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

‘Pandemic dreams’ keep nation awake during coronavirus outbreak

The dreams are described as vivid, weird and occasionally horrifying. Here’s how to get back to sleep.

COVID-19 claims Kona Kitchen’s matriarch and her husband

Liz Mar was beloved for her hospitality and graciousness at the Hawaiian restaurant in Lynnwood.

Now is the time for parents to keep calm and carry on

When you’re not calm, a child’s reactions can range from depression and anxiety to raging misbehavior.

Virus humbles once-thriving restaurants in Snohomish County

Grace Correa lost her marriage, home and business. She invested in a new restaurant. Then came COVID-19.

Pandemic prompts innovation among Pacific Northwest wineries

On March 25, the Washington State Wine Commission launched the #SipGlocal campaign.

Your stories of random acts of kindness

Your chance to praise someone, thank someone or call attention to something good that’s happened.

A cheap, easy ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ sheet-pan meal

Pick your protein, starch and veggies, cut them into 1-inch chunks and bake in the oven. Dinner’s served.

For their second weddings, these couples ditched decorum

In the old days, second-time brides and grooms were advised to keep things low-key. Those days are gone.

BMW updates the X1 crossover for 2020 with revised styling

A new electronic gear selector and modified gear ratios enhance the 8-speed automatic transmission.

Most Read