WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Charlie's Angels, in theaters now.
Every spy film, to a certain extent, features a series of technological innovations that the heroes can use as part of their missions to protect the world. Most of the time, it's depicted as a brainy and humorless role that usually ends up the target of some jokes or light ribbing.
But while the tech expert in Charlie's Angels is skilled, he's also a fun New Age subversion of the archetype usually personified by James Bond's Q, proving to be adept with everything the Angels could ever need.
MEET THE SAINT
Upon arriving at the Angels' base, Elena (Naomi Scott) is introduced to the various tools and pieces of the Angel organization. One of the most invaluable proves to be The Saint (Luis Gerardo Méndez). He's introduced as the mind behind many of their tools and training regiments and works alongside the Angels whenever they are needed: he's a physical therapist, health-minded chef, weapons designer, combat trainer and a trained physiotherapist. A quick showcase of skills is when he's easily able to tell that Elena has a crick in her ribcage just from shaking her hand, and is able to easily fix it by realigning her back slightly -- with her express consent, of course.
As the film goes on, he's proven to be adept at pretty much everything the Angels could ever need from him. He's their weapons and tech expert, designing their knockout patches disguised as Altoids as well as the stealthy knockout dart rifle that Jane (Ella Balinska) uses while the group is trying to steal away the Calypso device. He also actively spars with Jane and uses the opportunity to talk about her feelings, helping her process the death of her Bosley, who was killed during the initial extraction of Elena. Overall, he proves skilled at everything he suggested he was, consistently keeping the unit moving and in good health.c
THE NEW AGE Q
In a lot of ways, the Saint comes across as the Charlie's Angels' equivalent of Q. A reoccurring character across most James Bond films and stories over the years, Q is the one responsible for making all of the unique weapons and tools that Bond uses during his missions as an agent of MI6. The character has often also been used to divulge basic exposition to the audience as well as a few laughs, highlighting the difference between the suave Bond and his more technically-minded allies.
But The Saint feels more complex and modern-minded than that. He's very aware of the team he's on and the limits to his work. He's careful to never overstep his bounds but he's unafraid to point out flaws in the plans of his friends and allies. He's also a seemingly spiritual guide for the girls, maintaining a consistently New Age aesthetic in both his ideas and his way of presenting himself. It works as an interesting parallel to what we usually see in the more masculine-defined version that appears in other franchises.
Instead of just being defined by his inventions and work, The Saint is more openly emotional, speaking with a great sense of awareness about his feelings. He always makes sure he has consent before he does anything physical with the agents he works with and also has a degree of respect within the organization that other tech experts don't always have in these films, giving him a casual sense of confidence that makes him a memorable take on this particular archetype.
Written and directed by Elizabeth Banks, Charlie's Angels, stars Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska, Naomi Scott, Elizabeth Banks, Patrick Stewart, Djimon Hounsou, Jonathan Tucker, Nat Faxon, Noah Centineo, Sarah Bennani and Robert Maaser.
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