From left, Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska and Naomi Scott are ready to rumble in “Charlie’s Angels.” (CTMG Inc.)

From left, Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska and Naomi Scott are ready to rumble in “Charlie’s Angels.” (CTMG Inc.)

‘Charlie’s Angels’ reboot more interested in comedy than action

Like the tacky 1970s TV series and movie versions that preceded it, this one’s breezy fun — even when likable supporting characters bite the dust.

You know how every franchise at some point is reputed to get “dark”? Like the way each Harry Potter or Avengers picture would be promised as the one that, seriously, this time, goes really really dark. Except they rarely actually do.

No one will ever say that about any of the “Charlie’s Angels” incarnations. The 1970s TV show was irredeemably silly and the 2000 movie and its sequel were self-consciously goofy. Now, there’s another reboot.

This one is so not dark, people get killed without anybody taking pause. Seemingly likable supporting characters are offed, and we’re encouraged to laugh along with the characters.

The new “Charlie’s Angels” pays homage to the previous incarnations. Hanging on the walls of the offices of the organization that employs female spies are photographs of various former cast members, from Farrah Fawcett to Drew Barrymore. But not Bill Murray, who must have a strict contract.

It feels absurd to recount the plot of this movie, except to say that Angels played by Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska get involved in rescuing a tech developer (Naomi Scott, from the live-action “Aladdin”) who wants whistleblower protection.

Joined by their Bosley (played by Elizabeth Banks, who also directs), the team goes hopscotching across Europe. There are many Bosleys, including ones played by Patrick Stewart and Djimon Hounsou.

Among the bad guys are tech giant Sam Claflin, corporate weasel Nat Faxon, and international man of mystery Chris Pang. It’s not an exciting group, but then “Charlie’s Angels” deliberately goes the low-key route; the movie itself seems bored by its chase scenes and shoot-outs, as though including them by contractual obligation.

Even with that, the whole thing goes down fairly breezily. The main appeal is the central trio, led by a punked-out Stewart, who seems relieved to be taking a break from her very serious run of recent roles.

Scott and Balinska are also fun, and the trick of following a new recruit through the paces of Angel-hood is shrewd. Nothing really gets too crazy, which in a way is disappointing.

The expected scenes of women schooling men are in place, with thankfully nothing as cringeworthy and condescending as the sisterhood attack in “Avengers: Endgame.” The more playful tone prevents that.

One thing doesn’t work, though: those likable (or even unlikable) supporting characters whose deaths get laughed off as “collateral damage.” I like black humor, but this is more like floundering around in search of some edginess — or maybe even a stab at getting dark. Nobody’s going to buy that under these flippant circumstances.

“Charlie’s Angels” (2½ stars)

A reboot for the premise about female spies, with veterans Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska leading new recruit Naomi Scott through the paces. It’s a breezy film more interested in comedy than the rather obligatory action scenes. With Elizabeth Banks (who also directs).

Rating: PG-13, for language, violence

Opening Friday: Alderwood, Alderwood Mall, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, Meridian, Oak Tree, Pacific Place, Thornton Place, Woodinville, Cascade Mall

Talk to us

More in Life

Washington’s most beloved state park turns 100

Deception Pass State Park, which draws as many visitors as the best-known national parks in the U.S., celebrates a century of recreation and conservation

Hydrangea and rose
July checklist for Snohomish County gardeners

After a slow start to summer, things should take off this month. So keep planting and nurturing.

Caption: The 12 week Edmonds Community Police Academy was a free opportunity for private citizens to learn about law enforcement.
An inside look at how law enforcement works

A pregnant mother. A man who rescues abused horses and donkeys. A… Continue reading

Kid 'n Play members Christopher "Kid" Reid, left, and Christopher "Play" Martin perform on NBC's "Today" show during the "I Love The 90's" morning concert at Rockefeller Plaza on Friday, April 29, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Relive the music of the 1990s with Kid N Play and other stars of the era at the Tulalip Casino Amphitheater.

So-called relaxing summer vacations can wear you out

To truly enjoy a family getaway, tone down your expectations. Everything won’t be picture-perfect.

Gimmelwald, built in an avalanche zone, yet specializing in alpine tranquility.
Roaming the Alps brings cultural insights along with the views

The Swiss have great respect for Alpine traditions and culture — and contempt for tourists who disrespect both.

Will TripMate cover costs for trip canceled for medical reasons?

After Stanley Wales cancels his diving trip to Bonaire, he files a travel insurance claim with TripMate. What’s taking them so long to respond?

Contestant chef Brian Madayag (left) of Edmonds and West Coast team captain Brooke Williamson on “Beachside Brawl.” (Food Network) 20220616
Edmonds chef reps Pacific Northwest on new Food Network show

Barkada owner Brian Madayaga will compete on a new Food Network series that premiers Sunday.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Kosteri’ (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Kosteri’

This Hinoki cypress is graceful and beautiful, and is very drought-tolerant once established.

Photo Caption: Butter prints like this one pressed a design into freshly made butter as a decoration or for marketing. Today, collectors search for antique butter prints and consider them folk art.
19th century farm families’ butter prints are coveted folk art

One example with a flower-and-heart design recently sold at auction for more than $5,000.

After two years of wellness, Covid finally hit this family, but thanks to vaccinations, the symptoms were mild. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Jennifer Bardsley’s fighting COVID-19 with vaccines and TLC

But even with vaccinations, the disease is scary for people like her with less than robust immune systems.

Turkey vultures’ pervious nostrils are among the features that help them feed on carrion. (The Columbian files)
In praise of turkey vultures, nature’s cleaning service

These raptors should be revered, not reviled, for their disposal of stinky, disease-laden animal matter.