How ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Is More Feminist Than Ever!

Never send a man to do a woman’s job. While this may be a quote that many relate to in everyday life, it’s actually from ‘Charlie’s Angels’ (2000). Now, for fans of both the two movies and the 70’s TV show, actress Elizabeth Banks (Hunger Games) is bringing us a brand new installment to the Charlie’s Angels universe. She’s specified that it’s not a reboot or a revival but it is a continuation and culmination of the previous installments to the canon. 

Banks directed and wrote the screenplay for the latest movie and while holding onto the original charm of the movies and the TV shows, she is implementing her own spin on the canon – while making it a bit less noughties and a bit more 2019. One of the main elements that she wanted to uphold was making the movie an homage to the originals while bringing it into the 21st century with improved technology and lingo.

Max Handelman, producer, has praised the film for keeping with the original canon set up by Banks’ predecessors, stating that beyond being just a spy movie, it will be an exploration of how much the world’s society has changed throughout the years. 

The 70s was a very different time for women than it is now. While women are still fighting for equal rights to their male counterparts, it was even more prevalent in this decade. Feminism was making new waves and ripples in society, with it being spoken about in a more open manner. However, there were still (similarly to today) roadblocks in progression that inhibited women from reaching their full potential. 

Specifically in the media, they were treated as objects for the male gaze and were often dressed to show their ‘assets’ and made to be the sex appeal rather than giving them room to move within their acting prowess. 

Take Helen Mirren’s interview with Michael Parkinson in the 70s – he genuinely asked her if her ‘equipment’ (aka, her boobs) prevented her from being a serious actress. Whereas now, there would be an uproar, Mirren had to take it on the chin as this was just part of the job. 

Enter the Angels. Even though it had its problems, it gave room for women who were previously underestimated and reduced to nothing more than their bodies the chance to be powerful. Now, women do have more power and ‘badass females’ are becoming more apparent on our screens. But the new set of Angels could revive the original intention of the films and TV series. 

The movie will begin 40 years previous to Charlie starting up the Townsend Agency with the original trio of ‘Angels’. From small town to the big time, the agency is now a spy program that works globally with different Angel teams scattered across the continents. 

Alongside the multiple sets of Angels, there are also going to be multiple Bosleys. Where once Bosley was a character, it is now a rank – similar to Arthur in Kingsman. The Bosleys are to be played by Djimon Hounsou, Sir Patrick Stewart and director Elizabeth Banks. Banks’ Bosley will mark a special milestone in the franchise, however. Her character was originally an Angel which climbed the promotion ladder to being named a Bosley. Handelman says it’s to represent ‘women evolving through the workplace and once you’re done being an Angel, you’re not just done. So her character’s graduated or been promoted to becoming Bosley.’ 

The film is due to follow a similar formula to the previous but there is one cliche that Banks refuses to show – the ‘obligatory training montage where the female characters get to prove to you why they’re badass.’ If you think to any film where you have seen a badass female character, you’ll know that more often than not this is the case, even if it is a cliche we have come to expect. However, there’s not often a training montage for badass males.

Handelman emphasises this by saying, “They just are, in the same way that you never see Ethan Hunt train to become Ethan Hunt. He just is. You meet him climbing a rock or a skyscraper. When you first meet Jason Bourne he just is a total badass. So when you meet Kristen Stewart as Sabina in this movie, when you meet Ella Balinska as Jane, they’re just trained, badass women. We don’t have to prove to you why they are who they are. They’re just talented women who represent different archetypes of female characters.”

Kristen Stewart is especially excited by this prospect as she has never been quiet about her feminist views. She says, “We have this whole network of women working together and supporting each other [working for] ‘good,’ which is just treating people well and being positive and self-affirming rather than having like, three superhuman women that are like sexy and perfect and fly through the air. It’s like no, it’s hard to do what we’re doing, and we’re only able to do it together.”

But this doesn’t mean that they fall into the ‘Mary Sue’ trope, either. For those of you that don’t know, a ‘Mary Sue’ is a female character who is traditionally lacking weakness or any type of flaws. These characters are real and they have faults but that’s what makes them enjoyable to watch but not too enjoyable. Gone are the days of the Angels using their sexuality (and sometimes sex itself) to get through the mission, however. Banks said, “We play with that trope and then we dismiss it pretty early on in the movie. The women in this film use their brains and their wits. We had a mantra which was ‘we are going to fight smarter, not harder.’”

The film is already widely anticipated by fans new and old, with the cast being a range of actresses that we’ve never seen in such roles to the female director who knows exactly what she wants from it and has a mission statement for everything she has done in it. We can’t wait to see what she does and what changes it will bring to the industry. 


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