Charlie’s Angels may not have been the box office surprise that Sony Pictures hoped for, but the 2019 adaptation has more to offer than meets the eye. The new Charlie’s Angels film attempts to stay within the same universe of the prior films and original series but strives to expand that world with an original and modern spin on something that showcases badass women with a strong sense of camaraderie. Yes, we still desperately hope that one day we’ll receive a propper Charlie’s Angels 3, but this new movie has plenty going for it and you can bet it has sequel potential of its own.
Respect for the previous Angels
One of the most enjoyable bonuses from Charlie’s Angels is the fact that it has respect for the angels that came before them. For one, and this is a slight nod, there are a few callbacks to the incomparable films by McG and starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu.
When the closets are revealed with costumes and weapons, hardcore Charlie’s Angels fans will notice outfits on display worn by the former trio. The costumes shown include at least two references to the first Charlie’s Angels film that acknowledge that it is a shared universe to some capacity. Another surprise comes from Patrick Stewart playing Bill Murray’s John Bosley from the first Charlie’s Angels film. This scene is revealed through scenes with his face altered as the original Bosley, showing him side by side with Barrymore and Liu from a still in the 2000 film.
There’s additionally the choice of the cameo with former TV angel Kelly Garrett who has taken up a mantle as an instructor for the new direction of the agency. If you had any admiration for the films or television series that came before, there’s definitely subtle references to appease your needs — though we still wish we had a cameo from the other cinematic angels to really make it feel that much more authenticly intertwined (especially given that ending twist.)
An unexpected conclusion
Sometimes films tend to crumble by their final act, often going too far or falling back on predictable conclusions, but the shift in red herrings makes for a solid second half of the film. Charlie’s Angels integrates a few different possibilities for the suspected antagonist and it’s definitely one of the more redeeming qualities of this new version.
Without going too deep into the film’s ending, there’s enough to make the conclusion one of the most memorable pieces of the film and the idea of betrayal may have been done — but this particular method of executing it deviates from other adaptations of Charlie’s Angels. If you go into things without being spoiled, the mystery of the film will feel well-rounded by the time you arrive at the conclusion of the Elizabeth Bank’s take on the timeless franchise.
A modern, self-deprecating adaption
One of the film’s most comedic moments comes from a conversation about who’s considered Batman given different generations. While that idea is which is funny enough on its own, it still feels like intentional commentary about the new Charlie’s Angels. Everyone has their own idea of who they believe is the true group of angels, but considering any franchise worth celebrating has been rebooted, why can’t we make room for different versions?
Another positive inclusion of Charlie’s Angels is that it brings the property to modern audiences. No, it’s not necessarily that old, to begin with, and people are still fairly familiar with it, but the film brings a more inclusive cast that takes the trio concept and helps it evolve. In this film, the Townsend Agency has shown growth into a much larger corporation with women all over the world becoming a part of the kickass team elevating the idea into a much broader platform to empower even more women than every adaptation combined.
Whether it’s the subtlety of sexual fluidity or the idea of new Charlie being a woman, there’s enough material that helps the franchise develop further and makes this new Charlie’s Angels a pleasant surprise.