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Movie Review: "Charlie's Angels"

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 11/15/2019

Theatrical Release: 11/15/2019

Synopsis

Elena (Naomi Scott) works for a tech company that is developing a new device which is able to create green energy. It is a handheld device, it is efficient, and the development process has nearly been completed. Elena, however, discovers a flaw in the device. If it were to malfunction, it could trigger brain aneurysms in anyone nearby.

If this knowledge gets into the wrong hands, and if the device is mass produced and distributed, someone could hack the devices to remotely trigger aneurysms. This could be done on a large scale, or it could be used to assassinate specific people, and it would be next to impossible to track down the person responsible. This threat has wound up on the radar of two Charlie's Angels, agents Sabina (Kristen Stewart) and Jane (Ella Balinska). Elena wants to help, but her knowledge of the design flaw has made her a target. Thus, the Charlie's Angels need to find a way to eliminate the threat, while keeping Elena out of harm's way.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Sabina & Jane (+4pts)

Opening Feminism & Comedy (-3pts)

Elena (+3pts)

The Plot Twists (-8pts)

Townsend Agency (+3pts)

The Antagonist (-6pts)

movie-review-charlies-angels

Pro: Sabina & Jane (+4pts)

Sabina had been a Charlie's Angel for awhile, and Jane had just joined the team, formerly being a member of MI6. The two started with somewhat of a reluctant partnership, but I liked watching this duo grow. They had their similarities, but their personalities could not have been further apart. Each character had their own strengths and styles, but they were both committed to the mission. We got to see two characters would not have got along in different circumstances, but they came together due to their common goal and for their devotion to the Charlie's Angels. This helped boost the importance of the Charlie's Angels, and it helped make the mission feel important to the audience, because these two very different characters chose to put their differences aside.

movie-review-charlies-angels

Con: Opening Feminism & Comedy (-3pts)

I was concerned right from the beginning of this movie. There were a number of feminist comments and comedy that just did not work for me. Fortunately, the rest of the movie was not like this, but the beginning of the movie felt like it missed its mark. All of the comedy in this section felt like it was trying too hard. The comedy felt desperate, which made it fall flat, but the feminist comments were the primary reason why I was concerned.

To be clear, I am all for female empowerment in movies. I am all for women and men being held to the same standard, and I think it is important for strong female characters to be present in movies. However, if this feels forced, then it does not work. The female empowerment needs to be somewhat subtle, and it needs to feel like the character's gender is just inconsequential. In other words, the character should be great and they should be a woman; they should not be great only because they are a woman. Doing the latter makes the concept feel forced, and it always takes me out of movies, whenever filmmakers do it. Fortunately, I only felt these issues in the beginning of the movie, as the filmmakers ended up moving on from these problems as the movie progressed.

movie-review-charlies-angels

Pro: Elena (+3pts)

Naomi Scott, played Elena, a scientist and one of the minds behind the device that was causing so much trouble. She was not a member of the Charlie's Angels, but her job and her desire to do the right thing put a massive target on her back. This brought her to the Charlie's Angels and it meant she was being introduced to the Charlie's Angels along with the audience. This made the character easy to connect with, because we were being introduced to everything right along with her. I also liked seeing her trying to integrate herself with the Charlie's Angels, and I liked the growth that the character went through along the way. She started as a character that felt unnoticed, and she grew as she tried to find her place within the group. The character was nothing special, but Naomi Scott played Elena convincingly, and it made her effective as a relatable primary protagonist.

movie-review-charlies-angels

Con: The Plot Twists (-8pts)

I was at an arcade not too long ago, and I played the Deal or No Deal game. To start the game, a bunch of open cases were displayed on the screen, and I could see which one had the $1,000,000 prize. The cases then closed and start moving around, giving me the impression that I needed to follow which case had the big prize. Then the case motion sped way up and it got really crazy, such that there was obviously no hope of keeping track of which case was which. Unfortunately, that was exactly what the twists in this movie felt like.

There was plot twist after plot twist, followed by character reveal after character reveal. It was not that any one of these twists were confusing, but there were just so many that the whole plot became so messy that there was no hope in even trying to keep track of what was going on. Characters were even acting in ways that seemed to contradict what their objectives were, just to setup another potential reveal. I am all for a good plot twist, but the use of plot twists in this movie went far beyond overkill, and the filmmakers did not seem to care if any of their twists made any sense.

movie-review-charlies-angels

Pro: Townsend Agency (+3pts)

Townsend Agency was the international agency of Charlie’s Angels. It had different branches located in various important cities around the globe, it had state of the art weapons and gadgets, and it had seemingly unlimited resources. This made the whole thing feel much bigger than just a few Charlie’s Angels, and it made this feel very much like a spy movie. It was nothing that we have not seen before in other movies, but I liked what the filmmakers did with Townsend Agency in this movie.

movie-review-charlies-angels

Con: The Antagonist (-6pts)

While the protagonists’ goal was simply to obtain the device, the filmmakers wanted to shroud the antagonist in mystery. Through the constant twists in the plot, the role of the primary antagonist shifted, and the goal of the primary antagonist shifted with it. It then became obvious that this was all done to hide the poorly developed plot and poorly developed true antagonist of this story. It seemed like the filmmakers were aware of their poorly developed plot and antagonist, so they decided to muddy the waters to make this movie appear more complex than it was. There was the assassin, the crime lord from the beginning of the movie, Elena’s boss, teases to there being a mole within Townsend Agency, and more. The filmmakers threw in a bunch of potential characters for the role of primary antagonist, but they did not care to properly develop any of them. This made it so that I did not care about the antagonist's goals, because I did not know what those goals were.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

movie-review-charlies-angels

Grade: D+ (68pts)

Charlie's Angels had a decent cast who did okay in their respective roles, and they seemed to work okay together. I liked the almost rivalry between Sabina and Jane, and I thought Elena was effective as a relatable primary protagonist. I also liked how the filmmakers portrayed the Townsend Agency as a spy organization. It was somewhat entertaining to see the agency explored, even though it was nothing that we have not seen plenty of other movies do better. The movie had a few things going for it, but these were mostly outweighed by the movie's issues.

The filmmakers seemed to go crazy with plot twists, to the point where I stopped even trying to keep up with them. This definitely hurt the movie, as it prevented me from getting invested in what was happening, but it also hurt my interest in the antagonist. The filmmakers threw in way too many candidates for the role of primary antagonist, which meant that they kept the actual antagonist a mystery with vague goals. They wanted to surprise the audience, but they did not seem to care if they delivered a cohesive story. The result was an assortment of poorly developed antagonists, and none of them were interesting enough to make me care about the events of the movie. I was not one who hated the idea of rebooting this franchise, but I thought the filmmakers did a really poor job with it.

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