I never liked Kristen Stewart until I watched ‘Charlie’s Angels’

The Angels have gone global.

Before you head to the cinemas, let one thing be clear: 2019’s “Charlie’s Angels” isn’t an attempt to blow over the iconic film that came decades before it. This is not a reboot (at least, not strictly one). All it wants is try to kick in new life to a legacy. And it does—in the most hilarious and fun ways possible.

Perhaps the trickiest part is to assemble a trio that’s equally as charming and lovely as its 2000 cast. The movie needed girls you’d want to root for. But, more importantly, girls who aren’t just a replicate of the Diaz-Liu-Barrymore tandem.

I’m happy to report that Naomi Scott, Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska rose to the challenge. With great chemistry, better comedic pulses and depth in characters, the three actresses are a delight to watch together on screen.

Stewart really has some spunk to her. I never thought I’d live to see the day that I’d genuinely enjoy her acting. She’s the most comfortable she’s ever been on screen and it’s a side everyone who’s ever written her off should see. Portraying the easygoing and queen of cool Sabina Wilson, Stewart exudes admirable confidence and swag, always equipped to throw us off with humor.

While Scott is Elena Houghlin. She is the lead engineer in Calisto, a revolutionary power source that can be transformed into an untraceable deadly weapon. Elena seeks help from the Charles Townsend Agency to assist in securing an audience with the project’s benefactor so she could reveal Calisto’s flaw as the world’s next biggest threat.

Scott plays out Elena’s quirks like a pro. She’s clueless, awkward and clumsy for the most part, but finds her way out of troubles with the help of science. She is, after all, an MIT-trained scientist. Director Elizabeth Banks says Elena stands as the heart of the film—and Scott makes her so. She represents pure potential and the emergence of courage.

Now let’s talk about Jane Kano’s action scenes. A bulk of it felt a bit elementary, and they were frequently too slow to build tension. But with her newcomer status, this detail can be forgiven. Although Banks later on gives her a gravity-defying scene that will make its mark on you. This former MI6 has high regard for professionalism and results—her every move is calculated and tactical. Her moves are swift, smart, and sexy in their own subtle ways.

Balinska is a chameleon. This British actress makes you feel every bit of Jane’s emotions—whether its the lack of it, its sincerity or its sudden shifts (her flirtatious scenes with Noah Centineo are adorable).

A few seconds into the film, I was afraid the movie might reek of misguided empowerment. Action films always had the trappings of female objectification disguised as a female character’s strength. But you can expect a better perspective out of this movie that is safe from the male gaze.

“Charlie’s Angels” didn’t market itself as a feminist film, but instead it shows its advocacy in context—giving us strong female figures whose confidence in themselves and each other is uplifting. The film puts its focus on the support of the female community, the acknowledgement and celebration of one’s intelligence, skills and individuality of women. It also nudges on the credit-grabbing and downplaying of women’s achievements, as well as the resentment of women in position.

We all know the drill: Spy films always involve an agent who has gone rogue. “Charlie’s Angels” is no different. But it gives us a new twist: A narrative where its leads are women who understand women.

Photos courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
“Charlie’s Angels” is now showing in cinemas nationwide.

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