Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is directed by Joachim Rønning and it is the sequel to Maleficent, the live-action re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty. Five years have passed and Prince Phillip has asked Aurora to marry him, this will force The Moors and the human world to unite only Phillip’s mothers has other plans for The Moors and Maleficent. The movie stars Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer and Harris Dickinson.
In my Maleficent review I said that I watched Sleeping Beauty to prepare. When I watched it, I had no interest to see what Aurora and Prince Phillip were up to next because they lived happily ever after. In Maleficent though, while there is a happy ending, the main dynamic is not Aurora and the Prince, it’s Aurora and Maleficent, in fact it’s the entire reason the spell breaks. My point is that I could see why they would make a sequel. The rich world-building and colourful characters were not enough for just one movie, so I was actually glad that the sequel was happening and after having seen Mistress of Evil, I can happily say that it builds upon the magical world of the first in wonderful ways, however when it comes to story, it successfully repeats the problems of the first movie quite well.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a messy, entertaining and badly written movie with a confused identity. Just like with the first movie, Mistress of Evil asks the audience many times to just roll with it. If you think about the events that occur in this movie, you’ll start scratching your head and get confused as to how that either makes sense of how it could possibly happen. The first half started out solid and then it got really interesting once some racial commentary was introduced in the royal dinner scene, which is easily the best scene in the movie. After that, it lost me for a good twenty minutes, it got dull really fast where not even the stunning visuals were enough to make me feel entertained. Then something miraculous happened… it got better. The second half of this movie is pure fantasy epic with dark elements and bright, colourful visuals, it honestly saved the movie for me.
In terms of characters, everyone from the first movie gets more to do in this movie and is fleshed out some more. Maleficent’s origins, while not really interesting offered a divide between her and Aurora which was interesting to see, I love how she came into her own as a person and is not just that evil fairy who cursed a baby. Jolie got to explore a new side of the character while still giving her, her signature sass and humour. She has some a lot of the movie’s funniest scenes. Aurora gets way more to do in this movie but sadly her character’s motivations are seriously questionable. There is one point where she is literally thinking harder about what to wear for her wedding than what is happening at The Moors which she just so happens to be Queen of. Fanning is fine as Aurora, she’s likable but not relatable in any way. A major upgrade went to Prince Phillip who was a ridiculously shoe-horned character in the first movie whose sole purpose was to fail at kissing Aurora. He has an actual character! Sort of. I can’t really talk about his mother though because of spoilers but I will say Pfeiffer looked like she had fun with this role, she was deliciously evil and organized!
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil‘s greatest spell is the one of visual effects, atmosphere and world-building. Some people might shrug and say, of course it does it’s a Disney movie, but no not only because of the quality of the CGI but the magical settings the movie present. Every setting looks amazing, I can’t really say one looks better than the other. Another visual asset which also helped were the costumes which are the perfect blend of magical fairy-tale with realistic edgy fashion. Everything looks so good, that you almost forget the story is as bad as it is. Just like in the first movie, the musical score, this time by Geoff Zanelli instantly transports you back to this world. Every aspect was amped up to an eleven to make the audience feel like they are watching an actual fairy-tale come to life.
Overall Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a perfectly entertaining sequel which I’m sure families will love. While the plot is all over the place and doesn’t makes sense at all if you think about it, it won’t matter when you are sitting in the theater comfortably with a snack enjoying the entertaining movie before you. It presents a lot of great ideas but sometimes it feels afraid to go all the way with them. It is definitely a darker movie, so it has that going for it and while it is not a Halloween movie whatsoever, it’s an enjoyable movie nonetheless. Obviously that doesn’t excuse it’s many flaws but for a sequel to a live-action Disney remake, it could have been way, way worse.