When cinema was deemed dead after Martin Scorsese came out and said that Marvel Movies weren’t cinema, even though he made a movie for a streaming service that will be released in so few movie theaters around the world that it can’t be qualified as “cinema” (even if his monument is 3h30 long), out comes writer/director Elizabeth Banks in her reboot of the Charlie’s Angels franchise, a refreshingly energetic and pulse-pounding action/comedy that is visually enthralling and soul-stirringly kinetic that resurrects “cinema” from the hands of Martin Scorsese and breathes new life at “woke, NPC” content that conservatives are scared of.
After a “girl power” montage that is both unnecessary and forced, Charlie’s Angels kicks into gear and never lets go, as agents Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) and Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) task to protect the creator of a device named Calysto, Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), a device that has a “flaw” and can bring fatal seizures if hacked. The company wants to sell it in the black market and weaponize it, and it’s up to Charlie’s Angels (Sabina & Jane with Elena has their new recruit and their help of multiple Bosleys played by Djimon Hounsou, Elizabeth Banks and Patrick Stewart) to save the world and expose Alexander Brock (Sam Claflin)’s corrupt company and their greedy superiors who only care about profit.
This reboot of the Charlie’s Angels franchise, which regards the TV-Series and films directed by McG as “canon” (but you don’t need to watch them to understand the movie) is both dynamic and energetic, something the movies has long lost over the past years. It all starts with a terrific opening scene, leading a fantastic Kristen Stewart, as she gives the best blockbuster performance of her career as Sabina Wilson. Some may say that it isn’t hard to beat (i.e. Twilight), but when you see her in action and in the film having so much fun alongside her co-stars, you can’t help but admire her fantastic energy and wonderful performance as Wilson — every inch of the IMAX screen is welcomed when she’s in the frame and fills it with pop that you can’t help but applaud her kick-ass, at-times incredibly hilarious, performance as Wilson. Ella Balinska is also great as Kano — with some of the best action sequences of the year involve her character’s fantastic stuntwork and meticulous action direction.
I didn’t know that Elizabeth Banks could direct action with such angst and finesse. Both are greatly complemented when its action is shot by Bill Pope and presented in IMAX — a film to see in the format for sure. The car chase in Hamburg is thrilling, the gunfight at an industrial factory is equally as thrilling, but also excitingly sleek and kinetic, but the real star of the show is the climax, taking place at Alexander Brock’s party. The color palette is reminiscent of John Wick’s club-gunfight, and its cinematography so vivid and visually eye-stopping that all you can do is admire its fantastic action choreography and sleek camera moves and bow down at Elizabeth Banks’ fantastic direction. She went from directing a crap blockbuster (Pitch Perfect 2) to a fun and freeing action movie that slaps every single audience member with a smile on their face.
Yes, at times, it’s inherently goofy (and predictable). The whole “Calysto” MacGuffin is a MacGuffin — and there are many predictable twists and turns that happen during the film’s first and second act that could’ve led to a fun (but predictable) time only for Banks to turn these twists to their heads in the film’s bonkers climax. I don’t want to give anything away, but it involves a FANTASTIC Patrick Stewart and a hilarious Sam Claflin. Nothing makes sense anymore, and all you can do is “enjoy the ride”, and there ain’t anything wrong with that. Yes, Naomi Scott is still a bad actress and gives an awfully embarassing performance as Houghlin, but it doesn’t matter. The film has enough liberating fun and fantastic action that you can gloat over its flaws and just sit back, relax, and enjoy the resurrection of modern action-comedies that can be called “cinema”. Be sure to experience the whole shebang in IMAX, and stay for the end credits as there are many post-credit scenes and fantastic cameos that are great winks to the Charlie’s Angels of the old. However, I won’t lie that I want a sequel to this immidiately. Give it to me, go see this movie.