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Yasmeen Mamdouh
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Charlie’s Angels: A Powerful Feminist Reboot?‎

Images via –  Featured Photo by Chiabella James – © 2019 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Considering the noticeable changes that #MeToo has stirred among society, can the new Charlie’s Angels offer a powerful feminist reboot?

The new reboot of the original Charlie’s Angels follows two spies, or ‘angels’; the wry rebel Sabina (Kristen Stewart), and the all-work-no-fun Jane (Ella Balinska), who are on a mission to protect engineer Elena (Naomi Scott) who is about to expose the corporation where she works. In attempts to stop the company from selling its dangerous technology, the three have to work together – with the help of their Bosley (Elizabeth Banks) – and face the unexpected twists and turns of the mission.

It’s no secret that the plot is nothing especially new; what is new is the way the film treats women as opposed to the previous movie. The feature opens with powerful and empowering statements about women from Sabina to a man she is about to arrest. The theme of female power continues throughout the film, with much less seduction, and much more effective actions.

However, the film stumbles with the ‘girl-power’ theme, because of the lack of chemistry between the actresses who are supposed to be playing women who are becoming what the previous film called “soul sisters”. Sabina and Jane are complete opposites, which can be a significant opportunity for bond-building moments, but the film does not accentuate it. Instead, it has one moment when the audience and Sabina suddenly find out that Jane actually cares about her, without a proper buildup for that moment to be profound or even plausible. For Elena, she quickly falls into the rookie cliché, and the buildup to when Sabina and Jane’s protection of her turns from work to genuine friendship is nonexistent.

The action scenes are there, but they don’t really have audiences at the edge of their seats, maybe because the audiences are not really sympathising with the characters and their dynamics, but also probably because the action itself is not presented as life-or-death situations.

For the acting, Kristen Stewart was obviously the one having the most fun with her role, and her performance starts strongly, but unfortunately, it soon turns her character immemorable, despite its potential. Ella Balinska seemed like she is cut out for action; even showing glimpses of her talent that were unfortunately tossed aside in her attempts to play it cool. Naomi Scott has something to say, and the audience can see that, but with Elena, she is trapped in a colossal cliché that overshadows her abilities. Elizabeth Banks was very much able to bring in the boss-woman vibes, and did so easily despite the size of her role in the film.

Yes, the new Charlie’s Angels is less sexist, which is very applaudable, but it fell in other trap doors that could make it just another one-time-watch feature.

Like This? Try

Charlie's Angels (2000), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003).  

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Ella Balinska did most of her own stunts.

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