So, I had heard next to nothing about this movie in the weeks leading up to its release, and not a lot else immediately afterward, but I happened across the trailer and after watching it immediately messaged the Martian and informed him that we needed to see it.
You all know how often I go out of my way to go to the theater to see films that aren’t MCU or Star Wars.
I’m old enough I grew up watching the show, which, lets be honest, was not exactly a bastion of feminism. It was phenomenally cheesecake-y, in that special vein of super competent women kicking ass cheesecake established by the Wonder Woman comics and the British television show The Avengers, featuring the character of Emma Peel in that amazing catsuit.
I have not seen the intervening movies. I’m not sure why, but none of those trailers struck a chord in me like this one did.
But, to address Elizabeth Banks’s comments, I don’t think that Charlie’s Angels performed poorly at the box office because the men don’t feel the franchise belongs to them. Because it most certainly did, at least in the beginning.
I think it performed poorly at the box office because the studio didn’t market it as well or comprehensively as they should have. And because men DO feel the franchise belongs to them, and they’re pissy about the fact that this movie doesn’t.
Again, I did not even know there was a new Charlie’s Angels film coming up.
Bear in mind that I cannot escape the impending existence of upcoming MCU films, Star Wars films, and The Lighthouse. Which why do people keep giving James Franco roles?
That said, it’s fun. It is a lot of fun. The actresses have a fantastic chemistry! Kristen Stewart is adorable and socially awkward in her role, Ella Balinska is phenomenal in the “the straight man role,” Naomi Scott does bewildered innocent out of her depth brilliantly, Elizabeth Banks did a phenomenal job both acting and as the Director and with her co-writers setting up twists and surprises. I actually gasped a couple of times. And including things like one of the bad guys being super into Kristen Stewart’s character, but not super creepy about it, the fact that their “den mother,” is a man, and the existence of female Bosleys all make for refreshing takes on the franchise.
The effects are great. The fight choreography is amazing, and all of the nods to the old TV show and the previous films are wonderful, and a delight.
Also, Noah Centineo as a nerd, is fucking adorable.
The soundtrack is great! The cinematography is brilliant.
The cameo by Jaclyn Smith actually made me squeal out loud in the theater. I did. I squealed audibly. As did the cameos by Ronda Rousey, Danica Patrick and Laverne Cox.
It is a great popcorn flick! It’s well shot and directed, as well as charmingly funny in places with terrific action sequences.
So, why was the reception lukewarm?
Well, there is the aforementioned lack of promotion. There is the fact that this film is facing a tremendous backlash from whiney-man-babies because feminism makes their boners sad. And allow me to circle back to lack of studio support.
I swear, it’s like the studios sabotage female led and fronted movies whenever they think they can get away with it.
Charlie’s Angels did not start as a feminist franchise. Trust me, guys, I was there. I looked up to the Angels because for media role models, they were what I had at the time. In order to get any sort of positive female role models out there you had to dress them up in a way that would pass screamingly sexist Hollywood money guys. Sure, we had One Day at A Time, and Maude… Yup, that’s about it.
Later in the 80s we would get Gimme a Break! with Nell Carter, and Facts of Life, but everything had to be leavened with sexism and “Oh, look at those silly girls,” jokes to get a wide release. Wonder Woman had to be sexy. The Angels had to be sexy. Fat women were motherly or punchlines. Nell Carter’s roles were sprinkled with a ton of racism. I learned to navigate sexism by appeasing men by watching these shows. Alice, Flo, they all made sure to include a heaping helping of some form of sexist reinforcement designed to remind women that they had a place and a function.
Being a girl or woman in the 70s was a constant barrage of contradiction. Yes, you could bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan, per En Jolie perfume, but you had damn well be sure to be sexy enough to make your man sit up and take notice and be ready to let him take the lead sexually.
I think the reason the Charlie’s Angels film didn’t succeed like, say, Captain Marvel, circles back to lack of studio PR and support, and the fact that it does successfully subvert an astonishingly sexist franchise, and does it well. For every whiney asshole bleating about how it isn’t funny, there are at least three reviews talking about how good it is. See the link in this paragraph.
So all the whiner-babies whingeing on about “Go Woke, Go Broke?”
You aren’t going to control media budgets forever, dudes. You’re dying, the generation that’s rising to take your place thinks you’re assholes too.
My friends, go see this film in the theaters while you can. It’s awesome.
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