In Defense of the New 'Charlie's Angels' Reboot

Taking in just under $52 million at the box office since its release on November 15, the new Charlie’s Angels reboot is being deemed a flop. Even producer-writer-director-star, Elizabeth Banks, recognized the poor response of the film in this tweet:

Needless to say, I am just as baffled by the harsh response of critics and lackluster box office revenue as Banks is. With a film boasting an all-star cast, kickass action and enough girl power moments of awesomeness to count, the backlash is hard to wrap my head around. I mean, I’ve genuinely been looking forward to this movie since the first time I saw the trailer. Let me set the scene for you…

 

So there I am, seated in a leather recliner at my second home, AMC Woodlands Square 20 in Oldsmar, Florida. The date is sometime during Summer 2019, a season full of fun, film and friends. My usual posse sits beside me, awaiting the projection of some sort of gimmicky horror movie to begin (our favorite). Suddenly, the now oh-so recognizable chime of “Don’t Call Me Angel” starts to reverberate through my eardrums as the image of my old school Twilight babe — the woman who raised me — Miss Kristen Stewart appears on the screen. Soft shrills of excitement escape our throats as the video evolves into an epic montage of badass women doing even more badass stunts. The trailer reaches its climax to reveal its title: Charlie’s Angels. Different variations of the phrases “Yaaasss!” and “Period!” automatically exit our mouths. All this to say, we were hyped.

The months passed and Nov. 15, the release date, finally rolls around. After suffering through my busy schedule, I was finally able to find a night to see this much-anticipated film. All alone in a big theater at 7:40 p.m., I got to watch the movie I’d been waiting to see for what felt like eons.

And. It. Slayed.

Yes, that is quite an outdated term that surely just showed my age, but I don’t care.

IT SLAYED.

So, you can imagine my shock and dismay when I found out not only was this flick absolutely tanking at the box office but was also being slammed by critics. It bothered me so much that I felt compelled to write this testimonial that you sit to read now. Buckle up because it’s time to dive into my defense for Charlie’s Angels (2019).

I’ve consumed a number of reviews panning the franchise’s new addition and have compiled a list of the comments I saw the most. For each comment, I will attempt to disband the negativity and provide an enlightened outlook on the film. Let the discourse begin!

“Charlie’s Angels is just too iconic. Nobody could do the characters any better than they’ve already been done!”

Now, it is important to note that this film is a continuation of the famed story originally seen in the 1976 television show starring Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson, and followed by the 2000 feature film starring Cameron Diaz, Lucy Lui and Drew Barrymore. With a franchise so beloved and iconic, it is easy to get attached to a certain character or an actress’s portrayal of them. However, what I feel a lot of people forget is that the characters in Charlie’s Angels (2019) are completely new and unrelated to the other angels previously seen. They are spunky, complex and complement each other perfectly. Plus, Kristen Stewart gets to be the comic relief. Tell me again how that’s something we’ve seen before.

 

“Reboots are lazy content!”

Rebooting a classic franchise that hasn’t been touched on a grand scale since 2000, nearly 20 years ago, is not exactly pulling from the same bag of tricks. Not to mention, an entirely new generation of young women will now have the opportunity to see such an important feminist film on the big screen, just like how so many of the classic stans got to do in their day. If a franchise is really that beloved, why wouldn’t you want more people to experience it? Why wouldn’t you want it to be more customized to their generation, so they have a better chance of receiving it positively? Honestly can’t relate….

 

“This whole thing is a passionless, cash grab!” 

You wanna know what was a passionless cash-grab? THE ORIGINAL TV SHOW. Yeah! I said it! Get your pitchforks prepped! With a reputation for coining the term “jiggle TV," it is obvious this was a series created to once again objectify women. It is only with the 2000 remake and now the 2019 reboot that we actually are starting to see some purpose being breathed into the franchise. Although a lot of films that fall under a category beginning with the prefix re- (remake, reboot, reimagining) often are cash grabs (*cough cough* looking at you, Disney), I think people have got this one all wrong. I don’t necessarily think reboots are always passionless. If anything, they can be drenched with purpose and innovation if done right, which Charlie’s Angels (2019) did. It is interesting to me that people are claiming that a film written, produced and directed by a woman who chose to highlight a topical message of female empowerment above all else is “lacking purpose” and was “all for the money."

 

“The feminist message is suffocating!”

Suddenly, the smell of insecurity is filling the air….once again, we see the narrative of female empowerment being shut down by men who are terrified of strong women. Charlie's Angels (2019) harbors an inspiring message to all young women today that having a big brain is more important than having big boobs. Instead of scantily clad vixens running around for men to gawk at once more, Charlie’s Angels (2019) had women using their wits and physical skill to kick some serious ass. The main protagonist, Elana, is a brilliant scientist and MIT grad that invents a revolutionary technology. Representation of women in STEM within film is SO IMPORTANT. We need young girls seeing that they are capable of pursuing any career they choose and that education is the key to success. The major take away of this new trio is that they are smart, independent and highly skilled individuals that got to where they are today through hard work and dedication to their craft. 

 

I could go on about this for days, so I will leave you with a quote from Tara McNamara’s review of the film for Common Sense Media that perfectly encapsulates what I’ve been trying to nail down: “The Angels of the Townsend Agency now have swagger rather than jiggle, thanks to Banks, who creates something fantastic and fun out of what was once fluff.” 

All I’m saying is, give it a chance. This reboot has some amazing moments and messages that have the power to inspire the next generation of badass women. At its core, this is a movie about friendship and how when women come together, they can do some extraordinary things.

 

Oh, and check out the soundtrack — sh*t’s fire.

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