looks like a million bucks, whether it be fighting the villains or getting the glamourous avatar at elite parties.

At the end of the day, Elizabeth Banks has one intention with Charlie's Angels - Have three kickass women take lead in an entertaining action flick and I'd say job well done, Angels!

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